Member Spotlight: Elmhirst’s Resort

Located on the shores of Rice Lake, Elmhirst’s Resort is a family-owned and operated cottage resort, conference centre, spa and wedding venue offering guests an authentic Canadian experience. Elmhirst’s Resort is certified Platinum with GreenStep Sustainable Tourism. Continue reading to learn more about their journey towards sustainability:

Tell us a bit about your business. What makes you different?

Elmhirst’s Resort offers an authentic cottage resort retreat on the north shore of Rice Lake, Ontario, 90 minutes east of Toronto. Open year-round, the resort has a collection of 30 housekeeping cottages, two restaurants, full service Spa, fitness centre and pools, conference and wedding facilities, boat rentals and docking, runway and air service. The 240-acre resort is a mixture of waterfront, working farmland, gardens, woodlands and natural landscapes. As a fifth generation family-run business, Elmhirst’s is unique in its location, setting, farm-to-table offerings and local down-to-earth experience that they offer their guests.

Why is sustainability important to you/your business?

The Elmhirst Family, who operate the resort and live onsite, are the fifth generation of Elmhirst’s to operate the farm and are thankful for what has been passed down to them. For the deep roots of tradition it has provided, and for the connection to place and community that has been entrusted to our care. The property is the cornerstone of the Elmhirst’s Resort experience, and they are committed to preserving it. Toward that end, they pride themselves on environmental sustainability. In every aspect of the operation, the Elmhirst’s family and staff strive to use resources respectfully and are always looking for new ways to ensure the land’s continued majesty.

Photo of Greg Elmhirst, General Manager

Why did you join GreenStep Sustainable Tourism?

“Sustainability has always been an important part of the way Elmhirst’s Resort conducts its business activities. The Sustainable Tourism 2030 certification validated much of our work so far but highlighted some important next steps. Applying a clearer focus to measuring key energy, environmental and social impacts, setting goals to sustain consistent improvement, and getting everyone involved on both sides of our guest relationships will amplify our work already. The changes caused by the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 pandemic created an opportunity to look at Elmhirst’s Resort in new ways and implement new solutions” said Greg Elmhirst, General Manager. We are proud to share some success stories that demonstrate our sustainability efforts in action. For instance, our water and energy conservation initiatives have led to significant reductions in consumption. Additionally, our collaboration with sustainable suppliers has enabled us to provide high-quality products and services while minimizing our environmental footprint. Looking ahead, we have exciting initiatives planned, including an interactive nature conservation program for our guests. By offering educational opportunities and hands-on experiences, we aim to foster a deeper appreciation for our natural surroundings.

What sustainability related projects, policies or initiatives do you most want travelers to know about?

Achieving Platinum certification with Greenstep Sustainable Tourism is not just a badge of honour; it directly benefits our customers. By choosing Elmhirst’s Resort for your travel and accommodation needs, you can:

  • Experience Sustainable Hospitality: Our commitment to sustainability means that you can enjoy a guilt-free vacation, knowing that your stay aligns with eco-friendly practices.
  • Support a Responsible Business: Your choice to stay with us contributes to the growth of a responsible tourism industry. Together, we are making a positive impact on the environment and local communities.
New cottage heat pump

What are some goals and/or actions you plan to take in the future to further increase the sustainability of your business?

At Elmhirst’s Resort we firmly believe in the power of sustainable practices to protect and preserve our natural environment. Here are some key initiatives and actions from our sustainability plan:

  • Optimal Resource Efficiency: We strive for optimal efficiency in the consumption of water and energy inputs while reducing waste outputs. Through regular audits, we gather baseline data on inputs and outputs, such as bio-mass, propane, electricity, water, and more.
  • Waste Management: We are committed to minimizing waste generation and diverting it from landfills. Our dedicated team ensures proper composting and recycling, while also monitoring waste-to-landfill quantities.

  • Sustainable Purchasing: We actively engage with suppliers who share our sustainability values. Using the Sustainable Tourism 2030 guidelines, we have developed a sustainability questionnaire for current and future suppliers. By prioritizing sustainable suppliers and seeking third-party certified options, we aim to influence the entire supply chain.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: We recognize the importance of engaging our stakeholders in sustainability. We are working closely with travel trade tour operators to encourage sustainability metrics in their operations, such as carbon offsets. Additionally, we offer a seasonally appropriate sustainability kit for purchase by guests, which includes sustainably sourced beverage containers and environmentally friendly insect repellent and sunscreen.
  • Guest Education: To empower our guests to contribute to sustainability efforts during their stay, we have produced a video outlining tips for efficient water and energy use, waste reduction, recycling, and other sustainability considerations. Each cottage is equipped with a laminated sheet featuring a QR code linked to the video for easy viewing.
Biomass Boiler Room


To learn more about Elmhirst’s Resort – visit: elmhirst.ca