People of the Sound - Thomas Madokoro

Thomas Hiroshi Madokoro was born in Steveston, BC in 1920. At one point, Steveston was the largest site of settlement for Japanese immigrants to Canada. In the 1870s and 1880s there was a fishing boom in the Fraser River and many moved to fish. When Thomas was a toddler his parents, Kamezo and Ine Madokoro, decided to move the family of five to Clayoquot Sound.

The Madokos weren't the only fishing families to move to Clayoquot Sound in the 1920s. At the time, there were four settlements established by Canadians of Japanese descent in the area: Clayoquot, Eik Landing, West Wing, and Storm Bay (where the Madokoros settled).


Storm Bay, Prior to 1942
Photo courtesy of Ken Gibson Collection. Storm Bay is a little ways up Tofino Inlet from the Crab Dock and before the Co-op gas station.)

Thomas' father died when he was still a child and Johnny Yoshio Madokoro, the eldest brother, returned from Japanese language school in Cumberland to learn to fish and became the principal breadwinner for the family. Thomas studied in Vancouver until returning to the Sound at age 16. He joined the Tofino Troller's Co-op that had been established by Canadian fishermen of Japanese descent and bought his uncle's boat the RM. Thomas trolled from Lennard Island to Hot Springs Cove.

During the Internment period, the RM was confiscated with no re-numeration. All of the interned residents of Clayoqot Sound were sent to Hastings Park in Vancouver to await the next upheaval. Thomas and other men were selected to work on road camps in Ontario. He worked in a variety of jobs during the war period. After the war, BC Packer's convinced a few men who had formerly fished off the west coast of Vancouver Island to return.

Returning to fish in familiar water flooded Thomas with emotions, though he ultimately re-settled his family in Delta, BC. In 2000, after 50 years of fishing, Thomas retired. His children had grown up working on the boat and Thomas passed on his boat Hyson II to his son Darby.

This story is just one of the many stories of Canadians of Japanese descent who fished in the waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island and settled in Clayoquot Sound in the early 1900s. To learn about more stories stay tuned for the launch date of the new Nikkei of Clayoquot Sound exhibit, planned for late February.


  • Fukawa, Masako, ed. Nikkei Fishermen on the BC Coast: Their Biographies and Photographs. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, Ltd., 2007.
  • Horsfield, Margaret and Ian Kennedy. Tofino and Clayoquot Sound: A History. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2014.
  • Madokoro, Thomas. ed. Henry Tanaka. "Good Old Days in Tofino." Changing Tides: Vanishing Voices of NIkkei Fishermen and Their Families. Burnaby, BC: Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, 2017.
  • Madokoro, Thomas. ed. Henry Tanaka. "Luck Followed Me." Changing Tides: Vanishing Voices of NIkkei Fishermen and Their Families. Burnaby, BC: Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, 2017.
  • Madokoro, Yoshio and Quinn Slobodian. An Interview of John Yoshio Madokoro; Port Alberni, BC. #2013.52.1.1-2. Burnaby, BC: Nikkei National Museum, 1999.


People of the Sound - Frank Garrard

Francis (Frank) C. Garrard was born in Broxbourne, Hertforshire, England, August 17, 1863. Before deciding to try his luck at prospecting and homesteading at Nanaimo, British Columbia. In the early 1900s, he visited his country of birth to marry Annie Daves (b. 1889, England) with whom he returned to Nanaimo.

The Garrards moved out to the western coast of Vancouver Island upon Frank's appointment as first lighthouse keeper of the Lennard Island Lighthouse in 1904. In 1901 concerns had been raised that another lighthouse was necessary to span the darkness between Cape Beale and Cape Scott. The infamous Graveyard of the Pacific claimed many ships along the rugged coastline.

Frank was recommended for the job immediately and became the first keeper there. Annie would later become his assistant. His qualifications; having previously sailed around the world six times, and helping wire the telegraph line from Clayoquot to Alberni and Bamfield. His starting salary would be $600 a year, with a $400 raise the next year.

The first duties assumed by the family were cooking for the work crew and helping finish the construction of the light. When assembled the light boasted a 800 lb mercury tub, 5 ton lens that cast light for 16 miles in perfect visibility.

Lennard Lighthouse Under Construction. Photographer: Rev. Stone. Taken 1904.
Photo courtesy Dick Close.

When the Garrards and their children (they ended up having 8 in total: Lilly, Burdett, Noel, Enid, Olive, Ethel, Edward, and Evelyn) moved they rowed out a chest of drawers, 2 sea chests, a sewing machine, a cow, calf, and dog. Their livestock would expand to include goats, ducks, cats, and chickens as well. It could have been quite lonely if not for the animals and the children. The tough lifestyle, isolation, and loss of their son Edward led to the end of the Garrard's stint at Lennard Island in 1908. They first moved to Vargas Island, and then to Tofino where Francis' brother Burdett Garrard was postmaster.

Olive and Noel Garrard. Photo courtesy of Ken Gibson Collection.

Olive and Noel Garrard. Photo courtesy of Ken Gibson Collection.

In 1910 Francis would begin working with the winter life-boat crew. Swiftly he was also charged with relieving his brother at the post office as Telegraph Agent Operator and Postmaster. Annie, Ethel, and Olive worked as assistants at the post office as well. He assisted in lying new cables for the telegraph to areas such as Nootka and Estevan.

Garrard girls in front of Tofino's first telegraph office (Photo courtesy of Ken Gibson Collection)

At the onset of the First World War both sons Noel and Burdett signed up to fight. Noel was one of the first in Tofino to enlist. Both survived the war, though Burdett died shortly after in 1919 of an illness.

Annie and Frank continued to live in Tofino for many years, travelling sometimes to Victoria, Vancouver, and even back to England which they hadn't visited since 1889. Annie died in 1936, Frank in 1942. Many members of the Garrard family are buried on Morpheus Island.


  • Garrard, Francis C. Personal Diaries.
  • Graham, Donald. Keepers of the Light: A History of British Columbia's Lighthouses and their Keepers. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd., 1985.
  • Horsfield, Margaret and Ian Kennedy. Tofino and Clayoquot Sound: A History. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd., 2014.
  • Mason, Adrienne. Long Beach Wild: A Celebration of People and Place on Canada's Rugged Western Shore. Vancouver, BC: Greystone Books, 2012.

Clayoquot Sound Heritage Book of the Month - Living on the Edge

Each month the Tofino Clayoquot Heritage Museum will highlight a book on local history. This month we would like to bring attention to Living on the Edge: Nuu-chah-nulth history from and Ahousaht chief's perspective by Chief Earl Maquinna George, published by Sono Nis Press 2005.

In this short book George intertwines anecdotes from his childhood and adult life at Ahousaht with lessons on Nuu-chah-nulth, and particularly Ahousaht, historical practices and continuing cultural practices and ethos.

Topics range from ethnobotany, local government, hunting and fishing, and more.


This book is available at Mermaid Tales Bookshop in Tofino, and through Vancouver Island Regional Public Library.



Museum Grand Opening!

The Museum is officially open!

The biggest thank you to everyone who helped make this museum happen, and to all who came out to celebrate our opening with us.