view from Marine Sciences Centre, Bamfield BC

Bamfield Revisited

Two years ago, I wrote a post about a visit to the town of Bamfield, British Columbia, to attend two concerts of that year’s Music By The Sea festival.

I just got back from this year’s MBTS, having attended three concerts and spent more time exploring this unique community on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Highlights for me included the Sunday matinee concert, which featured chamber music by Brahms and Smetana performed by some excellent young musicians. I was sharper and more attentive than the previous evening, after the four hour boat trip down the Alberni Inlet. The clear light of noon in the superlative performance space made this matinee concert a treat for both eyes and ears. Evening concerts are enhanced by sunsets that create a magnificent backdrop behind the performers.


Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre


The view from the Rix Centre’s balcony.

Other highlights included visits to Brady’s Beach near Bamfield, and Pachena Beach, several kilometres away.


Brady’s Beach on a perfect July day.

Then there were the Gunneras…


A huge patch of huge plants — the Gunneras that might eat Bamfield?

I’m not sure which species these are, Gunnera manicata or G. tinctoria, but it doesn’t really matter. Apparently they can become invasive, which is a scary thought.

Sadly, the calls of the Swainson’s thrushes, which so entranced me in 2015, were not as evident this time. Apparently, these birds have a short breeding season, and Music By The Sea 2015 was held in early July, so it may be this year the thrushes were mostly finished with the singing which is used by males to claim territory. I hope their numbers haven’t declined; they migrate to South America for the winter, flying by night, so may be killed by collisions with windows, radio and cell-phone towers, and tall buildings. It would be unfortunate if these little singers disappeared from a place that celebrates music every year.



  1. We just visited Vancouver for the first time. Spend four full days there and spent most of our time wondering the streets of downtown Vancouver. We took a bus up to Whistler and spent a few hours there. I would have liked to see more of the types of things you show here. The ocean and remote beaches and nature’s beauty — instead of the concrete canyons of downtown Vancouver.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures.

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    1. Next time, come to Vancouver Island. The cities (Victoria and Nanaimo) are medium-sized, and there are lots of opportunities to experience natural beauty. Two places I recommend are Englishman River Falls Park and Little Qualicum Falls Park. Both are on the way to Port Alberni, from where you can take a 4 hour boat ride to Bamfield, or drive to Tofino/Ucluelet. Definitely worth the effort!

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