"With the wife and 2 kids, there is over $600 in required fees and a lot of bureaucracy to hike the WCT. I have a really hard time swallowing that."
Yeah its pretty nuts. That's the reason I've never done it. The costs for just my wife and I are:
$160 - Shuttle ($80 ea for WCT Express Bus)
$304 - Trail Fees ($127.50 + $24.50 reservation fee per person)
$162 - BC Ferries (Car + 2 people x 2 ways)
TOTAL: $622 not including regular expenses like gas, food etc.
The NCT seems like a nice option. I've been up in Cape Scott and hiked a couple hours down the NCT but I haven't seen the bulk of it. Another option is the Juan de Fuca Trail, which is immediately south of the WCT. It's shorter (40km vs 75) and less remote (although sections seem darn remote), but the scenery is also spectacular and the logistics and costs are far more reasonable. There is a highway that parallels the shore, so shuttling is much quicker. With the WCT the shuttle takes a long circuitous route around the island. I've hiked the JDF twice and both times just hitch hiked it.
Then there's the ultimate trip....starting at Carmanah and combining a walk thru Canada's biggest trees with a WCT excursion. Remote, awesome and nearly free. Also illegal.