Visiting a new place, or re-visiting a spot you love, it’s always tempting to pick up a souvenir or two to remind yourself of the good times experienced, the friends made and the adventures had. Something no one else will have that is unique to your experience. Whether it’s a surfing knick-knack, a quirky t-shirt or some handcrafted, artisan goods, below are a few souvenir pit stops you can make to ensure you have the perfect Tofino/Ucluelet reminder for home.
Whether you suited up for a surf in the Pacific or not, you are guaranteed to find a great Tofino or Ucluelet souvenir at any one of the surf shops in the area. Stickers, hats, custom clothing or classic brands such as Ripcurl, Roxy, Billabong, Volcom, RVCA and Nixon are typical to the shelves of the shops. If you did take a lesson through the company, a t-shirt to brag about the time you first stood up on your board is a perfect take-home. If you really did fall in love with the sport, any of the stores would be happy to outfit you with everything you need to kick off your surfing career as well.
Picture Salt (see #8), but subtract the Tofino T-shirts and add a slice of vintage to the mix. This is GypsyDriftershop in Ucluelet. Succulents and plants line the windows of the quaint, quality and vintage goods shop that is just across the street from Zoe’s Bakery. Don’t be fooled by the store’s small size, it’s still possible to spend a decent amount of time there when you really get into trying on the clothes, checking out the vintage buttons, sniffing at the artisan sprays and candles and looking over the jewelry selection. The welcoming vibe and bright openness of the store entices you to stay awhile and find that perfect, Ukee souvenir.
For something you’re certain no one else will have – head over to Piña. With their original store and print shop in Ucluelet, the company became so popular that they quickly had to expand into Tofino as well. Angie Roussin is a talented artist, whose nautical and west coast designs, sometimes beautiful, sometimes downright hilarious, have made their way onto pretty much any type of clothing or cloth-made goods imaginable. From saw-wielding mermen to dueling Narwhals, there’s endless opportunity to pick up something truly unique. The shops also contain plenty of locally made jewelry to go with your new hoodie, bag or shirt. Not seeing a design you loved on anything printed in store? They can custom make it just for you in a matter of minutes.
Tucked away behind the CIBC in Tofino is Merge. Cute and chock full of uniquely designed… Everything, this is an ultimate gift stop and souvenir spot. Much more than just a shop however, Merge is dubbed an “Artisan Collective” showcasing goods made by artisans across BC and the rest of the world, as well as unique creations from the store owners themselves. Jewelry, leather worked wallets, wooden phone cases; you name it, somewhere on the shelf, a handcrafted version of it exists. If you happen to be around for a workshop, you might even end up making your own souvenir yourself to take home with you.
5. Tofino Chocolate
Homegrown, self-picked, hand selected and churned in house, Vancouver Island is stitched into every ounce of chocolate and gelato created in the cozy shop of Tofino Chocolate. Plus, nothing is better than an edible souvenir. A single bite, months down the line, can take you back to that first wave, that perfect beach or that crazy adventure in the rain. Snag a cone of gelato for while you painstakingly select which chocolatey treats you want to indulge in once you’ve returned home.
6. Coffee Roasteries
Any morning calls for good coffee, something Tofino and Ucluelet both know a lot about. The scent of roasting beans often takes to the air in both coastal towns as Rhino, Tofino Coffee Co. and the Foggy Bean Coffee Company get down to business. All those cups of coffee you’ve been sipping on with delight during your time on the West Coast can be joyfully reproduced at home by taking back bags of locally roasted beans from any of the shops. All three roast pretty much every day, it’s just up to you to taste test them all and decide which to take with you. Visit a shop in Ucluelet that uses Foggy Bean and pick up a bag of the stuff at the Co-Op, dunk your donut into a fresh roast at Rhino as the ultimate taste test or re-caffeinate and stock-up at the Tofino Coffee Co. Coffee shop. No matter which one you pick, you can have Tofino or Ucluelet wishing you a good morning every day over your morning cup of coffee at home.
7. Tofino Brew Co.
Although taking the beer home to consume months later might not be an option, there’s always plenty of awesome Tofino Brew Co. gear that will make for a great souvenir. Fill up a growler to take back to the hotel room or campsite and then stock up on shirts, hats and stickers to remind you of evenings spent crowded around the bar with your buddies. The brewery is a perfect stop to taste your way to Tofino, make some new friends and pick up pints, along with souvenirs. Plus, the growler, once empty, can be pretty useful back home for more than just reminding you of perfect days in paradise.
Whether you’re looking for that perfect, oddball gear as a gift (ie. Awesome camping mugs, nifty flasks or mermaid sea salt hair mist), or for something a little bit custom-Tofino, Salt is the place to go. A cute shop located up the stairs of a cute clapboard building on Campbell St. downtown, Salt is a go-to for Tofino t-shirts, longsleeves and hoodies, as well as a multitude of things beyond the imagination. Locally made jewelry is a top pick, along with Tofino-made soaps, candles and other products. Take time perusing the shelves and enjoying the vibe of this quaint treasure trove.
9. The Factory
The Factory is a workshop-meets-boutique for the incredible work of three Tofino locals. Not only can you see them hard at work, but their beautiful products are then placed up front for you to browse through and find a unique, long-lasting souvenir for your time in Tofino. Market Canvas, Lfjewellery and Kyler Voss Photography run the show and stock the shelves, each providing the shop with incredible products. From the perfectly crafted weekend tote, to stunning rings, necklaces and earrings, or that west coast capture you’ve been searching for to adorn your wall, you’ll be able to find it at the Factory. Not only are the gifts as unique and beautiful as Tofino itself, they’ll bring your time to mind for years to come.
10. The Den
Similar to the Factory, but located in Ucluelet, the Den is another hub for talented, west coast locals. A space where artists, crafters and creators of all sorts can gather, the Den is an eclectic mix of wonderful and unique finds that are available for purchase to take back home with you. From stunning jewellery, to macrame, weaving, surf art and plenty of other goodies, it’s another place to find a souvenir to last a lifetime. The Den also does workshops to learn the artists’ crafts, so if you’re lucky, you might even have a repeatable skill so that you can relive your time in Ucluelet and Tofino over and over again.
Contributed by: Laurissa Cebryk