Environmental Practices

Most of the land here is environmentally protected and we are surrounded by 3000 acres of pristine provincial wilderness. We try to practice what we preach with respect to the environment. Unfortunately, many of our environmental building ideas were quashed by the township since they were not in the Ontario Building Code at the time of construction. Much has already changed for future builders -Yeah!

Where we could, we have run parallel systems so that when the day comes that the better environmental systems are allowed we’ll be ready. For example, when we can use grey water to flush toilets, we are ready for it with separate plumbing.

We have incorporated straw bale building techniques to 5 cabins and part of the retreat centre. This is a great use of a bi-product of farming but also has an R35 insulation factor and is more fire retardant than drywall.

Other Practices

We Also:

– Use compact fluorescent light bulbs
– Have washroom lights on a motion sensor to save electricity
– Use water-saving shower heads that still feel like a great shower
– Low consumption toilets (6L)
– We provide organic, unscented, biodegradable shampoo, conditioner & body wash for guests
– Soy insulation
– Concrete floors are stained with a soy, water-based stain
– Windows are made in Canada and are high efficiency
– Cork flooring used in the Great Room is harvested from a sustainable managed forest
– Radiant floor heating provides an efficient source of heat
– Wood burning fireplace supplements heat on chilly days
– Very little disruption of the natural environment to construct the retreat centre and the cabins – no mature trees were taken down.
– We used gravel, stone and topsoil from the property to do any back filling or landscaping
– Bedding is 100% cotton
– We encourage anyone travelling in groups to try to rideshare.
– We use only environmentally friendly cleaning products

What’s to Come:

– Solar panels for preheating water and possibly a hot tub
– Grey water to flush toilets (collected from rain and filtered)
– Grey water to water the gardens
– Wood furnace to provide heat and replace use of propane
– Roof top garden to increase insulation

What You Can Do While You Are Here

– Turn off lights when you leave your cabin
– Turn down the heat in your cabin when you’re not in it
– Take short showers; turn off the water while washing.
– Use only what you need in terms of napkins, paper towels and toilet paper
– Turn off the water when you brush your teeth.
– Respect the no chemical policy and refrain from wearing perfumes, colognes, hairsprays etc. unless they are natural products

Food & Garden

Our Practices

– Vegetarian meals – animal agriculture is the biggest contributor to global warming
– Organic foods – no toxins in the meals we serve
– Fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate
– Buy local when possible
– Compost everything we can and use it in the garden
– Absolutely no chemicals in the garden
– Grow our own produce when in season
– Grow our own herbs and flowers

What You Can Do While You Are Here

– ‘Play’ in the garden – weeding is very therapeutic – just ask Liz if you’re interested in helping out
– Compost food scraps, tea bags etc.
– Recycle any paper scraps
– Use a travel mug throughout your stay

Waste Management

Our Practices

– We recycle everything we can: paper, glass, metal and plastic
– No use of plastic water bottles
– We use products made from recycled and compostable materials e.g. garbage bags, paper towels, toilet paper, office supplies

What You Can Do While You Are Here

– Only flush toilet paper and human waste
– Use biodegradable toiletry products
– Place recycling in the bins provided
– Bring a water bottle and refill it as needed
– Hand in any toxic waste such as batteries and we’ll dispose of them safely

The Centre

Welcome to Sugar Ridge! It is our mission to provide a space for you to be nourished in body, mind and soul. From completely silent to dip your toe, testing mindfulness, we have what you’re looking for!