the guide

Come along with Robin Whyte, an advocate for inclusive tourism, as she navigates Tofino and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve with her mobility scooter.

 

Shore Pine Bog Trail, in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

 

Visiting this ancient ecosystem, which is entirely unique to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, is an experience that should not be missed. Don’t expect to be awed by massive cedars, giant ferns with brilliant green fronds clamouring for the sun, or a steaming organic forest floor. No, this place is altogether different. This is a bog, and bogs are different in an equally beautiful way, as the old growth rainforests. Here the soil is extremely acidic due to water gathering and not draining away, hence nutrients are in short supply. The end result is a mystical environment of trees and shrubs that are stunted and rather deformed, with lichen-encrusted branches and random tufty tops that look like something Dr. Seuss might have been thinking about for his famous trees in “The Lorax”. A thick moss hundreds of years old serves as the base of this ecosystem, and it’s on this that the flat boardwalk trail loops around for 800 metres, which makes for a fascinating stroll that takes about 20 minutes. The boardwalk is level, with no stairs, and considered wheelchair and stroller friendly. 

Bearing in mind that people’s disabilities are as different as people themselves, it’s important to recognize that not everyone who uses a mobility aid, be it a power chair, wheelchair, scooter, walker or cane, will feel exactly the same as the next person who uses a mobility device.  The boardwalk lies slightly above ground level and is approximately five feet wide with a low guardrail that keeps wheels safely on the trail. Many of the boards are weathered and slightly uneven making for a bumpy ride at times, which some folks with disabilities may find uncomfortable. Depending on the size of the mobility device, turning around might not be realistic on this trail. There aren’t any bathroom facilities here, but they can be found at the nearby Kwisitis Visitor Centre, just off Wick Road.  

Get on a boat with West Coast Aquatic Safaris

Whale and wildlife watching is possible with the friendly crew of West Coast Aquatic Safaris, who operate a safe and sturdy vessel with an accessible ramp that makes loading aboard a breeze.

Once aboard, one can enjoy the breathtaking view from the comfort and security of the aft deck. There is a restroom at the vessel’s stern, but it is not designed for a wheelchair user. It is narrow and there is a large step up and over to get inside. Best to know this ahead of your trip.

Hotel Zed

Accessible accommodation is available at Hotel Zed, arguably one of the best places to stay in Tofino because of the amazing and welcoming staff, the super clean and FUN hotel done up in full 70s theme with sunken living room (yes green shag), disco, secret arcade and dreamy rainforest walk out the back. Restrooms are large with roll-in showers (and bench seat), plus bathroom sink with leg clearance, towel bars and light switches are found at accessible heights. There is plenty of space to move around the bed.  

Pacific Sands Beach Resort

 

Pacific Sands Beach Resort is situated on Cox Bay, one of Vancouver Island’s premier white sand beaches, Ground Zero for world class cold water surfing (and other earthly pursuits). If you’re after wheelchair/scooter friendly accommodation, you’re in luck with this beautiful family-owned and family-friendly resort, which boasts a good choice of well-equipped units in various buildings on the property.  

I recently checked out the Three Bedroom Beach House and I was happy to discover that it could easily work for myself, a scooter user. Entry to the front door is step free and once inside, the fully equipped kitchen, dining room, master bedroom with king sized bed and ocean front view plus accessible ensuite bathroom, living room with ocean front view, deck and powder room are all on the ground floor. There’s a staircase that leads to the upper floor and the two bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs. One bedroom has two queen beds and a full bathroom, which could sleep four. The second bedroom upstairs has a king size bed and its own full bathroom as well. All of the bedrooms have their own HD TV and DVD units.  All in all, this suite can very comfortably sleep 8 people.  

This well appointed 1440 square-foot suite is comfortable yet upscale with spectacular floor to ceiling windows showcasing the beach and ocean beyond. There is also a large gas fireplace to ensure that you stay cozy during the damp and chilly winter months.  

The grounds at Pacific Sands are also very friendly for folks who use mobility devices. The parking lot and grounds are level and a small ramp takes you into the reception area where you are greeted by friendly, knowledgeable staff. Outside, my friends and I enjoyed lunch at a picnic table on the grass between the beachfront suites and the lodge suites.

There is a wide, concrete ramp leads down to the beach, which I took full advantage of and went for a zip around the sand as the surf roared in my ears. 

 

Basic Goodness Pizza

For fans of authentic, Neapolitan wood fired pizza, with crust that can almost make you cry, there’s no better place than Tofino’s Basic Goodness Pizzeria. Once inside, the friendly staff are welcoming and accommodating, the space is bright and modern, and the tables and chairs move easily over polished concrete floors.  

For accessibility, the bathroom is large with a universal height toilet and grab bars. The sink in the bathroom has a counter cutout so that it can be comfortably accessed by wheelchair/scooter users and the paper towel dispenser is at a comfortable height. The restaurant is all on one level and while there isn’t an automatic push plate button to open the door, it’s not heavy. It’s possible to open both front doors if the extra width is needed. In times of sun and warmth, outside there is a small patio with a wraparound bench and a few tables.  What stands out at Basic Goodness are the chill vibes, the delicious taste of the pizzas we ordered and the megawatt smiles on the faces of the two chefs happily assembling their mouth watering creations.

 

request to borrow a beach wheelchair

The Tofino Visitor Centre now has two Sand Rider beach wheelchairs, available to borrow!
Request yours by completing this quick form.

Sand Rider beach wheelchair
Photo by @philharmuth.

 

viewpoints

beaches

trails

These trails are flat (or have long flat sections) and can be used with a wheelchair, mobility scooter, or stroller.

accommodations

These accommodations offer one or some units that are accessible to guests with a wheelchair or mobility scooter. We recommend completing this quick email enquiry form with your specific needs and/or wants for your stay, and the suitable accommodations with availability will respond directly to you.

Bulletin

Updated Highway 4 Road Closure Schedule at Kennedy Hill