Tofino Plane Crash – Canso Crash Site

Canso Crash Site

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After my first visit to Tofino , I heard about this hike and decided I had to check it out and it did not disappoint. The Canso Crash Site Trail leads to the site of the Royal Canadian Air Force Canso 11007 that crashed on February, 1945. There were 12 crew members on board when the plane crashed along with 3,400 L of fuel and 4-100kg depth charges. Shortly after taking off, the plane malfunctioned and the port engine lost power. Due to the quick thinking of the pilot, Ron Scholes, all 12 crew members survived the crash. Ron Scholes managed to slow the descent of the plane by stalling it, allowing the plane to crash into the trees while falling 300 metres per minute.

11 hours following the crash, crew members were finally rescued after launching a flare a distance away from the crash site. The crew had lost radio contact with the base following the crash and due to the fuel leaking from the wreckage, they were unable to deploy a flare. To make it through the night, crew members used their parachutes as shelter. The army then detonated the depth charges which created a 6 metre crater that exists today.


Canso Crash Site Trail

The Canso Crash Site Trail is located in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It is considered a moderate hike due to the terrain. The hike is 5.1km with an elevation gain of 134 metres. I parked my vehicle where you purchase a park permit on Radar Hill Road just off the Pacific Rim Hwy. I then walked north towards the pacific rim hwy where I accessed the bike trail and headed east. The trail head was quite obvious to me although it was not marked. On the bike trail, there is a T intersection sign and when you look to your right, there is an obvious trail. The trail head was approximately 1km from where I had parked my car.

The first portion of the trail is wide and quite an easy walk. Later on, the trail does get more difficult with uneven terrain and mud. On the way to the plane there is also an abandoned building covered in graffiti. The most difficult portion of the hike is right when you are by the plane. It is the most muddy portion and you will have to climb over downed trees.

All in all, I say it was well worth it and it was an incredible sight to see!


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