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  • Meg Cuthbert

Canso 11007 Plane Crash: Tofino BC

Tofino Canso Bomber

On February 10th, 1945 a Canso 11007 Royal Canadian Airforce bomber with twelve crew members onboard crashed into trees due to an engine malfunction. The aircraft was loaded with 3,400 litres of fuel and four 100 kilogram depth charges. Miraculously all 12 crew members survived and were rescued 11 hours later.

The plane still rests in the Pacific Rim National Park just south of Radar Hill and Tofino; it is perched on a hill will its tail sticking out over the trees and bog below. Although parts have been pilfered and it has been tagged with spray paint, the plane is still in relatively good shape.

The trailhead is unmarked and has no parking lot. Parking is not permitted on the highway so you’ll have to park your car at Radar Hill and walk back 15 telephone poles to where the gravel path meets the highway. You’ll see it, just don’t lose count.

The trail starts out pretty easy, a nice wide gravel path leading to an abandoned building. It may have been a WWII Radar Station — there are runners in the floor where cables may have been (I could be completely wrong). This concrete building has been tagged and partied in for decades and has a certain creepy factor that WWII remnants usually hold (water drips echoing from unknown locations, soft spots in the floor, etc). Walk through or around this creepy station and take the small winding trail leading down to the bog.

Tofino Canso Bomber

Ok the bog, don’t underestimate the bog. It is wet muskeg that will eat your shoes and can swallow you to your hips if you let it. Follow the signage and the rope through the marsh maze. I was not prepared for the bog and had not done my research. Daniel was a little peeved that I hadn’t warned him about the swampy mess but endured it with minor grumbles about reading directions.

Because of this section I would leave small children and dogs behind. Take your time in the bog, every time you think it’s over it isn’t.

After a good long time in the bog you’ll reach a small, almost perfectly circular, pond. This is where they detonated the depth charges instead of hauling them out through the bog (once you get to this stage of the hike you’ll understand why they didn’t want to carry them out). The plane is just beyond the pond.

Tofino Canso Bomber

Tofino Canso Bomber

Behold the plane. You can venture on top and inside at your own risk, parts of the floor and ceiling have holes and weak spots. Watch wear you step. Climb up past the plane for a good vantage point of the entire wreck. For me these old remains are very chilling, even though everyone survived it’s still a reminder of how quickly things can change. I found myself whispering around it for no reason.

Tofino Canso Bomber

It’s a relic of Canada’s wartime history, treat it right and leave it how you found it so others can experience this piece of history.

Then enjoy your hike out through the bog.

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