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Island’s west coast celebrates return of the Pacific Rim Whale Festival

“It’s going to be wild, crazy, fun!”
A West Coast kid examines a killer whale vertebrae at a past Build-A-Whale event during Maritime Kids Day. (Pacific Rim Whale Festival photo)

Gather the pod, West Coast!

The Pacific Rim Whale Festival makes a splash this weekend, kicking off nine-days of fun and education with the Baleen Bash on March 17 at the Tofino Community Hall.

The following morning, on Saturday, March 18, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation will lead the Parade of Whales and Wonder through the streets of Tofino.

“The parade is just a great way to show our community coming together. Ukee has Ukee Days, and when we do the Pacific Rim Whale Festival, we include Ucluelet and all the other communities in the area. It’s a great way to show unity and celebrate each other. It’s for visitors, but it’s also for the community to have fun,” said festival co-ordinator Sarah Watt.

After the parade, festival goers are invited to an eco-friendly community market at the Tofino Community Hall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Watt says the indoor market will showcase all the NGOs and non-for-profits in the region and feature local vendors.

“There are so many great businesses that are eco-friendly. It will be great to have them all together under one roof. In the side room, there will also be a pop-up thrift shop,” she said.

There are two Maritime Kid’s Days this year: Tuesday, March 21 at the Tofino Community Hall and Thursday, March 23 at the Ucluelet Community Centre. Both kid’s days are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a suggested donation of $5.

“Kid’s Days are full on. It’s going to be wild, crazy, fun!” said Watt.

Kids will get to enjoy a live concert by the six piece family band GinaLina, plus partake in science experiments, face painting, cookie decorating with Gray Whale Deli, and explore a giant ocean floor map with Ocean Networks Canada.

“The map is huge. It literally takes up most of the community hall,” said Watt.

For the West Coast Whales Forum on Wednesday, March 22, the Pacific Rim Whale Festival teamed up with Whales of Clayoquot and Barkley Sound for an ocean-minded evening of networking.

“People who are involved in research around Vancouver Island will be at the Kids Day and then they will be at the forum on Wednesday to network. There will be very limited space, unfortunately. Invites will go out to guides in town that work on the water and then we will open up tickets to the general public as well,” said Watt, adding that Aline Carrier will speak about marine protected areas.

The Pacific Rim Whale Festival wraps on Saturday, March 25 at the Ucluelet Community Centre with the Chowder Chow Down hosted in collaboration with the Pacific Rim Rotary Club. Watt said there are currently eight restaurants entered in the highly awaited culinary contest.

For the complete schedule of events, visit:

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