The Lodge, as it’s affectionately known, is forty minutes by car south west of Campbell River, close to the geographic centre of Vancouver Island and just outside of Strathcona Provincial Park.
The resort is an eclectic collection of cabins and buildings with one of the best sunset views on Vancouver Island. Lake and mountain views are everywhere.
Situated on a hillside on the lake the Lodge property is a mini-outdoor playground with hiking trails, climbing bluffs, old growth trees, high and low rope courses, zip lines and many boats in all shapes and sizes. There’s a wood fired sauna near the swimming bay that is always popular.
During the school year, Strathcona Lodge hosts thousands of students, from grade five to grade 12, and introduces them to the outdoor world. They go rock climbing and sea kayaking, spend a week learning to navigate a whitewater kayak or climb to a summit of a nearby peak. During the summer visitors come from all over the world to go on guided trips in the mountains or ocean, play on the beach or go to summer camp as a family. Teenagers come for WYLD, a summer camp for kids.
When you graduate from COLT you may have the chance of joining the 70 staff that make up this unique community. The employees are loosely divided into outdoor leaders who teach the various activities, house keeping, kitchen staff, property maintenance crew and front office.
Even though it’s off the grid and makes it’s own renewable power, the Lodge is outfitted with almost all the conveniences of home. There’s a full service dining room, a public radiophone, a small convenience store, boat rentals, and laundry facilities.
The COLT program’s classroom is a diverse geographic area that stretches from coast to coast on Vancouver Island. It includes the logging and fishing communities of Gold River and Campbell River and B.C.’s oldest provincial park, Strathcona.
Most land activities are taught in Strathcona Park. The mountains are characterized by rugged summits, long ridgelines and steep sides cloaked in huge, old growth forests. There is ample alpine and glaciated terrain offering plenty of rock climbing and mountaineering possibilities, including several climbing bluffs on Strathcona Lodge’s property.
The water activities are spread across the Island. The Lodge itself sits on Upper Campbell Lake, a major body of water used to generate hydropower. It’s perfect for swimming or practising your Eskimo roll during the summer months. Rivers near Gold River and Campbell River are used for the white water programs. The road from Gold River to Tahsis, a small coastal town at the end of a road, provides access to the west coast. Sea kayaking happens on either side of the island in the wild and historic Nootka Sound area and the maze of islands on the Inside Passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland.