Tofino Inlet received its European name in 1792 by Spanish Captains Galiano and
Valdez who were exploring Vancouver Island. The inlet was named in
honour of Vincente Tofiňo, a Spanish hydrographer who taught Captain
Galiano cartography during their expedition.
However, the current townsite
of Tofino didn’t appear until a century later when a scattered group
of homesteads appeared on the Esowista Peninsula, across the way from a
fur trading post on Stubbs Island. In 1901, a frontier store called Tofino Fishing & Trading opened to serve the Tofino area. During this period, the majority of
early settlers—most of whom were Norwegian, Scottish and English—in this
isolated, maritime trading town were involved in agriculture, mining
long, rainy and tempestuous winters had earned it the nickname “Tough
City,” yet it still attracted occasional, adventurous travellers who
would arrive on steamships transporting miners, fur traders and their
equipment up the coast from Victoria. Travellers and labourers alike
were greeted by a town characterized by wooden, cedar plank boardwalks
where activity revolved around the waterfront. The original Tofino Fishing & Trading general store was accessed by a boardwalk that stretched between
today's Tofino Air and Monks Point. Freight deliveries were made by the
CPR coastal steamer, Princess Maquinna, named for the daughter of the famous Nootka Indian Chief Maquinna.
general store had a pot belly stove and everything was behind the
counter. Like most frontier stores it sold what was in demand at the
time including staples, such as sugar, which was sold in lumps due to
the effects of the damp climate.
The business name Tofino Fishing & Trading ceased activity sometime in the 1960s when young people and surfers
were just beginning to discover Tofino’s famous beaches. Luckily, in
April 1997 permission was received from the previous owners and the
frontier store was revived.
current owners have worked hard to recreate the rustic appearance of
the original general store to honour the rich, historical, maritime
tradition of Clayoquot Sound. Hand planed cedar floors and custom cedar
shelving display historical curios among the modern, outdoor gear.
Drop by Tofino Fishing & Trading for a taste of Clayoquot Sound’s rich history coupled with the finest
clothing and gear for today’s explorers and travellers on the rugged