The Ucluth Peninsula has a significant First Nations history, inhabited by the Yuu-tluth-aht Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ (Nootka) people for thousands of years. The Yuu-tluth-aht Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ have stories and legends about living in the Ucluelet area dating back as far as 4,300+ years ago. One of Nuu-chah-nulth’s primary teachings is ‘Hishuk ish is’ awalk’ or ‘Everything is one.’ The land and the sea gave them food and supported their livelihood and culture and we continue to honour that spirit here today.
European explorers first set foot in the Ucluelet area in the late 1770s returning as traders to pursue maritime fur trading, sealing, and whaling. Among the first documented European settlers in Ucluelet were George Fraser, a world-renowned Scottish Horticulturalist, arriving in 1894. In 1892, George Fraser acquired lot 21 in the Clayoquot District, comprising 236 acres on Ucluth Peninsula. When Fraser arrived, descendants have noted approximately five additional European families residing along the Ucluth Peninsula, inhabited alongside the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ people. Two notable settlers were William and James Sutton, who operated a sawmill and general store. The turn of the 20th century brought the development of a commercial logging and fishing industry. Japanese fishers [from Steveston, BC] started settling in Ucluelet around 1920.
By the 1950s forestry started to dominate life on the coast. For close to 40 years, forestry provided many families in Ucluelet with a solid income.
Historically, and continuing today, commercial logging and fishing play a part in Ucluelet’s economy. Ucluelet remains one of Canada’s largest ground fishing ports; where you find an abundance of salmon, halibut, cod, and herring.