Arts and Culture Tofino Ucluelet
First and foremost, the west coast is home to the Nuu-chah-nulth people and has been for thousands of years.Nuu-chah-nulth means “all along the mountains and sea,” and indeed there are many tribes scattered around the area. The Nuu-chah-nulth culture is prominent locally. Skilled carvers and all types of artists display traditional artwork in galleries in Tofino, Ucluelet and in between. One of the primary teachings of the Nuu-chah-nulth culture is “Hishuk ish is’awalk” or “everything is one.” It’s not hard to see this belief in practice on the wild West Coast, where these people lived off the land for centuries. In Tofino visit the Eagle Aerie Gallery on Campbell St. to view the paintings of First Nations artist Roy Henry Vickers. The House of Himwitsa located on Tofino’s waterfront on Main St. features local First Nations carving, artwork, masks, totems and gold and silver jewellery. Cedar Corner Gallery (at Fourth and Campbell Sts.) features both Native and other art from the West Coast and elsewhere on Vancouver Island. The Village Gallery on Main St. features paintings, carvings, pottery and jewellery from West Coast artists. Tofino Art Glass studio has handmade kiln-formed glass art, masks, trays, etc. by a local artist and Reflecting Spirit Gallery also features a unique and eclectic blend of artwork, including sculpture, pottery and woodwork. Artistry also abounds at the other end of the highway in Ucluelet. The Du’Quah Gallery on Peninsula Rd. features local First Nations artwork and the Mark Penney Gallery located in the Whiskey Landing building on Ucluelet’s waterfront boasts an impressive collection of paintings. West Coast culture has been largely defined by being so far removed from the rest of the world. “End of the road culture” typifies these communities, where locals are hearty and welcoming people. “Slow down this ain’t the mainland,” and “Think fast hippie” are some of the bumper stickers you might see around these towns that are indicative of the typical laid back attitude. Many often refer to “being on Tofino time,” or not necessarily on any particular schedule. This is a place where you can slow down, relax and appreciate both the scenery of the place and the culture of those who inhabit it. Enjoy!