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Ucluelet artist’s work chosen for 2023 Pacific Rim Whale Festival poster

Wickaninnish Beach sunset provides inspiration for Dyan Myhr’s winning entry
Ucluelet artist Dyan Myhr unveils the 2023 Pacific Rim Whale Festival poster from within the comfort of her home studio overlooking the entrance of Barkley Sound. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Ucluelet artist Dyan Myhr is the winner of the 35th annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival poster design competition.

Myhr’s watercolour oceanic creation features a pod of three grey whales, splashing in the beauty of a warm orange and purple tinged sky.

“I was inspired by a Wick Beach sunset. Sunsets here are just as good as Hawaii,” Myhr told the Westerly from her home studio overlooking the Pass of Melfort and the entrance to Barkley Sound.

Whale Festival co-ordinator Sarah Watt said Myhr delivered a piece of art that perfectly embodied the spirit of the festival “with stunning colour and images of our guest of honour - the grey whale.” Each year from March to late May, about 16,000 grey whales swim by local shorelines on their way from the warm lagoons of Baja, Mexico to their summer feeding grounds in Alaska.

“We received a lot of incredible artwork from local artists in Tofino and Ucluelet and artists from around the island. While it was a tough decision, ultimately, the board believed [Myhr’s] artwork does a fantastic job of drawing attention to the festival,” said Watt.

Myhr, a senior member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, moved to Ucluelet from Terrace, B.C. with her husband a few years ago and built a house. She says it was her daughter Kara who encouraged her to enter the poster contest.

“I’ve never tried anything like this before. I was pleased [to win]. It’s an odd sensation,” she said, noting she did a lot of reading and watching BBC Earth before sitting down to paint the friendly leviathan.

“They are not the prettiest whale, but they are kind of graceful when they’re swimming,” said Myhr.

She can now add her name to a long list of distinguished Pacific Rim Whale Festival poster artists, including: Myles Beeby (2022), Rebekka Lim (2019), Crystal Crossman (2018), Claire Watson (2015), Kelly Deakin (2014), Marika Swan (2013), Allison Tremain (2012), Mark Hobson (2011 and 2007), Angie Roussin (2010), Shannon McWhinney (2009), Marion Syme (2008), and Marla Thirsk (2006, 2001, 2003 and more).

The 35th anniversary of the Pacific Rim Whale Festival will run from March 17 to 25 and features a a mix of fun and educational events, both online and in-person.

For ongoing updates about the festival, visit the new and updated website at

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