VANCOUVER, British Columbia The wind-swept beaches of Ucluelet,
B.C., are about to get a touch of Hollywood glamour. Actor Jason
Priestley and his family have just opened the Terrace Beach Resort
in the town on the remote western coast of Vancouver Island.
Priestley best known for his starring role in the TV series
“Beverly Hills 90210” and for the car-racing accident that
seriously injured him in 2002 was an investor in the Roots Lodge, a
rustic luxury resort on the site that opened in 1999 but quickly
became mired in legal and financial problems.
Rather than walking away and losing his investment, Priestley
decided to buy 15 of the 25 units that made up the lodge and turn
them into a new resort that his father, Lorne, will manage.
The unusual property is a collection of cabins and lofts
connected by a wooden boardwalk. Its accommodations range from
three-level waterfront cabins with kitchenettes, fireplaces,
barbecues and Jacuzzi tubs to ground-level bachelor units.
Rates for beachfront cabins range from approximately $213 in the
off-season to $266 in peak season, while bachelor units are about
$75 year-round. Five-night packages are also available.
Priestley, who was born and raised in the Vancouver area, said
in a recent newspaper interview that he loves the Ucluelet area and
the location of the resort, set on a sheltered harbor on the large
island that is also home to British Columbia’s capital city of
Victoria. The actor has spent a lot of time in the area in recent
months, filming two TV movies in Victoria.
Ucluelet a native Indian word meaning “safe harbor” sits at the
southern tip of a narrow peninsula that abuts Pacific Rim National
Park, one of the most rugged and spectacular parks in Canada. A
former logging and fishing town, Ucluelet is larger and less
tourist-oriented than Tofino, a charming community at the other end
of the peninsula.
Stretching between the two towns is Long Beach, a six-mile
stretch of sand and rocky outcroppings that’s known for its wild
and wind-swept surf and also serves as the gateway to nine
well-marked trails that venture into old-growth forest. This is the
most visited portion of the park, which was established in 1971 and
is divided into three distinct areas.
Ucluelet is the closest town to the Broken Islands portion of
the park, which is accessible only by boat. It’s a secluded haven
for boaters and kayakers, with ample opportunities to see wildlife
ranging from eagles to sea lions.
The northern end of the West Coast Trail, a demanding 47-mile
hike that takes five to eight days to complete, is in Bamfield,
roughly an hour’s boat ride from Ucluelet.
Because this portion of the park is a protected wilderness area,
a quota system exists for hikers and reservations are required. So
is a willingness to get down and dirty on the irregular, often
Less physically demanding are the whale-watching excursions,
offered between February and October, that provide visitors with a
good chance to see one of the many pods of gray whales and orcas
that pass by the island during their annual migration. Several
companies offer excursions from Ucluelet and Tofino. Guided fishing
charters are also available from both towns.
The Terrace Beach Resort pays 10 percent commission to travel