Frequently Asked Questions
Our Frequently Asked Questions are sorted into the following sections: Preparing to Visit, Accommodations, and Regarding your Stay.
Preparing to Visit . . .
Is the Edge a resort? Can I rent a cabin or purchase room & board?
The Edge is a Retreat Centre, which is different from a resort in many key ways. The main focus of what we specialize in offering are Experiences: a variety of different programs are available, all with meals & accommodation included.
We hope your stay at the Edge is like a visit to the home of a friend; a friend who lives on a lake in the forest, tends a great garden, cooks with passion, truly cares about the environment and wants to introduce you to all the things they love about life in this corner of paradise at Kawawaymog Lake, Algonquin Park. Welcome Home.
Accommodation and Meal plans are only available to guests participating in scheduled retreats and adventures, or pre-formed group stays.
What is your Cancellation Policy?
Please review Deposit Protection.
Do guests have to agree to a waiver?
By participating in a Northern Edge Algonquin experience all guests agree to reading and following the principles and procedures outlined in this FAQ and agree to the terms of the acknowledgement and release.
What time should I arrive?
Guests should plan on arriving between 1-3 pm on arrival day. Departure time for most experiences is also 1-3pm.
“Can I stay an extra day?” In most cases we are not equipped to host guests who wish to extend their stay. We are happy to provide suggestions for alternate accommodations if you plan on extending your time in the area.
What should I pack for my visit?
A printable packing checklist is available in our Welcome Package that is sent to you upon registration. If you are missing any items please notify your host. We have extras of most gear.
Who sees my health/dietary information?
It is important to us that we provide the care our guests need – we want to make sure the meals we prepare for you will be enjoyed, and the activities we provide will be safe for you. Guest information is shared with your guide/facilitator and dietary needs go straight to our chef, Gregor. None of this information is made public. If it’s a repeat visit we will ask for this information again because your needs may change.
Can I get to the Edge on Public Transit?
Not only can you arrive by public transit to our Algonquin Park location, we encourage it! Getting to our Algonquin Park location by bus or plane is easy. We add a small shuttle fee to cover the cost of getting folks out to the Edge and we make ourselves available at arrival times based on your travel schedule. Learn more about taking public transit to the Edge.
How is pricing decided?
Can I purchase a gift certificate?
Yes. To gift someone you care about with a Northern Edge Algonquin experience, chat with guest relations via our web widget or call 888 383 8320.
What’s the rest of the story?
The Edge has an International reputation for our intimate learning environment, unique retreat programs and Algonquin Park adventures. They are all designed around helping build life-changing insights and making connections. In short we designed the Edge to be the change that we wanted to see in the world. Learn more about our green campus, or read the story of the Edge by co-founder, Martha Lucier.
How can I help the Edge?
One of the most important ways you can help is by sharing the value of your experience with friends, families and co-workers and online at TripAdvisor.com. Another way to help is to come again – with friends! For some people, it is also possible to make a financial contribution to the scholarship fund. Accessibility to many of our programs and learning experiences can change lives and communities. One of the biggest expenses we have is taking care of our gardens and the forest. Even trees need professional tending in order to prevent and mitigate the effects of damaging weather events. A contribution to the Edge Greening Fund will ensure continued enhancement to our natural campus. Some of our guests even come back to the Edge as a part of our team. Applicants can email [email protected]
Accommodations . . .
Do I have to share my cabin?
When you register for a retreat at the Edge, you get to choose from a variety of cabin styles, and select “shared” or “private” option.
Solo travelers are often paired in shared shared accommodations with one or two others to foster friendships and create space for more participants to join a program.
When couples or friends book together, you can select the “shared” rate, and it will just be the 2 or 3 of you.
Is there a solo supplement for single travelers?
Travelling by yourself doesn’t mean you have to travel alone. Single travellers at the Edge get the same benefits as everyone, and we don’t charge single supplements. We’ll partner you with a same-sex roommate to ensure you receive the same value for your dollar as everyone else.
“Private” upgrades are available for participants who do not wish to share a room.
