Minimize your impact at these 5 eco-friendly lodges

Algonquin Eco-Lodge

If you’re both a cottager and an environmentalist, sometimes it can be tough to enjoy being the former without worrying about going against the ideals of the latter. For those who worry about the carbon footprint they leave while spending time in nature—and that should be all of us—consider staying at one of these eco-friendly lodges, from rustic to luxurious, to maximize your downtime while also minimizing your impact on the environment.

Algonquin Eco-Lodge, Ontario 

This rustic and remote lodge located on the southern border of Algonquin Park holds up to 34 guests with 17 private bedrooms. It offers activities such as canoeing and horseback riding in the summer and cross-country skiing and dog sledding in the winter. Since the lodge occupies a secluded area of the park, it runs completely off-grid. Yes, that means no internet or phone access, so expect a full digital detox if you come here. But not to worry: the entire place runs on alternative energy (a nearby waterfall creates micro-hydro electricity), so you can still enjoy indoor plumbing, a hot shower, an outdoor wood-fired sauna, and the only carbon-neutral hot tub in Southern Ontario. More info: Algonquin Eco-Lodge

Forest House Wilderness Lodge, Saskatchewan

Situated in the centre of the McLennan Lake area in Northern Saskatchewan, about 150 kilometres north of Lac La Ronge, the Forest House Wilderness Lodge can host up to 12 guests at a time. The main lodge and two cabins are set on precambrian rock, overlooking the water. Everything here has been carefully constructed so that it will have minimal impact on its surrounding boreal forest eco-system. Lumber harvested from the local forest was used to build the facilities, banks of solar collectors are used to generate power, and there is even a self-composting septic system. Everything that can be composted goes into the organic garden, which is later harvested and used in the meals served here. More info: Forest House Wilderness Lodge

Aurum Lodge, Alberta

Aurum Lodge calls itself “an award-winning eco-tourism country inn,” and it has a Pollution Prevention Award from the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to prove it. Set in the eastern front ranges of the Canadian Rockies overlooking Abraham Lake, the lodge is also the only property that has a top five leaf rating from the Audubon Green Leaf Eco-Rating Programme. The retreat has a comprehensive plan for environmental sustainability in its design and operations, which include the use of solar panels, composting toilets, and environmentally friendly products. It also turns away potential partnerships considered detrimental to the ecology of the area (i.e., off-roading and heli-touring). Guests can choose to stay in a B&B lodge or self-contained units with kitchens if they wish to cook for themselves. More info: Aurum Lodge

Nipika Mountain Resort, British Columbia

A pet-friendly eco-resort in the heart of the Rockies right next to Kootenay National Park, Nipika offers a variety of log cabins for guests to choose from, including a Rocky Mountain Cabin that accommodates up to 13 guests. All of the resort’s electricity is generated through solar power and most of its heating needs are met by burning locally salvaged dead wood in a central boiler. The buildings and much of Nipika’s furniture were built on-site from local trees that were victims of mountain pine beetles. Here, a hundred kilometres’-worth of scenic trails wait to be explored, ripe for cross-country skiing, mountain biking or hiking. All of the necessary equipment for these activities is available for rent if you forget anything at home. More info: Nipika Mountain Resort

Trout Point Lodge, Nova Scotia

Named one of the world’s top 10 eco-lodges by USA Today, Trout Point Lodge is located in the Tobeatic Wilderness of Southwestern Nova Scotia, 40 minutes away from the Yarmouth International Ferry Terminal. This five-story luxury hotel, best described as “rustic luxe,” has accumulated a ton of green accolades, which include a “5 Green Key” rating from the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, a Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award, and recognition from the National Geographic Society for its sustainable tourism practices. Examples of those practices include the use of grey water and waste to feed vegetable, herb and flower gardens, as well as the choice to use bulk instead of single-use containers to dispense top-quality amenities in order to reduce waste. The property can accommodate up to 34 guests in its fully tricked out main lodge, chalet, and pair of lakeside cottages. More info: Trout Point Lodge