Grad student intro Part I: Bamfield Businesses

by Nicole Webster and Kat Anderson

Credit: N Webster

This is the first of a multi-part series intended to help new graduate students (or anyone) know what’s what in Bamfield so they can be better prepared. Here we discuss the businesses of Bamfield, and some of their quirks.

This is also a permanent link under resources for long-term use. With that in mind, if you have ANY suggestions, updates, or corrections, please let us know!

Bamfield Bussinesses

While Bamfield is remote, it is by no means the most isolated field station one might find themselves at. The town has many basic amenities, particularly if you are here during the right season. You just have to know where to look.

The East Side– “car accessible”

A) Bamfield Builders Supply/Hardware – Also known as Bob’s – 250 728 3419  – Sells most general hardware items, and will order in anything you like to arrive on the next boat.

B) Breaker’s Marine – Sells marine equipment, boats, fishing gear, camping gear, and will fix your inevitable flat tire. (We have both personally been there to get a flat fixed, they were awesome.)

C) Tides and Trails Market & Cafe – 250-728-2000 –otherwise known as T&T or the east store. Sells both dried and fresh goods, as well as alcohol, and has the best wine selection.  A restaurant is attached, with variable hours, and only serves dinner during the peak season. Availability of items is patchy, check expiry dates, and expect a Bamfield markup. There is an ATM here- no bank machines in Bamfield.

D) Hawk’s Nest Pub – 250-728-3422 – The only pub in Bamfield, open most nights during the high season (July-Aug), and sporadically otherwise. They have free pool, darts, and Foosball tables, and serve some food and of course alcohol. They also have an ATM and a gorgeous fireplace. At the moment they are open nightly, but you never know when that might change.

E) Bamfield Health Center – A nurse is available for non-emergency medical services and basic prescriptions here. This is also where you can book an appointment with the fly-in Doctor who comes in irregularly. For more serious concerns, the nearest hospital is in Port Alberni. Please contact the safety officer (, 250 728 3301 ext 222) to report any injuries or sicknesses while at the BMSC and for further information about health care and emergency resources in Bamfield.

East Bamfield locations. Warning, many locations listed in Google maps are incorrect. Edited from Google maps

The West SideBoat Access ONLY

F) Bamfield General Store – Good supply of dried and fresh foods, excellent beer selection, generally the favorite grocery store among graduate students and researchers. They will give cash back. Availability of items is patchy and expect a Bamfield markup. During the summer they also have amazing ice cream cones!

G) Post office – Patchy hours, most of your mailing needs can be dealt through Shirley in the main office.

H) Boardwalk Bistro – 250-728-3419 – South end of the boardwalk – open mid afternoon on weekends during peak season, serves burgers and drinks. Coffee shop style “open mics” are often held there on Sundays; Do you play an instrument? Cash Only.

Docks – There are three docks visible across the inlet from Bamfield.

  • Coast guard dock – no parking!
  • Government Dock – Free day parking if there’s space, pull canoes and kayaks out of the water.
  • Store dock – the outer white region is for store trips only. The red painted region is private reserved parking.

View of the west side from BMSC Credit: N Webster


Gas – The nearest gas station is in Anacla, the neighboring Huu-ay-aht First Nations Town

Water Taxis – Two taxi services: $5/crossing, available mostly anytime – both will take you to other locations around Bamfield and Barkley Sound.

  • Paradise Taxi (small yellow boat)
  • Bamfield Express Water Taxi (250-728-3001)

Accommodation – There are several bed and breakfast places – on both sides of the inlet, as well as the Hawk’s Nest Motel. There is also a campground at Pachena, and several sport fishing lodges. All depends on what you are looking for.

Special note- Phone numbers:

  • Local: Although they are listed here in their entirety, you will often only get a 4 digit number. All Bamfield numbers start with 250-728-xxxx.
  • BMSC: The BMSC phone system is internal, and so there are 3 digit extensions, when called from a BMSC phone – only the extension is required, otherwise you dial (250) 728-3301 then enter the extension.

If you made it this far, a quick reminder that we would appreciate your info to add to this, and further updates in the series. Thanks!

How it’s possible to eat sushi in Bamfield

Amanda loves tide poolsby Amanda Kahn

So you’ve decided to come to Bamfield.  You’re out here, delving into your research, working in the field, when suddenly, a craving strikes!  Wouldn’t sushi be delicious right now?  Then another realization strikes: there isn’t a sushi restaurant within an hour’s drive of Bamfield.  Or many other restaurants, for that matter.  What are you going to do?


Yeah, not going to happen.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do.  First and foremost, the people at BMSC are superbly creative, capable folks who can do science AND know how to roll sushi!  Well, some must know how to make sushi.  Chances are high that asking around will find you someone who has a sushi roller, someone else with sticky rice, nori, wasabi, or pickled ginger.  So, evening dinner party it is!

Tides and Trails Market

Catch the morning low tide, revive with a warm coffee or an ice cream. Credit: A Kahn 2012.

If you can’t find anyone with yams and you really want to make some yam tempura to go along with your sushi, you’ll have to head to one of the two stores in town.  On the east side of town (the same side as the marine station, and accessible by car or walking from the station) is the Tides and Trails Market.  This market stocks a small selection of fruits and vegetables, dairy, dry goods like pastas, rice, and even rice noodles, themed sections with a variety of diverse foods–including soy sauce for your sushi.  There is also a freezer with a few different types of meat, pizzas, raviolis, frozen veggies, juices, and sometimes ice cream.  A special ice cream freezer also has treats like ice cream sandwiches and ice cream bars.  There is also a candy counter and a variety of warm baked goods.

Bamfield General Store

The ramp leading down to the dock is where boats tie up to go to the store. Credit: A Kahn 2012

On the west side of town, accessible from the marine station only by boat, is the Bamfield General Store.  The General Store has a larger selection of fruits and vegetables, dairy section, more frozen veggies and meats, tasty imported chocolates, plenty of dry goods, and an ice cream section that serves huge scoops of ice cream on waffle cones.  On hot days, locals sit outside the general store with their ice cream cones.

A couple of other options for those hard-to-find or specific items: one is to ask someone when they’re driving in from town and if they can pick up some groceries for you in Port Alberni.  Another is to make a big order from Safeway, which costs a bit extra but will ship in the order on the Francis Barkley, which comes into Bamfield three times a week.  Finally, you could catch a ride out to Port Alberni, at the end of the logging road, to visit a sushi restaurant there.

So, in spite of being at a remote field station, there are ways–many ways!–to enjoy sushi or whatever else strikes your fancy.  Doing so just requires a bit of creativity and ingenuity.