Sooke Harbor or Torino

Old Apr 27th, 2005, 09:04 AM
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Sooke Harbor or Torino

We are trying to decide where to spend 7 days at the end of June. We live in San Francisco. We'd fly to Vancouver and then...? We want beauty and hiking. Sooke Harbor House, the Wicks are so expensive! But I do like a lovely room to hang out in. Is torino worth the extra trave time? Help!! thanks.
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Old Apr 27th, 2005, 09:38 AM
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I assume you mean Tofino, not torino.
Sooke Harbour house is lovely, as is the area. You have the advantage of being close to Victoria (Sooke is about a 40 minute drive), where there is a plethora of accomadations to meet any budget, good restaruants etc. There is some lovely hiking around there as well, such as Goldstream Provincial Park just north of Victoria.
The Tofino area is absolutely gorgeous. I read somewhere once that James Cook (the first European to "discover" the area) described it as the most beautful place he had seen in all his travels, and I have to agree. It is right next to Pacific Rim National Park, which has gorgeous hiking trails through rainforest, long lonely beaches, and some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever see. There are also plenty of charter companies that offer whale watching, sea kayaking, salmon fishing, just about whatever you want.
There are plenty of top notch accomadations in the area, but 5 star hotels (eg the Wikaninish Inn) are very pricey. There are lots of private condos, cabins, etc. that are available to rent through agencies (try Tofino Vacation Rentals at and check them out). They get booked solid well in advance in the summer, at the end of June you might still be ok- but if you want to do this get on it right away.
The downside of Tofino is that the town itself is very small and there is not much in the way of shopping, nightlife etc if that is what you are into. There are, however many decent restaurants in the area (and some superb, expensive ones as well) and all amenities, such as a grocery store, liquour store, banks with instant tellers etc.
Tonino is about a 5.5 hour drive from Victoria, but if you are in Vancouver and take the ferry to Nanaimo its only a 3 hour drive from Nanaimo.
Overall, I recommend Tofino if you have never been. Enjoy the big city of Vancouver, then contrast it with the isolated beauty of Tofino.
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Old Apr 28th, 2005, 06:41 AM
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I would definitely pick Tofino. Sooke Harbour House itself is a lovely Inn and has received a lot of press, which partly accounts for the price. You can stay in the relatively nearby small city of Victoria and have dinner at Sooke Harbour, but personally, I would "not" spend a whole week there. There's much more to do in Victoria and spread around other parts of the island.

Personally, I would spend more time in the Tofino area - which is a "must" desination for nature lovers. It is adjacent to the very spectacular Pacific Rim National Park with old growth rain forest and miles of deserted beach (not for swimming - cold, and often high surf, but great for walking and exploring). Tofino is famous for environmentalist demonstrations back in the early 90's and is now a top eco-destination (whale watching, Native culture, old-growth forests, etc.) You could consider, say, 2-3 nights in Victoria to explore that end of the Island, and 5 nights in the Tofino area. There are a number of other resorts, inns, hotels & condos than the ones you mention. Get the British Columbia accommodation guide (find BC tourism on the web - they have a bunch of guides/booklets they will send you free, or you can search on the net).
Old May 29th, 2005, 11:25 AM
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It was a long time ago, 5 years, but on our honeymoon my husband and I stayed at a lovely B&B in Sooke and went to the Harbor House for dinner. We thought that the restaurant was overrated. The food was OK and the wait staff were haughty. When my husband asked the waiter to tell him about the lamb, his reply was that it was "active" and wouldn't elaborate further! Hmmmm. I had the cod and it was tastless (as it almost always is, but the server recommended it). I will try to find the name of the B&B if you are interested.
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Old May 29th, 2005, 02:52 PM
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Sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience at Sooke Harbour House meregayle. Ours was the opposite of yours. We happened on the chef when we were making reservations, so I had a chance to find out from him what fresh fish and seafood was available that day, we went with his recommendations for both our meals and for wine, and had one of our most memorable meals ever!! Combined with the lovely setting - we had a window table with a view over Calendula blooming bright orange and yellow, to the deep blue water of Juan de Fuca Strait, and the smoky-grey-blue Olympic Mountains on the horizon - it was sublime!!!

However, I would agree with the other posters 200% that Tofino is absolutely the most gorgeous spot - a true "must see".

I was wondering though Shayna - if you live in San Francisco, you must get lots of ocean scenery every day. Why not plan a trip to somewhere "different", for example, the Rockies - Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper?? It fits your bill - there is lots of beauty and hiking, plus a wide assorment of "lovely rooms" to hang out in !!
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