Can I store my valuables in my room?
There are no keys to the rooms. You can lock the doors when you are in the room but when you leave, they will be unlocked. Northern Edge Algonquin has never had a problem in all of the years we have been operating but it is best to leave valuables at home or locked in your vehicle if you have any concerns.
Regarding Your Stay:
Will I have Internet Access?
Most of our experiences are 100% unplugged. There are no cell phone towers in and around our Algonquin Park location or in the park. Internet access is via satellite and is reserved for emergency use only. In our opinion, this makes it possible for our guests to fully enjoy every moment of their experience without the distraction of technology.
What makes the Edge Green?
Being solar powered is just a small part of the green story at our award-winning nature retreat. Learn more about our eco-friendly facility and operations. Curious about solar power? Ask for a behind the scenes tour.
What restrictions are there for electrical devices?
Algonquin Park camp sites do not have electricity. The Edge operates on solar power which provides us with energy for pumping and heating water, energy efficient lighting, music, and most of the comforts of home. Blow-dryers, hair-straighteners, and other devices that produce heat when plugged in, cannot be used here. These devices can damage our electrical system so we ask that they are left at home. Since cell phones don’t work here, power off your devices during your stay and to join us in conserving power whenever possible. Please ensure devices such as cameras are fully-charged before your trip.
We also ask that any devices that may impact the experience of other guests be left at home, as many of our guests are looking forward to unplugging. For example, portable gaming devices, tablets and personal computers, & cell phones should be kept at home or in your vehicle.
What about a camera? We love when guests take photos and share them on the Web upon departure. Instant uploading of photos to the Internet is not possible at the Edge.
Is the Edge Accessible?
We are committed to making reasonable efforts to comply with accessibility requirements set out in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005, AODA). Access to buildings is by wide accessible trail. Because we are in a remote, forested, hilly setting footing is uneven on some trails and some buildings are accessed by stairs.
Can I bring my own alcohol?
Like many resorts, retreats and accommodations, guests are not permitted to bring their own alcohol onto the property at Northern Edge Algonquin for personal consumption.
In addition to being unsafe due to uneven ground, trails and low lighting we are governed by Ontario alcohol legislation that only permits the serving of alcohol by our team at designated times and locations.
Thank you for your understanding and compliance with our operational policies. A small glass of Highlander Ale or Viewpoint Estates wine is occasionally served without charge to guests as an accent to experiences.
What is Mealtime like?
In a word – “Amazing”. We take great pride in delivering a culinary experience that will have you asking for recipes. Savour abundant, freshly harvested, global culture buffet dining with chef Gregor’s specialties to thrill your pallet and expand your culinary savvy. Learn more about mealtime.
In the spirit of community we invite guests to assist with clearing and washing personal dishes. Remember those days before automatic dishwashers when the best conversations happened at the kitchen sink? It’s that way here all the time. As an eco-friendly facility, we don’t have a power dishwasher in the back.
Meals are served up “Group Buffet Style” by our kitchen guru Gregor. The bell will ring to signal mealtimes (typically 8:30, 12:30, and 6, though timings may vary during your retreat). Meals at the Edge are more akin to attending a dinner party with an engaging chef than visiting a buffet at a resort. Guests are encouraged to be on time for meals because ingredients may be combined at the last minute once guests have arrived in the dining room to ensure the fresh tastes are enjoyed at their peak of flavour.
Does the Edge meet special dietary needs?
If we know about your needs, we’ll absolutely do our best to provide for them. Over the years we have met the needs of a wide variety of dietary restrictions. It is each visitor’s responsibility to provide information on any pre-existing medical conditions, food allergies/preferences or related issues prior to participation in any program. We always deliver healthy, regional food prepared with care from scratch.
Note: If you choose a specialty diet every effort to deliver a meal experience that meets your needs. Due to our remote location, changing food options upon arrival or in the middle of your experience may not be an option. Last minute food requests made less than 72 hours prior to arrival may not be met due to our remote location. Some of your dietary choices may be limited.
Is Smoking permitted?
