Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Road across Canada Ends in Tofino on Vancouver Island, Locals Say

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Road across Canada Ends in Tofino on Vancouver Island, Locals Say

Article excerpt

Road across Canada ends in Tofino, locals say

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TOFINO, B.C. - The black-and-white sign in Tofino's harbour is a pretty low-key affair, an arched orca adding a decorative flourish at the top, but there's nothing modest about the statement it makes.

It's literally at the end of the road -- beyond it is the water's edge, a wooden wharf and the green mountainous backdrop of Meares Island in Clayoquot Sound.

That road stretches for some 8,000 kilometres to St. John's, N.L., at the other end of Canada.

The sign declares the spot on the west coast of Vancouver Island to be the "Pacific terminus" of the Trans-Canada Highway. Trouble is, it isn't -- at least, not officially.

As a Mile Zero sign emphatically states in Victoria at the southern point of the island, the highway ends -- or starts, depending on your point of view -- in the B.C. capital.

Tofino's sign is "patently wrong," says Calgary-based Mark Ruthenberg, who runs a Trans-Canada Highway website and has researched the cross-country network extensively.

"That's a municipal designation, not a federal or provincial designation. It's like a bakery saying 'we're the world's best bakery.' ... It doesn't really mean anything."

Ruthenberg notes there is no Trans-Canada Highway signage on any of the roads leading up to Tofino, which has a winter population of about 2,000 and a summer crowd of considerably more.

Fifty years ago -- on July 30, 1962 -- the Trans-Canada Highway was formally opened at Rogers Pass in southeastern British Columbia after the federal government, under the Trans-Canada Highway Act of 1949, had provided millions of dollars to the provinces to share construction costs. The project would later be finished in 1970 to become the largest national highway in the world.

Tofino first erected a sign declaring itself the western terminus of the yet-to-be built highway in the late 1930s or early '40s, says Ken Gibson, a former member of community's chamber of commerce and son of a former town mayor. …

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