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COLT students are responsible for getting themselves to Strathcona Park Lodge for the start of the program. It’s about a four-hour journey from Vancouver, including the ferry to Vancouver Island. We can also pick you up in Campbell River or Comox. Several airlines fly into Comox and Campbell River with global connections. There are also bus lines that stop in Campbell River every day.

The first day of the semester is the arrival day. Our program starts at 5pm at the latest on the first day of the semester. Therefore, we recommend that you arrive at least two hours before hand to sort out the last bit of paper work and shake off the road dust.

The Lodge does not have cell service, however there is Wi-fi in the COLT student building. Since we are quite far out in the wilderness our connection is slower than what most people are used to and can be patchy at times. That being said it is generally good enough for emails and skype calls. If you have an important phone call to make we can get you access to one of the phone lines in the nearby office building.

You can also arrange for people to come visit you on your days off. If your visitors want to stay overnight, we suggest they book a room or cabin at Strathcona Park Lodge. We can also recommend near by camp grounds for budget options.

Both semesters are identical in the itinerary but vary slightly in skills and experience. The spring semester includes more time camping and traveling on the remaining snow, while the fall program enjoys rivers full of water and migrating salmon. Weather-wise, both programs include a diverse mix of temperatures and precipitation.

The COLT program is an excellent way to gain the skills you need to work at an outdoor education centre and a lot of the staff at the Lodge are COLT graduates. If you are interested in working at Strathcona Park Lodge after COLT then you should definitely consider doing the work practicum.

We provide all the group camping gear and technical gear—you need to bring all your personal gear. We recommend splurging on footwear and rain gear so you stay warm and comfortable on trips and during your time at the lodge. Check our gear list page or contact us directly if you have specific questions.

The mixture of trips and time at the lodge helps keep things varied and interesting and ensures that you get to sleep in a bed on a regular basis. But everyone needs a little downtime, so we allow 5-6 days off spread out during the semester for you to relax, explore the area and do your own thing. The semester is very intensive though so make sure you are up for pretty consistent days on. Managing your energy is important.

Food allergies are taken seriously at Strathcona Park Lodge. We’ve hosted people with allergies to fish, shellfish, fruits & vegetables, soy, sesame, dairy, eggs, legumes – you name it. We always have a vegetarian option and can cater to vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free diets or other restrictions. Check our accommodation & food page for more information on what you will be eating while at COLT.

COLT students live together in a separate building called Big Den. It’s rustic and cosy with communal space, a gear drying area, a classroom and shared rooms with storage. Big Den is a short walk from the dining room and other lodge facilities. Check our accommodation and food page for more information on student housing.

Yes, COLT is an accredited post-secondary school program. This means that most Canadian students qualify for student loans and even some government training funds and bursaries. Check our fees & financial aid page for more information.