Go to the northern tip of Chesterman Beach take your shoes off and walk until you reach the southern end of the sand.
Turn off all your electronics and spend a day watching the ocean.
Go an entire day without using a single disposable product.
Kait Fennell’s new e-book, 251 Things to do in Tofino, is full of recommendations like these to help tourists fit as much as they can into their Tofitian vacations while fitting in with the community.
Fennell traveled to the West Coast from her Nova Scotia home about four years ago to participate in a surf camp but the waves and locals she experienced transformed that visit into a permanent stay.
“I was surprised how good the waves were and I loved the community and the people. Everything about it; I just fell head-over-heels in love with the place,” Fennell told the Westerly. “I loved it so much that I had my return ticket booked to permanently move here two days after [arriving].”
Fennell worked various jobs in the local tourism industry and found herself answering the same questions from visitors over and over again so she decided to put together a resource full of answers.
“You meet hundreds of tourists every year working in the tourist sector here and you get asked the same questions so I thought we needed some kind of user-friendly guidebook for new tourists coming into Tofino,” she said. “Something that was easy to use and I could direct them towards when they asked questions.”
She brought her idea to her friend Joe Sequeira who jumped on board to lend his editing and illustrating skills to the project and the pair spent roughly two years working it out.
“It was definitely a huge learning curve. I pretty much went to the library and got all the books I could find about writing books and authoring and how to be a writer and stuff like that and I did a lot of background research about Tofino and the area,” Fennell said.
“It’s been a crazy roller coaster the last couple of years putting it together but it was awesome because it was such a good learning experience and I actually, believe it or not, enjoyed doing it even though there was a lot of sweat.”
Along with showcasing local businesses and hotspots, the book features over 100 contributions from locals explaining why they love Tofino.
“We were really stoked and shocked by the amount of responses we got from the community…You have a wide spectrum of local voices. It’s neat reading everybody’s reviews of what Tofino represents to them,” Fennell said.
“That chapter, the locals chapter, is my favourite chapter of the book. That’s what makes me really proud of the book because involving the community was super important to me.”
She said the book includes information about coexisting with the area’s wildlife and encourages tourists to cycle or walk rather than go through the pains of searching for parking in town.
“The main goal is not just to attract more tourists, but to educate them about how we like to do things and what’s important to us as locals,” she said. “It’s a locals’ view of what tourists can do to make their life easier when they come here.”
The book is currently available at Amazon.com and Fennell said it will be perpetually updated.
“Since it’s an online e-book, it’s really easy to update so we’ll be updating it every season and we’re always open to newcomers and people who want to be involved in the project,” she said. “It’s a work in progress. This is our first edition and hopefully it will improve from here on in.”
Fennell is working on a similar book for Ucluelet and any locals interested in contributing to the project is encouraged to contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.