Sustainability at Voyageur Quest
Voyageur Quest operates with the cornerstone intention for our guests to experience the essence of the natural world. To witness the beauty of unspoilt wilderness, to learn, to restore ourselves through activity. To share the wonder of discovery, and beauty of experience with enthusiastic guests. Voyageur Quest does this in an environmentally ethical and sustainable fashion.
The personal benefits of experiencing the beauty of Algonquin Park do not come at the expense of the very environment we so cherish. In contrast, a visit to the Algonquin Log Cabin or Algonquin Cottage Outpost, and the facilities presence, offer a net benefit to society through the engendearment of understanding our collective role in our natural environment. Our operations are a positive force by sustainably strengthening local communities and regional economies, with our consumption streamlined and minimized whenever possible. Voyageur Quest does not sit still, but rather continues to strive for improvement. The effort to improve on our sustainability is constant…New directions and methods are continuously sought out and our ‘modus operandi’ continually questioned, not complacently accepted as The Way.
Our Green Traditions. Environmental and social ethics and sustainability have been guiding principles throughout our close to two decades of operation. Since Voyageur Quest began in the 1991 our focus has been on experiential learning and rejuvenation through activity. The programme has been sought to be in-tune with the natural environment we visit and live in.
We are based around ‘Self Powered’ and ‘Naturally Powered’ outdoor-adventure experiences. Our broad base of programmes is comprised of unique and creative experiential trips into the wilderness. In the summer and autumn months we share the wonder of Algonquin Park with many participants through guided custom canoe trips.
In accordance with Algonquin’s regulations, group size is limited to eight, enabling a group to travel and camp with a light footprint/impact on the beauty and resources of the Park. The Guides are professional and experienced in their profession, being knowledgeable about local Flora and Fauna, natural and human history- offering informative insight providing local context on the Park, the surrounding area and all its inhabitants.
In the winter we provide winter camping experiences. Travelling by ski and snowshoe and incorporating a traditional wall-tent, we demonstrate long-term viability of traditional lifestyles and travelling methods. Even when staying at the comfortable and rustic Algonquin Log Cabin or Cottage Outpost, our goal is be out of doors.
Our situation at the North West corner of Algonquin Park is/was deliberate. It is far from the busier Highway 60 Algonquin experience, and from Toronto. This isolation contributes to the genuine experience, with the Algonquin Log Cabin and Algonquin Cottage Outpost being surrounded by a vast tract of Crown Land. We are on the Shield, so it is a representative Canadian experience, with the forest and geographic features undergoing several shifts during the journey from Southern Ontario. Our relatively high elevation and latitude means we are home to reliable snow conditions throughout the winter. While winter may be disappearing from the Toronto experience, it is very much alive and well at the Algonquin Log Cabin and Algonquin Cottage Outpost.
Getting to and from wilderness destinations has proven to be considerable challenge for those without personal transportation. We seek to eliminate this obstacle that has traditionally stood in the way of conscientious urbanites from getting out into the countryside and experiencing Canada’s wilderness. Also, we are pleased to say that a considerable percentage of our guests take advantage of our dedicated shuttle service from Toronto, take the Ontario Northlander train service leaving from Union Station in Toronto, or carpool. This goes a long way to reducing the carbon footprint of the most impactful element of the Voyageur Quest experience, the transportation to and from the stay.
As Voyageur Quest came of age and looked for a home we built the Algonquin Log Cabin, a ‘purpose specific’ building designed for us to carry out our wilderness adventures in rustic style. We are off the grid, avoiding unnecessary amenities, with a rustic unpolished appearance…. it was built a decade ago with what now seems to be considerable prescience, having employed progressive sustainable building practices. A local builder was employed, and locally sourced materials were used, with red pine and spruce from the region used in the construction. The rustic feel and sense of place, that this has engendered continues to be a source of pride and a defining characteristic of the Cabin.
We are off the grid, and heated by wood stoves. And the kitchen and lighting runs on propane. Our water needs are met by our well, and our waste water goes to our septic system. Our two toilets are ‘low-flow’. In the summer outhouse use is more common. We run our generator once a week to pump water from the well, to an interior holding tank, thereafter utilising gravity fed toilets and hand pumps.
Our newer facilities, The Algonquin Outpost is a small lake-side cottage facility that runs on solar power and provides guest with a more comfort-conscious venue from which to stage their self-catered and unguided excursions from.
Voyageur Quest has been operating nature – orineted adventuress the same way since 1991… before the “Eco”trend. In 1994 an industry critic considered our product, a three-day or four-day canoe trip into Algonquin Park too extreme, and while admiring Voyageur Quest’s attitude, predicting that it wouldn’t appeal to customers at large. VQ’s ‘Adventures for the Inquisitive Spirit’ have since proven to be very popular, tapping into a then unproven desire of travellers for something unique and genuine. We are now market leaders in responsible and sustainable wilderness experiences in North West Algonquin.
With the desire to build on the base of this popular demand and long-time success in delivering sustainable adventure, the company continues to move forward. It is the cornerstone of our Green Policy that the evolution towards an ever more sustainable and progressive model is continuous. It is our belief that we must continue to identify areas we can improve, and to make concerted efforts at progress in those directions. Setting ambitious, attainable goals is important. We believe that in striving to attain those goals we are also improving the business. It is a core belief that further integrating our operations into the local and natural economy, and by improving our environmental standards, we are also improving the quality of our product and the quality of the experience.