Strathcona Park Lodge is special. Undeniable magic occurs here every single day.
There is something powerful about being unplugged from the city, spending the day together outside, and connecting at night over a campfire.
You’ll notice the magic as soon as you step out of your car, take a deep breath and take in our sensational views. Perched on the shores of Upper Campbell Lake, our property is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and hugged by the dramatic vistas of the Elk River Valley. We have 160 acres of rugged natural wonders waiting to be explored including beaches, hiking trails, waterways and lush rainforest. Our neighbour is Strathcona Provincial Park.
Blazing a Trail
Our story began with Jim Boulding, a larger than life “super-connector” of a man. He noticed—even way back in the 50’s—that there was a separation between people and nature that needed to be mended.
He wanted to create an outdoor education centre where people could build respect for the natural world and each other. He dreamed of how those connections would create a ripple effect, improving lives and communities across BC and beyond.
We are that place. We are that community.
With this in mind, Jim founded our Lodge on six core values. He wanted to build a place where people could gather, celebrate life, and connect with one another. A place where people—especially kids—could get their hands in the dirt, have a tactile connection with the elements, live on the edge, and relive their wild stories of their day’s adventures while looking at the stars. A place that provided people with inspiration and connection to local First Nations and elders. Jim was an interior BC boy and had a good friend in Ray Williams, (who taught Jim first hand many necessary skills for living on the rugged west coast of the island).
All in the Family
Jim married Myrna. She was passionate about inspiring people to eat real food and to know how to make it and grow it themselves. Our food philosophy and tradition of wholesome cooking was born. Today, we have a beautiful restaurant, close to nature, overlooking the lake, and adjacent to our active orchards and gardens. That’s Myrna’s vision in real-time. You’ll see kids, families of all ages, education groups, and old friends and staff connecting over delicious local food. They’ll beg the chef for the recipe and go home to make their own version from scratch. Maybe they’ll even teach a friend once they’re home—the ripple effect in action. And if you’re lucky you might see Myrna coming in to adjust a recipe, rearrange the flowers, or tell you to put more greens on your plate—she still lives on site.
Jim and Myrna raised their five children here while starting this business. The operation is still family-owned and has been run by husband and wife team Jamie Boulding, (Jim and Myrna’s son, and the President of SPL), and Christine Clarke (Executive Director) since 1993. You can find more on the Boulding family and the people of Strathcona.
Making Ripples into Waves
Over time, Jim realized there was a need to train people to lead groups of youth and people of all ages in outdoor pursuits. In 1977, the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training semester program was born, and remains a leader in the industry today. Our world-renowned outdoor education centre has seen over 150 000 school kids pass through its gates, planting seeds for nature connections that have carried a positive ripple effect out into communities. If you work in Outdoor Ed, you know the Lodge. And either you or someone you know has been deeply impacted by what we do.
We change lives through outdoor education and are committed to standing up for the environment, primarily by empowering youth to respect and protect wild spaces for years to come.
Letting Actions Speak
Many businesses have green initiatives, carbon offsetting efforts, or organizations they support on the side of their day-to-day operations, but few govern all their decisions with these values in mind. We truly live by our values and take our connection and responsibility to nature seriously. With that in mind, we power our entire operation on a completely off-grid system that we run ourselves. When you turn on the lights here, they’re either powered by the solar panels on the roof or our hydro Pelton wheel.
Every business decision we make, from what we stock in the store, to the food we buy, to the way our accommodations are designed, is made with the intent to honour our commitment to connecting people with the natural world and each other while respecting our environment.
Our mission is to get young people outside so that they can connect to the natural world, and learn to be respectful stewards of our stunning environment. When you book a wedding, gathering, multi-generational family vacation, team retreat or last-minute weekend away, you are not only connecting with your people in a beautiful place—you are also supporting a truly environmentally-aware business, and directly funding our efforts to reconnect people—especially kids—with the outdoors.
Off-Beat but In Tune
This may not be the place for everyone, it’s different! But we like it that way and we know we’re impacting the world in ways big and small. We know that what we do works—we’ve been at it six decades and we’ve witnessed the countless positive ripple effects our Centre has created.
The Lodge experience is minimalistic—simple yet beautiful—and designed to bring folks back home to each other and to nature. These elements all come together as the recipe for what we call Strathcona Magic.
Come be a part of it! Whether you book with your friends, your loved ones, your family, your friend-family, your knitting club, your sports team or your school, we’d love to show you around and welcome you “home.”
Strathcona Park Lodge is a must stop for anyone traveling on Vancouver Island. There are many trails, rock climbing spots and lakes to explore. There are also many on location activities such as a zip-line, high ropes course, canoe and kayak rentals! This place is gorgeous!
– Stephanie G - Tripadvisor