Tofino’s Oyster Gala

When it comes to slurping oysters, the Clayoquot Sound is the Canadian place to be (West Coast, anyhow). Each year, the area grows 50,000 gallons of these bivalves. From November 17-19, Tofino is home to Oyster Gala, a dedicated celebration that hosts oyster farm tours, wine tastings and seminars. During this weekend alone, at least 8,000 oysters are shucked and consumed. If you really are a true oyster lover, you’ll make sure you’re there — though Tofino is admittedly not in Vancouver’s backyard, so plan ahead, now, because the fest is just over one week away. Here’s DailyXY’s how to, where to and general festival overview.

Tofino is accessible from Vancouver through BC Ferries, via Horseshoe Bay or Tsawwassen and a 210 km, approximately 2-3 hour windy drive across the Island. Alternatively, Orca Airways or Tofino Air fly out daily and there’s also a daily bus.

There are a variety of accommodations available in the area. The Wickanninish is the area’s premier resort; a Relais and Chateau property rated as the top Canadian hotel in Travel + Leisure. Long Beach Lodge is another popular choice with discriminating travelers. Also oceanfront, the resort offers surf lessons and a complimentary breakfast daily.

Restaurant (Month of November)
Sample SoBo’s Oyster Trio dish throughout the month. Chef Lisa Ahier prepares them raw with a mignonette, broiled with a Miso Mayo and crusted in salmon-bacon and hemp seed with avocado ice cream. $9

Campfire Oyster Fest Dinner (Friday November 18)
Held at Pacific Sands Resort’s Beachfront Gazebo, this evening of music and seafood beside the campfire promises full bellies and dancing. Enjoy oysters, lamb lollipops, wild salmon, grilled steaks, spot prawns and campfire smores. $5

An Evening with The Oysterman” (Friday November 18)
The Wickaninnish Inn hosts a cocktail reception with Brent “The Oysterman” Petkau. Sample oysters alongside wine and beer pairings. $75

The Mermaids Ball (Friday November 18, 9 pm)
Tofino’s Community Centre hosts this annual under-the-sea themed costume party with funky tunes, wine and beer tasting and heaps of raw and barbequed oysters. $25

Oyster Farm Tours (Saturday November 19)
Remote Passages will take you on a ride up Lemmens Inlet to an oyster farm to watch real oyster farmers at work. Learn to shuck, and taste a fresh one right from the sea. Tours last about 1.5 hours; 9:30 am is the first departure. $30

Oyster Adventure Tour (Saturday November 19, 1 pm)
Coast Aquatic Safaris will take you on a leisurely tour viewing fall scenery and wildlife on their first-class vessel. Onboard you will be treated to a delicious Oyster luncheon from Chef Derek Sandercock of Addictive foods. $79

Oyster Gala (Saturday November 19, 7 pm)
The grand finale serves up oysters in numerous ways, along with beer and wine tastings and a chef-farmer shucking contest. Local restaurants prepare inspired oyster dishes and dancing goes on until late with the blues and funk bank, Brickhouse. $75

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