Kayak surfing in Tofino.

Life During the Semester


A day in the life…

7:00 am – wake up and head out for breakfast. At the Lodge this is served in the Whale Room at  7:30-8:00 am. On out trips you’ll be making it over a camp stove.

8:00 – with breakfast settling it’s time to get ready for the day. At the Lodge you may pack a day pack, grab lunch, and jump in a van for a day of paddling or rock climbing. In the field you’ll prepare for another day of adventure.

8:30 to 5:00 – climbing, paddling, hiking, learning.

5:00 to 6:00 – Dinner. Served buffet style at the Whale Room or if out on an outtrip cooked to perfection over a stove (hopefully) by you.

6:30 – Debrief, socializing and learning. In the field the post dinner hour is for relaxing. You may also discuss the day’s activities, debriefing and learning from the excitement. At the lodge you’ll have free time or maybe you’ll learn a new skill, watch an interesting movie or listen to a guest speaker.

Life in the field

Trips are picked and day’s planned to ensure there’s plenty of time for learning and resting. Usually the pace is steady, but not rushed, so there’s time for discussions and lessons about what’s going on. Camp is usually set up early enough in the day to allow some relaxation before dinner. Days may begin very early to take advantage of the safest and best conditions, but the amount of time on the move is usually no more than 8 hours.

Life at the Lodge

When you’re not out hiking, climbing or paddling COLT students are based out of Strathcona Park Lodge. You’ll share a room with other COLT participants, with room for all your gear and clothing. The Lodge’s extensive grounds will become your home and the people that work here your friends.


The Lodge is run on the principles of living a positive and sustainable lifestyle. Power is generated by a small hydro project. Food scraps are composted. Garbage is minimized. The people that work here love what they do. Expect a laid back but professional environment.


COLT students live near the staff in the COLT Annex, a simple building with only the basic bed, chair and closet for gear storage. The Annex is a short walk from the dining room and other lodge facilities. You will live two or three students to a room and share a bathroom facility. There are laundry facilities in the Annex as well as parking for those that have their own vehicle.


Food is served buffet style three times a day at the Whale Room. Local, free range and unprocessed foods are a focus. Meals are healthy and varied with plenty of options for sides and mains. The kitchen staff does their best to accommodate all diets. There are always options for vegan, vegetarian, lactose and gluten free.

The COLT students prepare food for out trips with help from the kitchen staff. The kitchen is well equipped with food options for every kind of trip.


Strathcona Park Lodge is a full service resort and outdoor education centre fully equipped for all kinds of activities. The only thing missing is television, yet most COLT students don’t miss it. There is limited access to a phone; the only public phone on site is a radio phone. Internet access is also limited due to our remote location


With 70 staff all passionate about the outdoors and having fun you’re sure to find a few kindred spirits. Hundreds of lifelong friendships have been started here. Meal times are always social as everyone from the Boulding family to Lodge guests, eat at the same time. Throughout the semester COLT students are invited to all staff social events including the famous Lodge Barn Parties. And the COLT students organize an end of semester party to celebrate the culmination of an unforgettable three months.


To many COLT alumni and staff this is what keeps them coming back for years. The community of people that work here are inspirational with their zest for life, caring attitude and positive energy. From the office staff to the maintenance crew this is a community that supports and encourages each other. As a COLT student you will immediately belong.

Trip to Town

Going to town?  Strathcona Park Lodge is 50 minutes by car from the nearest community, Campbell River.  While the Lodge has most of the basic necessities, most COLT students will want to make a trip into town at least a few times during the semester.  COLT students can make a town run whenever there is free time, evenings and days off, mostly.  There are no organized trips to town, so students will have to use their own car or catch a ride with staff or other COLT students.

Days Off

COLT students only get 5-6 days off per semester. We keep you working hard the rest of the time! Thus it is important to get some good old R&R during these days. You will have a scheduled 3 day break around mid-term to allow visits of family or friends or a chance to see Vancouver Island on your own, or to just simply hang out. On days off, students are allowed to do anything they choose, from just ‘sleeping in’ and hanging around the Lodge, or traveling to town or practicing newly learned skills on the lake or in the mountains.