The Thornton Creek Hatchery’s Rubber Fish Race is one of several popular Pacific Rim Whale Festival events still scheduled to take place this month. (Westerly File Photo)

No Whale Festival, but still plenty to do in Tofino and Ucluelet this month

“There are many wonderful events happening in the area for March.”

The Pacific Rim Whale Festival’s impressive run of 32 consecutive annual appearances will come to an end this month, but that doesn’t mean the West Coast is prepared to miss out on an opportunity to celebrate the roughly 20,000 grey whales swimming past its shores.

“There are many wonderful events happening in the area for March,” said Ucluelet chamber of commerce manager and municipal councillor Lara Kemps. “Many groups and individuals have gotten together and built a pretty great calendar of events to share to the community and our guests.”

READ MORE: Organizers cancel 2019 Pacific Rim Whale Festival

The Vessel Parade and Blessing of the Fleet, a popular festival feature, is still a go at Tofino’s First Street Dock, sponsored by the Tofino-Clayoquot Heritage Museum, and is scheduled for Monday, March 18, beginning around 9 a.m. The blessing will see Pastor Jennifer Marlor and Reverend Roger Poblete using water guns to spray Holy Water onto the vessels parading past along with offering a liturgy.

“It’s something that is very meaningful to the whole community and I am really excited to be involved in it,” Marlor told the Westerly News. “[The ocean] is such a central part of who we are and how me make our living here and just to know that there is a Holy One that is looking out for us and blessing the work that we do so that we can be a blessing for others is really important.”

READ MORE: WATCH: Annual blessing of the fleet in Tofino

The Thornton Creek Hatchery’s annual Rubber Fish Race still plans to flow through the creek on March 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society is bringing a fascinating, eight-metre, offshore killer whale skeleton to the West Coast and inviting young West Coasters and visitors to help put it together while learning about whale biology, anatomy and more at two Build-a-Whale events. The first will be held at Tofino’s Long Beach Lodge Resort on March 19 from 1-4 p.m. The skeleton will then travel to Ucluelet for a March 24 event at Big Beach beginning at 10 a.m.

The full menu of March events is up for perusal at, and

Other events, like the Parade of Whales and Wonders and the annual Spout Ball challenge, look unlikely to return without the festival this month, making this the first March that mayor Josie Osborne will not be leading the Tofino-based parade since being elected in 2013.

“I will miss the Whale Festival this year—particularly the parade which I have always enjoyed because of the amount of effort that local organizations and businesses put in to their floats,” Osborne told the Westerly. “But, I do understand why the board of directors decided a hiatus was the most appropriate way to regroup and reformulate the festival as a sustainable, community-driven event. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, so I hope the festival returns next year reinvigorated and full of West Coast spirit.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Pacific Rim Whale Festival kicks off with parade in Tofino

The Whale Festival’s steering committee announced the cancellation of this year’s festival in November, citing a lack of volunteers willing to put the work in to keep it alive as the cause of its demise. Kemps hopes to see the festival return in 2020.

“Just like the whales return every year, my hopes are that the Whale Festival will as well,” she said.

“Some things just need a break to regroup and recharge and my feeling is, if the community stands behind something and really believes in it, it will come back even stronger.”

She added the festival was a strong economic driver and community connector during the West Coast’s spring shoulder season.

“The Whale Festival, like our other community festivals, has an impact that goes well beyond what can be measured in economic terms, by strengthening our community, providing fun and educational programs and events and builds awareness of our area and also acts as a source of community pride,” she said.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Ucluelet extinguishes Tofino at Spout Ball Challenge

READ MORE: VIDEO: Pacific Rim Whale Festival’s Chowder Chow Down winners announced in Ucluelet

READ MORE: VIDEO: Ucluelet local selected as Pacific Rim Whale Festival’s 2019 poster artist

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

First Nations youth Warrior Program revives cultural teachings

“The program is designed for leadership development, and these guys are shining.”

Ucluelet releases draft Climate Action Plan

Potential opportunity exists to brand town as a ‘low-carbon tourism leader’.

Ucluelet Aquarium model spawning inspiration worldwide

Groups from B.C., Nova Scotia, the State of Washington and Scotland are learning from Ucluelet.

Tofino’s housing crisis spilling into hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Stolen Bentley spotted going wrong way down highway found in Summerland

The car has been recorded going the wrong way on the Coquihalla, found two days later

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Wildlife activists slam B.C. business, clubs for ‘wolf-whacking’ contests

Chilcotin Guns, Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club and West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club under fire

Most Read