When looking for ways to reward an organization’s top performers, transformative culinary experiences place high on many incentive wish lists. Yet, today’s employees don’t want to celebrate their achievements at the cost of the environment — and that holds especially true when it comes to what they eat and drink.
Across Canada, destinations are delivering innovative culinary experiences that lessen their impact on the environment and ensure a more sustainable world, from sourcing local, in-season ingredients to minimizing food waste. Read on to discover three Canadian resorts that are at the forefront of sustainability.
1. Taking fresh ingredients to another level.
As one might expect from its seaside location on the Atlantic Ocean’s Northumberland Strait, seafood is in abundance at the iconic Fox Harb’r Resort in Nova Scotia. Top performers can enjoy world-class dining through activities that range from learning how to cook and eat mouthwatering lobster on an elegant terrace overlooking the ocean to a gourmet multi-course dinner with locally sourced ingredients nestled in the resort’s rolling vineyards.
Taste and scenery aside, one of the best parts about the food at Fox Harb’r is the sustainable practices used to make it. The team plants and grows approximately 50% of the produce that’s served in its restaurants and grows all cut flowers in the restaurant from seed on the property.
They also make jam from local berry bushes, apply jelly from orchard trees, raise their own pheasants, and have two on-site Ocean Wise fish ponds at the resort — all of which helps ensure the freshest possible ingredients, lessens the resort’s carbon footprint and reduces waste. Fox Harb’r also has a vineyard that produces its own award-winning wines.
Credit: Tourism Nova Scotia / Photographer: James Ingram
Location: Fox Harb'r Resort, Northumberland Shore
2. Setting a new benchmark for local cuisine.
Incentive winners are pampered in luxury at the five-star oceanfront Wickaninnish Inn, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Here, they can celebrate a year of achievements with accommodations that boast waterfront views, restorative experiences at the acclaimed Ancient Cedars Spa, and, of course, many opportunities to enjoy delicious coastal cuisine, like by enjoying a succulent seafood cookout on the inn’s secluded beach.
High achievers will be thrilled to know that the Wickaninnish Inn has made sustainability a top priority, so much so that it’s earned the highest Five Key rating from Canada’s Green Key Eco-Rating program. The food in its exceptional restaurants is made from scratch using the finest and freshest ingredients. In addition, the produce, seafood and meat are sourced locally from Vancouver Island and greater BC — from chanterelles to berries to salmon, Dungeness crab and more.
Credit: Brian Caissie, Destination Canada
Location: Tofino, BC
3. Eco-friendly luxury in the heart of the city.
For a luxurious, yet sustainable retreat in the heart of downtown Toronto, look no further than 1 Hotel Toronto. Inspired by the city’s diverse natural environment, the newly opened hotel takes inspiration from the beauty of Lake Ontario to offer guests a sustainable urban retreat.
The hotel’s interiors are nature-inspired and eco-friendly — from the furniture and decor created from fallen local trees to 100% organic cotton bed linens and floor-to-ceiling windows that let natural light in. But it’s the culinary initiatives that really pack a punch. Its restaurants are zero-waste operations, which underscores the team’s commitment to preserving the beauty and bounty of nature. This includes an on-site composter that can turn 12,000 pounds of waste into under 1,000 pounds of compost that’s used to feed over 2,500 plants in the hotel and neighbouring parks.
In addition, almost all the restaurant’s produce comes from no further than 100 kilometres away. 1 Hotel Toronto is also home to a luscious, on-site garden, called the Garden Pavilion, which serves as both an open-air event space and supplies the kitchen with organic vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.
“More than ever, travellers are looking for ways to make a positive impact on the world — and their culinary experiences are a major aspect of that,” explains Jennifer Attersall, director of incentive travel at Destination Canada. “From cooking with hyperlocal, in-season ingredients to reducing food waste, destinations across Canada have taken significant steps to help them in their quest to create a more sustainable world. When groups create positive change while celebrating their successes, their experiences are even more transformative.”
Credit: Destination Canada
Learn more about Canada’s sustainable incentive experiences here.