nature, Learning & Education

We developed the Ecolodge to offer visitors to Tofino the kind of accommodation they would expect in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – a place for enjoying nature, learning, and education.
Thus, we welcome teachers, students and individuals of all walks of life and provide access to the gardens with each stay in one of our rooms. Educational opportunities abound for all ages on the property, and we can help arrange visits for a variety of group sizes and interests. The property is located midway between the village of Tofino and Chesterman’s Beach, about a thirty-minute walk either way. We encourage bike rentals as your number one mode of transport in Tofino, and provide a covered bike shelter for dry storage.

"...we welcome teachers, students and individuals of all walks of life"

What We Strive For

We strive to improve our performance each year in four major areas: energy efficiency, protecting the natural environment, conservation of natural resources, and support of our local community. All of this, of course, is in the context of providing our guests with a very comfortable and convivial experience.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency begins with our building, which is thoroughly insulated, has double glazed windows and uses individual thermostats for each room. Most lighting is by way of LED compact bulbs. Our electricity comes from hydroelectric projects throughout BC, but most recently from a Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations micro-hydro project located on Canoe Creek about thirty miles from Tofino. Our lodge has no TVs, to reduce energy use, but has an excellent bookshelf and common areas for activities, and we encourage you to spend time outside in this pristine natural environment.

Protection Of The Environment

Protection of the environment begins in the garden, which is thoroughly organic. We have never used chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. All kitchen waste is composted in bins that are part of our public education programs. Herbs and greens from the garden are available for guests to use in the kitchen and are used in our own Darwin’s Café. Native plants comprise more than ninety-eight percent of the biomass on our twelve-acre property.

Sustainability Actions

  • All cleaning supplies in the lodge are non-toxic and biodegradable.
  • We have policies against the use of plastic cutlery and bottled water and provide reusable shopping bags supplied by Surfrider Stitch ‘n Beach program which is run in the Ecolodge classroom in kind.
  • We encourage sensible use of linens and towels and are converting to 100% cotton sheets and GOTS certified organic cotton towels.
  • The Ecolodge has installed Lint Luv-R filters to our washing machines to reduce micro-plastics entering our waterways.
  • Recycling is a participatory activity at the lodge.
    We adjust staff schedules to allow and encourage our team to volunteer for other organisations with similar ideals.
  • The Ecolodge and Darwin’s Cafe participate in the Surfrider Ocean Friendly Business Campaign working towards improving our sustainability efforts and reviewing our practices on a regular basis. And our kitchens have ‘Green’ status with Vancouver Island Green Business Collective.
Our water conservation program includes dual flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and a water catchment gutter system which provides rainwater for gardening and other outdoor uses.

Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve

Tofino Botanical Gardens is a local organization and has been involved in the community since its founding in 1997. George Patterson served as a director of the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust for the first five years of the CBT’s existence.

George Patterson, who created the gardens was a co-founder in 1991 of the Clayoquot Biosphere Project and has been involved in efforts to encourage research and educational activities in the area for more than twenty years.

Support of Indigenous Communities

Tofino Botanical Gardens is involved in several initiatives addressing indigenous peoples’ governance and economic development. We are an active supporter of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations Tribal Park Allies.

In May of 2010, we co-hosted the 12th Biennial Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology – an organization devoted to the conservation of biocultural diversity. More than 350 participants from 55 different countries attended the week-long event. We still have returning visitors from the event!

Field Station for research and education

The Ecolodge’s history as The Clayoquot Field Station for research and education programs demonstrates its commitment to increasing knowledge and understanding of the area.

We continue to host study groups, conversations, and retreats on a broad range of subjects. Philosopher’s Retreats, Sustainability Camps, yoga retreats and photography workshops, Master Gardening courses, family groups, weddings, reunions, and more – the central theme coming out of all these diverse topics and activities:

How do we live in a place without diminishing it?

Non-profits In The Ecolodge

We are proud to support, work with and house other non-profit organizations that are doing an incredible job in Tofino and we are thrilled to be able to house them on their journey to realize their visions.
Raincoast Education Society

Raincoast Education Society

Our mission is to shape an environmentally sustainable future for the Clayoquot and Barkley Sound region through education and community stewardship.

Surfrider Pacific Rim

Surfrider Pacific Rim

Our mission is to protect our oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.

Strawberry Isle

Strawberry Isle

A group of dedicated naturalists living and working on the waters of west coast Vancouver Island BC, conducting primary research and monitoring of various marine ecosystems in Clayoquot Sound.