Over the past few years I have really started to live my life in a more eco-conscious way. It started in my work life, as a reporter for the Weather Network we have been focused on being leaders in climate change content. As I did more and more stories on how this world is changing due to climate change, I started to realize this should also be a focus in my personal life.
With that in mind I understand travel isn’t the most environmentally friendly activity – planes use a ton of fossil fuels, boats create pollution and noise in the ocean – the list goes on. So to offset my footprint when I do travel, I try to focus on eco-tourism and support local companies that are doing their part to protect the plant.
Recently I had a chance to work alongside Destination B.C. to explore Victoria, with a focus on environmentally friendly activities and so I wanted to share with you how you can enjoy a weekend in Victoria and be eco-conscious at the same time.
Like I mentioned, travel can be counter intuitive when it comes to the idea of sustainability, but thankfully there are a few travel companies in British Columbia that have focused on protecting the environment and taking steps towards reducing their emissions
Victoria is about an hour and a half ferry ride from the Greater Vancouver area and you can feel good knowing that BC Ferries actually works with Fortis B.C. to adopt lower carbon fuels for boats. Over the last few years have introduced several hybrid vessels.
Harbour Air Seaplanes
A short 35 minute flight from right downtown Vancouver to Victoria on Harbour Air isn’t just convenient but it is also environmentally smart. Harbour Air has been fully carbon neutral since 2007 and is also in the process of converting their fleet to electric planes. How cool is that!!
Where to stay
The Inn at Laurel Point
The Inn at Laurel Point has been focused on sustainability for over a decade now. In fact they became carbon neutral back in 2009 with the help of their unique architectural design. The hotel installed a marine cooling system, which pumps ocean water from the nearby harbour through 114 heat pumps for efficient and eco friendly temperature controls. Now trying to figure out the next step in their sustainability plan. Through their Project 2030 plan they are focusing on zero waste practices.
Eco cautious activities in Victoria
Eagle Wing Whale and Wildlife Watching Tours
This tour guarantees a whale spotting – and we were lucky to see a couple of humpbacks as well as eagles, seals, sea lions, and otters, but it is also an environmentally responsible company. Eagle Wing has won several awards for their commitment to sustainability and is the first whale watching company in Canada to be certified platinum with GreenStep Sustainable Tourism.They are 100% carbon neutral giving back to important projects across the province. On top of that, they have worked with several engineers to create fuel efficient and quiet boats – with engines that are designed for low noise and vibration so that they are protected the whales and their habitat as well.
Rent a canoe or kayak
Victoria is a beautiful city located right on the ocean and so exploring the water is a must. I was lucky enough to rent a kayak and travel out to a rock famous for being home to seals. We saw a bunch of adorable pups and the best part is this activity literally emits zero carbon. You can check out Victoria Kayak for rentals and information
Take a sky-high trip to the Malahat Skywalk
This was one of the coolest attractions I have ever done and I loved that it focused on environment and sustainable practices. You are literally walking through nature on a boardwalk that takes you through a coastal forest and then up to a 250m high lookout point with gorgeous 360 views of the ocean. The skywalk was built in partnership wit the Malahat Nation and its focus is to celebrate nature while also making a commitment towards environmental stewardship and sustainability. In fact one of their objectives is to replant native species and protect them from invasive plants.
Stop and smell the flowers at Butchart Garden
No trip to Victoria is complete without a stop at the Butchart Gardens. The beautiful flowers and plants are are a must see – but the botanical garden also has a list of environmental initiatives. They have been focusing on a recycling and compost program as well as non chemical weed control methods.
Grab a drink at a sustainable brewery
The Victoria based Phillips Beer is not just delicious craft beer, but it is also responsibly brewed. Some of their focuses include C02 recapture and water reduction. If you are more of a cider fan, well a Cider Farm & Ciderhouse is a farm based cidery and sources their fruits from their more than 1,300 apple trees.
Eat Sustainably as well at Spinnackers Pub
Spinnakers Gastro Brew Pub is not just one of Canada’s oldest brew pubs but it has also been doing farm to table for over 30 years. The pub has partnered with dozens of local farmers and focuses on serving local foods year round.
So there you have it, there are definitely ways to travel and explore while also taking care of the planet (and that way we will be able to explore it for much longer).
I hope this will be an inspiration to focus more on sustainable tourism this year,
Happy and safe travels my friends,