If you’re looking for a vibrant, creative community enveloped by cool ocean breezes and lush greenery, look no further than Ucluelet (yew-KLOO-let).
This historical fishing village is the perfect place for those who cherish their surroundings and want to live a rich, meaningful life. Living in Ucluelet provides ample opportunities for recreation, cultural excursions, and relaxation, as well as beautiful residences, tucked away into spots of natural beauty.
With just over 1,700 permanent residents, Ucluelet is a popular eco-tourist destination surrounded by diverse landscapes and wildlife. Locals enjoy a strong sense of connection to and pride in their community, which is deeply rooted in First Nations traditions.
Located about 288 kilometres northwest of Victoria, Ucluelet is relatively secluded, making an ideal home for those who wish to escape the urban bustle and reconnect with nature. Still, there’s enough exciting activity to keep residents busy, including festivals, shopping, and sports.
Taken together, this makes Ucluelet a thriving, innovative community, blending small-town vibes with shades of urban sophistication.
While British Columbia is generally cool and wet, Ucluelet enjoys delightful ocean breezes, relatively warm summers, and soothing rain.
Winters are especially wet, with precipitation more than twice that of Vancouver, but tend to be snow-free. Summers are a bit drier and have plenty of sunny days to enjoy the beach.
Living in Ucluelet has been compared to living in Ireland, where the sea dominates the climate and encourages a regular cycle of cleansing rains, mysterious fog, and mild days.
The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust’s 2019 living wage calculation for Ucluelet and nearby Tofino is $19.63 per hour, down from previous years, but some residents experience higher costs of living.
Overall housing and food costs have risen due to the competition for homes and local supply networks in the area. Also, many people work for local businesses that may struggle to pay a living wage.
However, the area’s concentration of self-employed individuals and a relatively stable economy may support lower costs of living as the community grows.
Ucluelet is predominantly a fishing village with a heavy emphasis on ecotourism. Marine activities, both commercial and recreational, are major economic drivers for the district.
The secondary industries revolve around these activities and include accommodations and hospitality, foodservice and dining, retail, and the arts. Many residents work for large resorts, and there are dozens of independent restaurants, cafés, and breweries supporting the local economy.
Ucluelet has a lower unemployment rate and fewer retirees compared to the rest of Vancouver Island. This is largely because its residents are primarily older millennials and Gen Z, who are actively participating in the workforce or carving out their own opportunities.
If you’re figuring out how to move to Ucluelet but are nervous about job opportunities, rest assured that the area can support remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. The area has also experienced some new development, leading to more construction jobs and small businesses — and therefore more job creation.
Those who dream of living in Ucluelet may face stiff competition for homes. However, new developments are opening the door to new residents, and some property owners are building their own homes.
Ucluelet’s bylaws favor homes that are nestled among nature and pose minimal interruption to the surrounding reserve. This does lead to higher prices on some properties.
If you’re unsure how to move to Ucluelet, it’s worth the effort to get a local realtor to find the best deals. People wanting to move into Ucluelet are advised to do their research and connect with local experts.
Despite its relative seclusion from big cities, Ucluelet still enjoys the quick speeds of robust community technology, as well as the necessary electricity to power modern lifestyles. The district has a lightning-fast fiber-optic connection, making it ideal for people who work from home. Residents enjoy reliable cell phone coverage as well.
Ucluelet is also eco-friendly thanks to its comprehensive recycling program and multiple charging points for electric vehicles. Residents receive hydro-powered electricity from the local plant, which allows for minimal brownouts and blackouts.
The nearest hospital is the Tofino General Hospital, located 40 minutes away. It features a small emergency room as well as X-ray services and testing laboratories. MRIs and other medical imaging are available at the West Coast Hospital, located in Port Alberni about 1 hour 40 minutes from Ucluelet.
Regular medical services are easily accessed within Ucluelet. The Ucluelet Medical Clinic offers basic testing and check-ups, overall wellness planning, and treatment for minor illnesses and injuries.
Those interested in alternative medicine can choose from a variety of local clinics, including massage, chiropractors, and acupuncture.
Children can receive a high-quality education through School District 70’s local elementary and secondary schools. With multiple opportunities for enrichment and extracurriculars, students will gain a broad knowledge of the world in small classrooms optimized for learning.
Those living in Ucluelet can also obtain postsecondary education from the North Island College (NIC) Learning Centre. Students can earn associates degrees in art and science or prepare to transfer to a university. The Centre also offers preparatory courses for medical, business, and trade schools. NIC allows students to learn through remote learning, making it a perfect opportunity for residents who are expanding their endeavors in Ucluelet.
Thanks to the influx of tourists, Ucluelet is filled with incredible dining opportunities. From gourmet restaurants to eclectic cafés to delightful bakeries to yummy ice cream parlors, there is always a chance to sate your appetite in Ucluelet!
Naturally, seafood is a large part of the locals’ diet, although there are plenty of vegan & organic diners as well. Those seeking fusion cuisine or comfort food can choose from a wide variety of gastropubs and casual dining venues.
Special occasion? Not to worry: Ucluelet has several fine dining establishments as well.
Because of its emphasis on tourism, Ucluelet has no shortage of fun activities and opportunities for enrichment. Nature lovers can enjoy hiking through the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, strolls on the beach, and trips out on whale-watching tours.
Many residents own or rent boats for fishing, wildlife-watching, or general enjoyment of the water, and you will see a variety of motorboats and paddle craft throughout the waterways.
Watersports are also immensely popular, and it’s not uncommon to see surfers, wind boarders, and kite surfers around Long Beach.
Those who prefer to stay on the shore enjoy storm-watching, birding, and sunbathing on the occasional sunny day.
Sports enthusiasts and athletes can break a sweat at the West Coast Fitness Center or any of the various athletic facilities that dot the area. Baseball, volleyball, hockey, soccer, and track are all very popular. There is also a skate park for local daredevils.
Performance athletes and those seeking a meditative experience can enjoy dance, yoga, and martial arts classes at the Fitness Center or The Studio Ucluelet.
Ucluelet is also well known for its arts and cultural activities. A variety of hobby classes and enrichment activities happen at the Ucluelet Community Centre, which also includes a branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library.
Those who love learning will enjoy the esteemed Ucluelet Aquarium, which is Canada’s first catch-and-release aquarium.
The district also features several top-notch facilities for youth athletics, including the Ucluelet Athletic Hall and Sea Plane Base Recreation Hall.
Performing arts are also thriving in Ucluelet. Residents can enjoy visits to galleries featuring work by local artists, enjoy a relaxing evening with live music at various venues, or browse the Sunday Market and Ucluelet’s fine array of shops for unique gifts, crafts, and artworks. Local dancers and musicians also perform at the community’s key events, including the Cultural Heritage Festival, Ukee Days, and the Pacific Rim Arts Society Summer Festival.
Does this sound like your dream community?
Wondering how to move to Ucluelet?
As we mentioned, it can be challenging to find your piece of paradise in this growing community; there is a lot of competition, and it pays to know a local! Get personalized, fully knowledge assistance from Mieke Dusseldorp, and find your Ucluelet home today.
I’ve put together all my knowledge about this extraordinary area, as well as an introductory checklist to optimize your home buying process. Download the Tofino & Ucluelet Home Buying Guide and get ready to find your hidden gem of a home.