Global wave energy inventories have shown that the West Coast of Canada possesses one of the most energetic wave climates in the world, with average annual wave energy transports of 40-50 kW/m occurring at the continental shelf. With this energetic climate there is an opportunity to generate significant quantities of electricity from renewable source through the use of wave energy conversion (WEC) technologies. However, a highly detailed, a priori understanding of both the temporal and spatial distribution of wave characteristics is paramount to the sustainable development of the wave energy opportunity in Western Canada. Such resource characterization informs on-going marine resource planning, educates policy advisors, and helps drive design studies of optimum WEC device physical sizing, PTO design and predicted annual power production. To quantify the gross wave energy resource along the west coast of Vancouver Island, and hence the feasibility of deploying wave energy conversion technologies, a detailed Simulating WAves Nearshore (SWAN) numerical wave propagation model was developed. The SWAN model encompasses 410 000km2 and covers 1500 km of the western Canadian coastline. The unstructured computational grid contains over 60 000 nodes and resolution is optimized by water depth and proximity to areas of high wave energy transport. The SWAN model hindcasts wave conditions along the West Coast for the 10 year period from 2004 to 2013, at a 3 hour time resolution over all 60 000 nodes. Independent validation of the SWAN model indicates a 0.92 correlation coefficient for significant wave heights and 0.80 for average wave periods. The validated results from this hindcast model have enabled the characterization of the wave climate on the West Coast of Coast of Canada at an unprecedented level of detail. By analysing the gross wave resource data the data through the lens of optimum WEC operating conditions, novel methods allow for the filtering of the wave resource database to identify high priority WEC farm deployment locations. Using generic WEC performance metrics, theoretical wave farm outputs can be synthesized over a multiple year time scale. These theoretical wave farm power predictions are of paramount importance to both electrical utilities and policy makers. Armed with quantitative measures for future wave power plants, utilities will be able to determine the ability for the current electrical grid accept this renewable source of power, while policy developers will finally be able to bring clarity to the actual power producing potential for WEC farms. Finally, this new understanding of the wave climate provides a more complete picture of the opportunity for WEC development in the region and will act as an industry enabler by providing developers access to detailed, validated wave data up-front without the need for significant investment.