Member Spotlight: Wickaninnish Inn

Wickaninnish Inn is one of Vancouver Island’s iconic accommodations, perched between the ancient rainforest and the ocean. They have recently been reassessed by GreenStep, to achieve Sustainable Tourism GOLD Certified. Read on to hear more about some of the sustainability initiatives that Wickaninnish Inn is working on.

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

When the McDiarmid family was preparing to build the Inn on over 100 acres of oceanfront property, their wish was to preserve the beauty and natural integrity of this amazing site as much as possible and build a green hotel that sourced materials and workmanship from abundant local talent and artisans, leaving guests with the knowledge that they are waking up nowhere else, but in Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Charles McDiarmid, Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, BC, Photo Credit: Michael Becker

Why is sustainability important to you/your business? 

The Wickaninnish Inn is dedicated to the journey toward sustainable tourism because it is the right thing to do. We are committed to maintaining the highest environmental practices while delivering value to our guests, a safe workplace for our employees, and a lasting legacy for our families and community.

Why did you join Sustainable Tourism? 

Being green was never a fringe movement for us. Inspired by the towering trees and pristine coastline here, eco-friendliness is simply a way of appreciating and caring for where we live; this mindfulness is something you may sense during your time here, too.

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

We have been a 100% non-smoking property from day one in 1996; being a Soap For Hope Canada hotel partner program helps us repurpose unused soaps, shampoos, conditioners and linen while helping improve the quality of life for vulnerable local communities and around the world. We also send the majority of our fruit and vegetable waste from the Pointe Restaurant and Driftwood Café to our on-site compost. The Green Leaders status is earned by achieving a green level score through Vancouver Island Green Business Collective for at least three consecutive years. The Pointe Restaurant has been growing its score since we started working with VIGBC in 2016, achieving 47 points in 2021 – the highest score a restaurant has ever achieved!

The Wickaninnish Inn is also a proud supporter and partner of the Pacific Surf Rider Foundation, encouraging their staff to participate in weekly beach clean ups. They even have a program in place to pay staff up to 8 hours a year to encourage volunteering within the community!

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

We will be working on calculating our carbon footprint and finding ways to guests more involved with our initiatives and creating an equity, diversity and inclusion plan. Our Wickaninnish Green Committee holds monthly meetings to share ideas and identify best practices for employees and the Inn. Rest assured that our Green Team of volunteers from every Inn department is always seeking out new ways of carrying forward the legacy of respect founded by the McDiarmid family’s vision, and those first cedar planks laid in 1995.