Smoking is never permitted indoors. A cleaning fee will be charged if there is evidence of smoking in your cabin.
The fire circle is our designated smoking area. Please keep doorways, porches, buildings, cabins, and the environment smoke free by smoking only in the designated area at the fire circle.
If participating in a canoe trip experience in Algonquin Park smokers are invited to arrange appropriate smoking areas with their guide and other guests.
What about E-Cigarettes? E-cigarettes are never permitted indoors – the designated smoking area remains the fire circle for e-cigarettes.
What about Cannabis or other drugs? Recreational use of cannabis or any other drug would interfere with our ability to deliver safe & memorable experiences, and is not permitted at the Edge.
We ask our guests to be conscious that other members of the group may be on a healing journey and we need to consider how any self-treatment might affect the group. If you have a medical concern, please notify us prior to your visit.
Do you cater to special needs?
We’re in a rural forested setting with irregular hilly terrain that may be challenging for those with wheelchairs or physical impairments. Personal attendants are advisable. Please contact us to discuss suitable accommodation choices and accessibility.
How is the weather?
Summer time temperatures range from 10 at night to 30 degrees C during the day. Winter temps can reach -30 C in January, but generally are about -10 C during the day. See current Algonquin Park Weather report.
What if it rains?
Courtney once described this beautifully before a retreat, and we couldn’t say it better: “While we can’t plan the weather, we can plan to lean into experiencing the depth of beauty that the rain brings with it. Experiences can become more dynamic once we befriend the rain. What if each rain drop was nature’s way of showering us with a million little possibilities for something extraordinary to happen while asking for our commitment and trust to simply let it play out. The rain can bring fog, changes in water flow, wildlife activity, the sound of droplets dancing on the water, and awaken evocative scents in nature – these added elements can be enjoyed as an incredibly memorable visual and sensory experience.” – Courtney Sinclair, Edge Host & Facilitator
We endeavor to ensure everyone is warm, safe, and if not dry; comfortable. We can provide extra rain gear and we’ll warm up with hot chocolate once we’re back inside.
Should I worry about bugs?
Black Fly Season typically begins in late May, and is at it’s worst for the first two weeks of June. After this, the black flies mostly go away and the mosquitoes take their place for a few weeks. Once we get into warmer days (usually marked by the Dragonflies hatching) the bugs are not much of a concern.
If you are worried about bugs, the best defense is wear long sleeves, wear light & bright colours, and tuck pants into socks. Avoiding perfumes and aromatic soap & shampoo will also help you to attract less attention. We may have a bug jacket you can borrow, or you can bring your own.
If you choose to bring bug repellent, please ensure it is DEET-Free and not in an aerosol spray as these are toxic to our environment and can affect other guests who may be sensitive.
We recommend natural repellents that feature lemon eucalyptus. It works great!
Can I bring my pet?
The Edge is a wildlife-friendly centre, and our accommodations are not set up for animal inhabitants. Please leave personal pets with a friend, or consider dropping them off for a stay at Happy Tails Pet Resort in Huntsville.
Are experiences Kid-Friendly?
Most retreats at the Edge are designed as adult experiences.
Programs like Up North: Algonquin Explorer have a minimum age of 14 while many other programs are just for adults.
If your family is joining us for a Family Reunion or similar private group experience, kids are certainly welcome.
Does the Edge provide outdoor equipment?
Outdoor equipment including canoes, kayaks, SUP boards and bicycles, snowshoes, cross country skis and kicksleds are provided for your enjoyment at no additional cost. Where reqiuired for your experience, appropriate instructions on their use will be given. The Edge does not rent equipment, it is provided as for the enjoyment of our guests. For outdoor equipment rental services contact Swift Canoe (South River) or Voyageur Quest (Kawawaymog Lake).
Safety equipment such as Personal Flotation Devices, bicycle helmets, and whistles are provided and shall be worn as instructed by your guide. Guests must follow the directions of facilitators and guides re: safety procedures, equipment use, etc.
What will we be doing? Is there a schedule of activities?
