Tofino Fishing & Trading

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 and fishing.

Tofino’s 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.

The 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.

The 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 West Coast.