Todd is co-founder of the Edge along with his wife Martha Lucier. He is delighted that so many friends, colleagues, and extended family members have come along for the journey to live, work and play with them in making their dream at Algonquin Park a reality. Todd designs retreats and experiences at the Edge and canoe trips into Algonquin Park and is occasionally the face behind web development, multimedia production and social media communications for the Edge. He tells stories, informs and enlightens and inspires people to live a life with passion and purpose. He feels most alive wearing his rubber boots and being on the land or water.
How do the experiences you offer at Northern Edge Algonquin give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of your region?
Guests stay in cabins in the forest and gather in a 120-year-old log cabin to learn about the cultural and natural history through hands-on nature experiences and story sharing with guides.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
Our first experiences were primarily for the Adventurer. With one night staying on site, then two nights three days paddling canoes and camping on the ground in Algonquin Park. These experiences are wonderful, but a tad on the adventurous side. Our newer experiences include the Canadian Signature Experience – Explorer’s Cabin experience that provides a similar guided experience but with perks like three meals in the dining room prepared with local foods and presented by passionate Chef Gregor. Guests on these experiences get to sleep in a bed and share social experiences in our sauna and Points North Cafe.
What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
We are powered by the sun. No hydro lines come to our property. When guests turn on a light switch or use water pumped from our well they are using solar power. It’s a seamless experience for guests. We also have an earth roof with skylights that peak through the earth – indoors we see shadows of plants. Forest lights are controlled by motion. Indoor sensors also automatically turn lights on and off in common areas.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider participating in the experiences you offer?
The richness of the interactions between our team and our guests is truly remarkable and memorable. Many guests go home as dear friends.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
Experiential Tourism, getting hands-on, behind-the-scenes access to places and experiences that are not available in a travel brochure. Outstanding guides and facilitators make the biggest impact on the guest experience.
What sets Northern Edge Algonquin apart from other adventure companies operating in Algonquin Park?
Private double accommodation in forest cabins – not a hotel setting at all. We share log cabin dining and learning experiences, but at the end of the day everyone has an opportunity to stay in a cabin their plus one or a friend or two. Where else can guests sleep in a 120-year-old log cabin? Nowhere. The food we serve is outstanding cuisine, with local, seasonal ingredients served buffet style. There are no recipes and every meal is a unique adventure. We also serve up a memorable artisan pizza-making experience in the forest year round. Stunning.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
Take a chance, let your guard down and get to know your hosts.
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
Expanding our facility along side our programs has enabled us to grow capacity in human resources as well as facility stages at the same pace business has grown. We have continually approached each guest experience as a learning experience, understanding what makes experiences truly stand out and evolving our formula to ensure every experience is memorable.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
Partnering with local people and sharing the joy of co-creating memorable experiences is the most vital part of experiential travel. Getting to know your neighbours, their stories and inviting them to join our guests for nature experiences. Find people you have an affinity with, ask them for coffee and see what magic you can cook up together. It’s so much fun.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
Guests have memorable experiences all the time. Read what folks write about their stays on TripAdvisor. Our guests unplug from technology completely while they are with us. No cell phone, no internet. It’s a radical shift from every day. It can be stressful for the first few hours as people remember what FACEtime really is. After a day, everyone has totally left teh rest of the world behind. Now they are celebrating the people and experiences they are with, without worrying about sharing their experiences in the moment with the outside world. Paddling canoes under the stars and having the Northern Lights appear? Priceless.
Northern Edge on Facebook: facebook.com/NorthernEdgeAlgonquin
Northern Edge on Twitter: twitter.com/northernedge
Northern Edge on Instagram: instagram.com/northernedgealgonquin