SOURCE: Tourism Tofino

Tourism Tofino

March 02, 2009 12:12 ET

23rd Annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival Celebrates West Coast Vancouver Island Grey Whale Migration and Coastal Life

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Tofino, Ucluelet Coastal Communities Host 9-Day Event March 14-22, 2009

TOFINO, BC--(Marketwire - March 2, 2009) - The Pacific Rim Whale Festival Society today unveiled the more than seventy-five events -- many of them free -- planned for the 23rd Annual Whale Festival being held on the west coast of Vancouver Island from March 14-22, 2009.

With a significant focus on marine ecosystems and coastal life education, the Pacific Rim Whale Festival celebrates the continued protection and annual return of migrating Pacific grey whales to the coastal waters of the communities of Tofino, Ucluelet and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. An estimated 20,000 grey whales make the journey each year from the Baja Peninsula's breeding and calving lagoons in Mexico toward their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas near the Arctic. The migrating grey whales join resident grey whales, orcas, humpbacks and the occasional minke that can be seen in the Pacific Northwest waters any time of year.

Marking the official opening of the area's prime whale watching season, The Pacific Rim Whale Festival includes a variety of cultural, culinary, musical, family-friendly and educational events including:

13th Annual Gala Dinner & Silent Auction Fundraiser, March 5, 6:00 PM
Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino.  Tickets $105.
   -- An evening of epicurean delights, wine pairings and auction.

Traditional Cedar Weaving: Workshops with First Nations Artists & Weavers
 -- FREE
March 19, 2:00 PM, UAC Hall, Ucluelet.
March 21, 2:00 PM Weigh West Marine Resort -- Coho Room, Tofino.
   -- Participants learn traditional weaving techniques and history from
      First Nations weavers and take home their own creation.

Martini Migration, March 18, 7-11 PM
Community Hall, Tofino.  Advance Tickets Only: $40.
   -- Acclaimed cocktail competition in cooperation with Skyy Vodka &
      Hendrick's Gin.

Storytelling with Roy Henry Vickers, March 17-20, 11:00 AM -- FREE
Eagle Aerie Gallery, Tofino.
   -- In his longhouse-design gallery, renowned First Nations artist shares
      coastal life stories and releases two limited edition prints:
      'Humpback' & 'Sleighride.'

Barnacle Blues: Jim Byrnes Live in Concert,  March 19, 6:30 PM
Black Rock Oceanfront Resort -- Ballroom, Ucluelet.  Advance tickets: $40.
   -- A fundraising evening of fine food, drink, auctioned prizes and music
      with 2-time Maple Blues Award Winner.

"The Whale Festival is not only an extraordinary opportunity to learn about coastal life and marine ecosystems, it is a great example of west coast spirit, hospitality, sense of community and culture," said Marla Barker, Coordinator of the Pacific Rim Whale Festival. "In spite of all the fun, though, it's important to remember that the real stars of the show are the whales themselves. Not too long ago, grey whales were listed as near extinct, but have since recovered to estimated pre-whaling numbers in the eastern Pacific. It's the largest grey population that exists on the planet! We're lucky enough to see them en-route first-hand and to be able to increase public awareness about their remarkable existence."

About the Pacific Rim Whale Festival

Supported by volunteers, business sponsorships, an array of local education and research organizations and in it's 23rd successful year, the Pacific Rim Whale Festival's fundraising efforts benefit local marine field-based research initiatives, which in turn support the whales. 2009 Whale Festival Corporate Sponsors include A Channel, Best Western Tin Wis Resort, Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Canadian Princess Resort, CHMZfm 90.1 Tofino Radio, CIMMfm 99.5 Ucluelet Radio, District of Tofino, District of Ucluelet, Immediate Images, Jamie's Whaling Station, Long Beach Lodge Resort, Pacific Sands Beach Resort, Parks Canada, Tourism Tofino, Westcoast Aquatic Safaris, Westcoaster.ca, Westerly News, The Wickaninnish Inn and Wickaninnish Restaurant.

For more information, including a complete list of events, times and locations please visit www.pacificrimwhalefestival.com

Contact Information

  • Festival Contact:
    Marla Barker
    Pacific Rim Whale Festival Coordinator
    250-726-5874
    Email Contact

    Media Contact
    Lynda Kaye
    Kaye Public Relations for Tourism Tofino
    250-725-2035
    Email Contact