We do not have a posted schedule for most programs because our team responds to the interests of our guests, the weather, seasonal opportunities and the needs of concurrent programs happening on site to deliver a customized experience that meets the needs of our guests for each program. Because the experience is uniquely yours it is difficult to post an itinerary online. Guests have indicated a desire to know what the experience will be prior to booking so we sometimes craft a “sample itinerary” and post it online to give a sense of the flavour of our experiences. Guests should note that every weekend is unique, “Program elements subject to change based on weather and guest interest.”
Can I opt out of some activities?
Any activities can be opted out of if you are feeling uncomfortable with the activity, really want another go at a different activity, or need to take some time to rest. This being said, the Edge was designed to deliver fantastic group experiences: If you’re looking for just meals, accommodation, and rentals without any group participation aspect, a different lodge may be a better fit.
Canoe trips are participatory community experiences by nature. Everyone helps carry items on portages and helps with camp activities under the direction of their C.E.O. Many guests come away with a great deal of personal satisfaction and empowerment in learning new paddling strokes, setting up tents, filtering water, starting a campfire, learning outback cooking recipes and even portaging a canoe solo!
Can we have a campfire?
We have three campfire circles at the nature retreat which we use for outdoor fires. Our staff will help ensure a safe enjoyable fireside experience. In Algonquin Park, sometimes dry conditions in and around the area make campfires inside the park illegal. July 2012 was one of these times campfires were restricted with numerous fires threatening Algonquin Park.
Who will I meet on an Edge retreat or adventure?
Our guests are often a mix of solo travelers, friends traveling together and couples all of varying ages. One thing we see in most guests is a spirit of curiosity – a desire to learn and try new things and experience new ways of being as a traveler. Many of our guests meet folks from around the world who become lifelong friends.
Is there a spa? Massage therapist? What’s the story with the sauna?
The Edge does not feature a spa, however, we do have some very special sanctuaries set up in the forest for self-guided forest bathing or therapy treatments (when they are available.) We do occasionally have therapies such as Reflexology available – in which case you will be notified prior to your retreat.
The wood-fired sauna is absolutely magnificent and is a highlight for many during their visit to the Edge. The sauna takes a few hours and lots of attention to heat up, so we’ll plan the best time to fit it into your itinerary and your host will let you know when it is ready!
Is the Edge LGBT friendly?
Absolutely. We aim to be inclusive, accessible and safe; treating everyone with respect, and without judgement or bias. No matter your race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age. You are welcome here.
What meals are included in my package?
Meals include dinner on arrival day (6:00 pm) through lunch (1:00 pm) on departure day.
Will I want to dress up during my stay?
The Edge is a pretty casual place. Most guests don’t dress up for meal time. On Algonquin Park canoe trips dress is 100% casual with running shoes or hiking boots. Please leave all valuables at home.
What does all inclusive mean at the Edge?
All-inclusive means the price of your Algonquin Park canoe trip or retreat experience with accommodation includes all of the following:
- cuisine by Gregor: sumptuous largely organic and local fare with care for personalized food alternatives for food allergies,
- snacks with juices, organic coffee and Algonquin tea throughout the day,
- free use of any and all outdoor equipment related to your Algonquin Park retreat or adventure experience: snowshoes, skiis, kicksleds in winter and canoes, sea kayaks, paddleboards and mountain bikes in summer,
- Algonquin Park Canoe Trips: canoes, packs, tents, sleeping pads, stoves, filters, food, all group camp equipment is included. If needed we can provide sleeping bags too!
- transportation to Algonquin Park lake access points for canoe trip starting points is provided (if required). Most trips into Algonquin Park begin and end from our lakefront.
- wood-fired outdoor sauna prepared for your use during your stay or before or after your Algonquin Park canoe trip,
- an unplugged (cellphone, portable entertainment device and internet free) guest experience,
- overnight accommodations at our Algonquin Park solar powered nature retreat sleeping under a feather duvet.
Do you have a Lost & Found?
Northern Edge Algonquin cannot accept responsibility for items lost or left behind when guests depart.
