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Whales back in Tofino-Ucluelet area, Pacific Rim Whale Festival returns with them

Celebration of grey whale migration returns this weekend to the West Coast

The West Coast is in for a whale of a time this weekend.

Tens of thousands of grey whales are dancing through the region’s waters as they make their way through their annual 16,000 kilometre migration from Mexico to the Arctic.

Locals and visitors alike are champing at the bit to celebrate the massive congregation of majestic mammals with the triumphant return of the Pacific Rim Whale Festival.

“That was the first reason why Whale Fest came around, but it’s definitely become more than that. It’s bringing people together and celebrating the natural world through art, food, music and education,” festival coordinator Sarah Watt told the Westerly News. “You’re getting outdoors and celebrating the community.”

The nine-day family-friendly festival kicks off on March 18 and will see a flurry of in-person events returning as COVID-19 restrictions have eased.

“Fortunately, with the changes in the restrictions, it’s enabled us to do more in person events where we can have greater capacity,” Watt said.” It’s great to be partnering up with local businesses for events again.”

Several popular, traditional events were left off the list this year, including the Parade of Whales and Wonders as well as the Chowder Chow Down, but Watt said those events will return in 2023.

“We’d love to bring those events back for next year, but for this year’s festival we started with baby steps just because we didn’t know which way it was going for the restrictions when we first started our plans,” she said.

She added that while the chowdown will be absent, the void and bellies will be filled by a wide array of food-based activities and a full schedule of events can be found at

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Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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