The ultimate destination for honeymooning eco warriors: Vancouver

25 Jan 2019

Keen to do your bit to help tackle climate change, even on your honeymoon? Head to Vancouver and we’ll show you how

Words: Emma Krieger

Image gallery

Image gallery

With an ever-growing awareness of the environmental impact of tourism, many couples are becoming more thoughtful about where they choose to honeymoon, and the effect their travel footprint has on the planet.

Using data from its 2018 users, Pinterest recently revealed that searches for eco-friendly hotels are up by a whopping 125 per cent, while searches for zero waste travel are up 74 per cent, suggesting eco-friendly travel is a growing movement.

Striving to be the greenest

Aside from being a fantastic city to visit in its own right, with its plethora of tourist attractions, ocean views, green spaces and accessibility to skiing hotspots like Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour, Vancouver is also one of Canada’s greenest cities. 

It’s keen to take this mantle even further, aiming to be the greenest city in the world by 2020 through its Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP) initiative.

The bold plan sets out a list of 54 quantifiable targets, which include boosting the green economy, reducing car use in one of Canada’s most congested cities, and producing more locally grown food.

Vancouver also plans to be a zero waste city by 2040 and to use 100% renewable energy by 2050.

We outline four ways you can have a 'green' honeymoon while visiting this eco-friendly city.

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Image: The greenest city of the future - Vancouver

1. Stay at an eco hotel… 

These days, most hotels encourage guests to conserve water and limit how frequently their towels and linens are changed throughout their stay, but it pays to do a bit of research to find a hotel that is going even further in the sustainability stakes.

Green Key Global, the international environmental certification body for the hotel industry, makes finding an eco-friendly hotel in Vancouver easy with their Eco-Rating Program. 

The program ranks and certifies hotels based on their commitment to sustainable operations, evaluating on nine major areas, including energy and conservation, waste management, indoor air quality, community outreach, building infrastructure, land use and environmental management.

Some of Vancouver’s longest standing members of the program, who all boast Five Green Keys (the highest possible rating), include the Fairmont Hotel and the Fairmont Waterfront, Four Seasons Hotel and the Hyatt Regency.

The initiatives undertaken by the hotels include everything from tree planting to offset carbon emissions, sustainable dining options in the hotel’s restaurants, rooftop herb gardens and apiaries and recycling and composting of waste, to orientations sessions that educate new staff on sustainability and charitable donations to various environmental organisations.

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Image: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver's rooftop herb and vegetable garden

…or discover an eco wilderness resort

Located on one of the outer islands of British Columbia’s Discovery Islands, Sonora Resort is just a short 45-minute helicopter flight from Vancouver. Like most wilderness resorts, Sonora caters to two speeds – those looking for the chance to simply unwind and relax, to those ready to jam as much action into their stay they can. 

Couples can dabble in everything from ocean kayaking, river rafting, mountain biking and paddle boarding to fly-fishing, archery and golf. There’s also whale watching and Grizzly bear tours, the latter of which you’ll need to time your visit during late August, September or October, when the bears congregate on the Orford River during the annual salmon run.

Set amid an impressive old-growth rainforest, environmentally minded visitors to the island will appreciate the resort’s commitment to preserve and protect the area. Sonora’s sustainability initiatives include utilising well water, which is sand filtered and UV radiated instead of chemically treated, and a zero tolerance of chemical-laden cleaning and bathroom amenities that may get into the waterways and harm the environment.

The resort encourages guests to participate in a voluntary catch and release program of any spoils caught from a day of fishing, and is currently exploring clean sources of energy to power the resort, looking at capturing the hydropower at Patricia Creek and transmitting it via underwater cable to the island. 

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Image: The warm and cool mineral pools meets the ocean at Sonora Resort

Experience an eco-adventure

When it comes to tackling climate change, it’s not just the humans we’re trying to save the world for; it’s the abundant wildlife that shares this great planet of ours too. 

Get up close and personal with the Esowista Peninsula’s land and sea life aboard one of Ocean Outfitters fleet of vessels for an eco-adventure.

This eco-tour agency, located at Tofino, has been awarded Vancouver Island’s highest 'green' certification and has been carbon neutral since 2015. In 2017, Ocean Outfitters also received the Ecostar Climate Action Award for their outstanding environmental achievements and leadership as a business.

Watch whales, sea lions, orcas, otters, porpoises and bears in the untouched wilderness from a zodiac, and learn about the threats they (and their habitat) are facing.

Opt for the Ultimate Adventure package which will see you hike through the old-growth forest at Maquinna Marine Provincial Park in Clayoquot Sound, take a dip in the natural geothermal springs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and spend the rest of the day on a marine wildlife safari.

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Image: A camera shy whale ducks for cover during an Ocean Outfitters tour

Dine out farm-to-table

Every well-informed eco warrior knows eating locally sourced, organic (ideally vegan) food is one of the best things you can do for the planet. Vancouver has embraced the farm-to-table movement and you’ll be spoilt for choice, with many of the city’s restaurants championing sustainable dining. 

The aptly named Forage specialises in locally grown cuisine and chef Welbert Choi carefully considers each ingredient used in his dishes for its environmental impact. 

Other similarly eco-minded eateries include Edible Canada (where you’ll dine on sustainable seafood, locally foraged vegetables and the Canadian kitchen staple, syrup, which is made from local birch trees), Wildebeest (which focuses on nose-to-tail cooking using organic-raised animals) and Agro Café (which donates their used coffee grinds and compostable cups to the city’s UBC farm).

If you’re just after a few snacks to tide you over until dinner time, duck into Canada’s very first package-free grocery store, Nada. Located at 675 East Broadway you’ll be able to stock up on local, organic and responsibly-sourced goods minus the superfluous plastic packaging you’d find in regular grocery stores. 

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Image: Tuck into some sustainable fare at Forage

Click here for more >> honeymoon inspiration

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