Green Key Program
Not so long ago, being green was a fringe movement.
Here in British Columbia, living in touch with nature has always been a way of life for many of us; we can’t help but be inspired by towering ancient forests, dramatic coastlines, and glaciers throughout this province. So when eco-friendliness and the concept of being green first became de rigueur a couple of years ago, we said “Well, naturally!” After all, this is home to Greenpeace, Clayoquot Sound and the 100 Mile Diet. We’re glad the word is out.
Becoming a Green Hotel
When the McDiarmid family was preparing to build the Inn on over 100 acres of oceanfront property, their wish was to preserve the beauty and natural integrity of this amazing site as much as possible and build a green hotel. On-site trees were surveyed to assist in the placement of the structures and much of the natural underbrush was hand-cleared by Charles and his brother Bruce to ensure all vegetation outside the building envelope would be left in its pristine state. The Western Red Cedars and Sitka Spruce trees that had to be removed … now form the textured walls of the Wickaninnish-on-the-Beach lobby, Driftwood Café and Lookout Library. The overall positioning of the Pointe building was even adjusted a few feet to protect the root mat of a particularly splendid Krumholtz Cedar tree which still stands today just to the East side of the Inn's Pointe Restaurant ; you can also see this tree from rooms 216, 217, 316 and 317.
Douglas Fir reclaimed from Saint Anne’s Academy in Victoria was used to construct guest room furniture and the liners and trim at every door and window. On your next visit, just look for the tiny nail marks and occasional bolt hole which reveal the character and history of this special wood. Even the Inn’s unassuming exterior colour was envisioned to replicate the tone of weathered cedar – assimilating itself as seamlessly as possible into the surrounding natural setting.
These days, we find ourselves being asked about the Inn’s eco-friendliness. Rather than post a list of what we do (bo-ring!), here are some green hotel fun facts we think will interest you:
Escaping the city to take a deep breath or two?
We have been a 100% non-smoking property from day one in 1996, ahhh…
Love a great meal?
So do we. And we love that so much of our produce, seafood and meat has always been sourced locally from Vancouver Island and greater B.C. – from chanterelles to berries to Salmon, Dungeness Crab, and more.
Enjoy being pampered?
Love your body, love the Earth. Our Ancient Cedars Spa employs high-quality, contemporary spa products that embody the ultimate relationship of luxury and ecological responsibility: elegant Comfort Zone, developed in Parma, Italy, is certified through the Aromasol Lifegate Zero Impact Project. Nutrient-rich seaweed, sustainably hand-harvested off the coast of our own Vancouver Island, is transformed into certified organic SeaFlora Skincare, and our plant-based AVEDA hair-care products are from a company that pioneered environmentalism for the aestheics industry.
Are you an avid composter or a curious novice?
After that dinner, stroll to our parking lot and venture into what looks like a cedar gazebo but is in fact our multi-unit composter, the Worminator™, housing some very happy worms.
In 2006, we retro-fitted with super high-efficiency Viessmann boilers, significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Wondering how to get around?
In 2012 we installed a CS-100 electric vehicle charger, and welcomed some of our first fully electrical vehicles to the Inn! Guests holding a valid Canadian driver's licence are invited to explore the Pacific Rim Region with less impact in our onsite Lexus Hybrid RX450h.
It’s also about community action for us.
You may have cycled the Tofino Multi-Use Path on one of our Beach Cruisers. Starting in 2008, we led our first Earth Day clean-up of this popular corridor. Our annual golf tournament has raised over $70,000.00 for the local high school’s athletics programs, and we contribute funds and time to operate various not-for-profit festivals in Tofino.
And What’s this we hear about UNESCO?
That’s right, Clayoquot Sound was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations in 2000. This essentially means that the area, spanning 864,734 acres and including Tofino and its beaches, is viewed as a living laboratory for people and nature where an exchange of ideas about conservation and sustainability is practiced and encouraged. This designation is largely symbolic but serves as a reminder to all of us living and visiting Tofino that it is indeed a rare mix of ecosystems – mainly temperate coastal rainforest, ocean, and rocky coastal shores - worthy of respect.
On that note, rest assured that our Green Team of volunteers from every Inn department is always seeking out new ways of carrying forward the legacy of respect founded by the McDiarmid family’s vision - and those first cedar planks laid in 1995.