Being sustainable was never a fringe movement for us. Inspired by the towering trees and pristine coastline here, eco-friendliness is simply a way of appreciating and caring for where we live; this mindfulness is something you may sense during your time here, too.
Becoming a Sustainable 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. 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 from the textured walls of the Wickaninnish-on-the-Beach lobby, Driftwood Café and Lookout Library.
Douglas Fir reclaimed from St. Ann’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—integrating itself as seamlessly as possible into the surrounding natural setting.
We are often asked about the Inn's environmental standards or rating programs we are a part of, such as Green Key Canada, Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Business or Sustainable Tourism Global. Here are some sustainable 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.
- Love a great meal?
So do we. And we love that so much of our produce, seafood and meat have 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 uses high-quality spa products that employ ecologically responsible practices. Elegant Comfort Zone, developed in Parma, Italy, is certified through the Lifegate Zero Impact Project. Nutrient-rich seaweed, sustainably hand-harvested off our coast on Vancouver Island, is transformed into certified organic SeaFlora Skincare. Sangre de Fruta sources the highest quality ingredients from family-owned farms for their plant-based potions. Pure helichrysum and lavender oils, as well as hand-harvested Pacific Ocean sea salt, originate from Salt Spring Island. Essential oil is distilled from off-cuts of cedar greens, which would otherwise be wasted from the logging industry, and is used in their signature blend, Garden of Earthly Delights.
- Speaking of amenities...
Being a Soap For Hope Canada hotel partner program helps us repurpose unused soaps, shampoos, conditioners and linen while helping improve the quality of life for vulnerable local communities and around the world.
- Are you an avid composter or a curious novice?
Most fruit and vegetable waste from The Pointe Restaurant and Driftwood Café is sent to our on-site compost.
- Mechanically inclined?
In 2006, we retrofitted 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 electric vehicles to the Inn! In 2022, five Porsche Mobile Chargers with a universal J1772 connector were installed on the property. We also offer two Tesla-specific chargers on-site.
- 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 $120,000 for the local high school's athletics programs, and we contribute funds and time to operate various not-for-profit festivals in Tofino. Our Surfrider Sessions Gala Dinners held in March helped raise over $60,000 for our local Pacific Rim Surfrider Foundation since 2018 (more to come!). In 2021, the hospitality community formed the West Coast Hospitality Association (WCHA). The WCHA is a member-based, not-for-profit organization committed to our region's environmental, social and economic well-being. As of January 2023, we and other Association members have implemented a 1% Sustainability fee for all tourism overnight accommodation bookings.
- Heard a rumour about UNESCO?
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.
A natural part of living in Clayoquot Sound
Our location allows us to attract like-minded individuals passionate about furthering our efforts toward environmental and community sustainability. Our Wickaninnish Sustainability Committee holds monthly meetings to share ideas and identify best practices for employees and the Inn. Rest assured that our Sustainability 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.