If you believe you have left something behind, please contact our office right away so we know to look for it. Guests are asked to cover the costs of postage for mailing Found Items.
If we suspect we know who a Found Item belongs to, we will touch base with that person right away. Lost & Found items with no clear origin are kept in our office for one month before being donated to a local charity thrift shop.
What is a Leave-No-Trace Traveler?
We encourage our guests to join us in having minimal impact when traveling. Here are a few suggestions to help you be a green traveler the next time you hit the road:
- Bring your own water. Grab a refillable water bottle, turn on your cold water tap and fill. We give each of our guests a refillable Edgy water bottle. Our guests love our drinking water; straight from the ground with no additives (tested regularly too). Remember to fill your bottle when it’s time to head home after your stay!
- Embrace a no poison outdoor travel policy. The most commonly used insect repellant – contains DEET which dissolves/melts some plastics and synthetic fabrics. Yet, many people put it on their skin! During bug season, use safe approaches to repelling bugs that won’t make you (or others) sick. If applying insect repellent keep well away from other people, tents and equipment. The safest application method for everyone is to put a small amount of bug repellant on your hand and rub it onto exposed skin.
- Are you sensitive to smells? Some of our guests are. We encourage guests to avoid the use of perfumes and enjoy a scent free holiday. This tactic also helps keep the biting bugs at bay too. Bugs just love unusual odours and perfume can act like a bug magnet when visiting Algonquin Park.
- Use biodegradable soap. Our septic system is a natural water treatment system. When water goes down the drain, it gets treated on site then goes into the ground. The use of biodegradable soaps is a natural choice to maintaining the health of our water treatment system. If you bring your own soap, please make it biodegradable.
Should I leave a gratuity?
Gratuities are welcome, but not required. If an individual has made your stay especially enjoyable, please tip them directly. Tips for hospitality staff can be left in your cabin.
Does the Edge recycle?
Absolutely. Our guests help ensure that waste is properly sorted and deposited in the waste containers provided. We recycle paper, plastic, metal and compost food waste.
How Remote is the Edge?
Cell phones do not work at the Edge, we invite guests calling home on arrival to please do so from South River before heading to our Algonquin Park access location. If folks need to reach you during your stay, they can leave a message on our Mainhouse phone: (888) 383-8320 x5. Messages will be delivered as quickly as possible. If you are anticipating a call, please inform your C.E.O.. If you are on medication, bring more than you will expect to need. Ambulance service is about 25 minutes away from our Algonquin Park location in South River, ON.
Can I stay & eat off-site and participate in a retreat?
A big part of what brings people together during a retreat is sharing meals, visiting in our on-site gathering spaces outside of program activity time, staying near each-other, and crossing paths on the way to breakfast. When one participant stays off-site, it can break the shared close atmosphere in a program, so generally this is not possible.
For some rare programs, when we are offering certification of some sort or have a really exciting special guest we want the local community to meet, we offer a day-use fee of $40/day plus taxes in lieu of accommodation for locals. Day use covers organic coffee, teas, snacks, fresh fruit and lunch.
Are there nearby hiking/skiing trails?
On the Edge of Algonquin Park we have a great trail system called the Forgotten Trails. They are great for hiking, mountain biking, snow shoeing or skiing. We’ll share a map with you and give you directions. Our favourites are One-a-Day (30 minute round trip walking from the Edge), Tower Trail, Moose Mountain and the Loxton Beaver Trail. All are easily accessible within 5 km of the Edge.
Will I see Algonquin Park wildlife?
You bet. At the Edge you’ll see red squirrels, chipmunks, pileated and downy woodpeckers, osprey, and a variety of birds and waterfowl including loons, mergansers, and geese. Sometimes a fox, deer, moose or bear will come by, but sightings on the property are rare. In Algonquin Park wildlife including otters, beavers, loons, moose are frequently seen and wolves are occasionally heard, especially in early August. Best time of day to encounter wildlife is in the early morning – before breakfast. Bring a small set of binoculars on your canoe trip to extend your visual range.