An introduction of HI Canada and awesome discounts
HI Canada is a non-profit organisation whose members are its heart and soul. The organisation’s vision is to build a community of travellers connected by mutual understanding of people and of different places and cultures.
HI Canada has quite a long history. In 1933, sisters Mary Bell and Catherine Barclay from Alberta established the first hostel by setting up tents. They managed it with the help of a horse, two cars and, of course, tents. It cost 25 cents to spend the night. Not long after, they moved the hostel to a permanent building and the sisters then founded the Canadian Youth Hostel Association, HI Canada’s predecessor. Today, HI Canada is divided into three regions: the Pacific Mountain Region, the Atlantic Region, and the Quebec and Ontario Region. The organisation has its headquarters in Ottawa.
HI Canada focuses on sustainable tourism and is therefore committed to social responsibility, reducing negative impacts on the environment, and taking advantage of entrepreneurial potential. It’s able to achieve all this thanks to its three objectives of embracing sustainability as a part of responsibility, evaluating the effectiveness of measures, and implementing all elements of sustainable development in the management of HI Canada and its hostels.
There are 53 HI hostels in Canada, distributed evenly across the ten provinces and three territories. We will begin by describing the Wilderness hostels also known as wild hostels. They don’t have electricity or running water, instead, energy is harvested by sustainable means. As the name suggests, the hostels are located in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, which means all the adventurous possibilities in nature are within reach. You’ll be transported to the heart of nature, fat away from stress and the fast pace of life.
HI Rampart Creek Wilderness in Banff National Park, Alberta, is one such example. Winters are truly spectacular there thanks to many climbing routes leading over frozen waterfalls. The hostel even has its very own sauna. What is interesting is how the hostel recycles chest freezers into hybrid fridge freezers that only use the cold Canadian air in order to keep things cool. That way the hostel saves 1400 litres of propane per year. HI Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel in Jasper National Park is even wilder and it has 15 solar panels that produce all the necessary energy the hostel needs during the summer, reducing CO2 emissions by 88%. Other wilderness hostels are even more special. Hostels, such as HI hostel Edith Cavell, are closed in winter, but don’t let that stop you. You can access and manage the hostel using the booking key-code. The most interesting of the bunch, however, is the HI Hilda Creek in Banff National Park. It’s unstaffed and is accessible anytime using a key-code. You can sleep in one of the six beds available. It’s a perfect base for hiking and high altitude climbing or simple relaxation with a view of the surrounding glaciers. But the mountains aren’t the only place to boast sustainable hostels.
Hostel Hi Bonavista is located in Newfoundland. It’s a hostel with 15 metre high wind turbines that can generate up to 400 kilowatts of electricity per month by harvesting strong winds. The hostel is located on the Bonavista Peninsula and the nearby sand dunes offer a view of the lighthouse and the endless ocean, dotted with icebergs, whales and puffins.
Sustainable hostels can also be found in cities. HI Montréal has its own apiary of 4500 bees, which gather pollen from flowers and trees in a radius of five kilometres. Guests can even try homemade honey. The hostel is located in the old town, right next to museums and shopping streets. Jericho Park in Vancouver is home to HI Vancouver Jericho Beach. The park is full of rare animal and plant species. Guests can assist in their protection and help remove invasive plant species. HI Rossburn is a special hostel in Manitoba, situated on a ranch with 60 cows, 30 horses and two dogs. It’s a perfect place to learn about life on the ranch, ride a horse into the unknown, or relax in a jacuzzi.
It’s worth noting that HI Canada offers a group discount in its hostels to all groups with a minimum of 10 members, regardless of their age.
All HI members are also entitled to many other great discounts in Canada. You get 10% off your booking in any of the hostels. You also get a discount on all activities booked at Get Your Guide. Treat yourself to a 20-minute boat tour to Niagara Falls. If you want to go watch wild animals afterwards, you can go on a three-hour evening animal search in Jasper National Park. You can encounter bears, moose, wapiti and many other animals. In order to visit the neighbouring Banff National Park we recommend buying the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus day pass, that will take you to the park’s five most famous locations, plus you won’t have to look for a place to park your car. And now let’s go to the cities. You can take a morning kayak city tour through the short False Creek in Vancouver that separates the downtown from the rest of the city. It’s a perfect way to learn about the city’s history and its landmarks. Set sail in Halifax to for a lobster encounter and visit the three oldest lighthouses in North America. And that’s not all.
Tiqets is another platform that offers you a 7% discount. Head to Toronto and prepare for a real medieval jousting match and enjoy a four-course medieval dinner. If you want to experience a true cowboy adventure, Banff is the right spot. You can set out on a horseback or wagon ride across the scenic landscape where you can enjoy in a BBQ cookout and storytelling.
In order to be well prepared for travel throughout Canada, I recommend Lonely Planet guides. Our members get 20% off all books. And there are a lot of books on Canada to choose from, including the great country guides, and more specific city, regional and national park guides.