Tofino is very lucky to have a wonderful independent bookstore that also sells a variety of carefully selected kites and other toys. It's especially helpful if you are interested in learning more about the history, culture, and folkways of Tofino and of Vancouver Island in general. I went into the store knowing very little, so I asked the clerk to recommend a novel about life of Vancouver Island in the early 1900s. She recommend "The Maquinna Line" by the Canadian actress and writer Norma McMillan - it was excellent!
Tofini is a great place to browse for First nations (native) art. Galleries we liked included the Eagle Aerie Gallery , which is located in a traditional Northwest Coast longhouse and features the work of a single artist, Roy Henry Vickers, one of Canada's premier artists. We also liked the Himwitsa Gallery, a First Nations owned and operated gallery with a great selection of native paintings, masks, carvings and jewellery.
We’d already bought an original painting elsewhere on the island, and a print on Quadra, so in Tofino we made ourselves resist all temptation and limit ourselves to a couple of attractive art cards. But we enjoyed visiting the galleries nevertheless.
What to pay: Of course prices vary a lot depending on what you choose. An attractive card will be only a couple of dollars, a good quality print maybe $50 - $100, and original art works start at about $100. There's also beautiful one-off jewellery pieces for $50 and up.
[all prices Canadian dolalrs]
It's a cute little place located behind another clothing store, beside a gelato store. It had some of the cheapest stuff I could find in Tofino. The stuff was in very good condition.
What to buy: Anything you want, but know that everything is second-hand.
What to pay: I got a nice, soft skirt for $8. I saw earrings for $1, and shirts there seemed to be $7-8.
It's a small shop, but full of the most delicious gourmet chocolates and gelato you will ever find. It's an award winner!
What to buy: In this chocolate shop, don't miss the white chocolate bark with nuts and dried blueberry + raspberry, the chocolate crispy logs, and quite simply THE best plain chocolate bars I've ever tasted in my life.
What to pay: It's not cheap, but it's worth every penny. $5-$10 minimum.
This grocery is owned by the mayor. Yup. But the thing about it is, it's small, cozy, and eccentric. There will almost always be interesting music playing, friendly service, and lots of goodies. The produce tends to be cheaper here than at the Co-Op, and there's some delicious baked goods as well. You can also get small pizzas (yum!) and some odds and ends too.
What to buy: The cookies - definately. There's one with a funny name that I forget, but it has dried blueberries and white chocolate.
The mini-pizzas are great.
Organic produce is available here too.
What to pay: About average for groceries - a bit more than in a city, but not by much.