The Inn at the Forks is a distinct boutique hotel located in the heart of The Forks National Historic Site of Canada. The hotel offers many luxurious amenities such as a nationally recognized spa and a restaurant and a lounge that features local jazz musicians. The Inn at the Forks is the only hotel on the site, which is situated in downtown Winnipeg.
The Inn at the Forks recognizes the importance of this heritage site, which served as an Aboriginal gathering place some 6,000 years ago. The hotel facility was designed with consideration of the past, present and future by incorporating traditional and contemporary materials with an emphasis on modern design. Design materials were sourced locally.
The Inn at the Forks enjoys a strong relationship with the agencies responsible for The Forks site. These agencies include Parks Canada and The Forks North Portage Partnership Corporation.
The hotel has been recognized in many distinguished award categories and has maintained strong standing with industry rating agencies:
As part of its commitment to sustainability, the Inn at the Forks ownership (the Sparrow Family) and General Manager Denis Smith identified sustainability as a key executive and management goal for the hotel and its spa. It looked to the standards set by the Hotel Association of Canada for sustainability through its "Green Key Rating Program."
The hotel did not meet these standards after its first attempt to be recognized.
The Response and the Result
In early 2008, management held a strategy session with the hotel's department directors to communicate its goal for sustainability, described at the time as a "must achieve" program. A detailed plan was established identifying objectives and tactics required to realize this goal. All departments were required to implement the plan by communicating the importance of the initiative to staff and by assigning responsibilities for specific activities. Departments include Restaurant/Lounge, Kitchen, Spa, Banquets, Front Desk, Housekeeping, Sales: Group & Corporate, Catering, Maintenance, Accounting.
In 2009, The Inn at the Forks was awarded a "5 Green Key" Rating by the Hotel Association of Canada. This is the highest rating in its class. The Inn at the Forks was one of eight hotels in Canada awarded with this distinction (1200 hotels from across the country participated in the program).
The hotel's 5 Green Key Rating is a powerful reflection of its commitment to the sustainable delivery of tourism. Specific activities required to arrive at this rating include sourcing environmentally friendly materials, documenting policies and procedures to reflect these advancements and implementing these materials into day-to-day operations of both the hotel and spa.
Other initiatives introduced to meet the standards required for this rating include:
The Inn at the Forks has also been very active in educating tourists of their greening initiatives, spreading the word in any way possible. Printed highlights are included on several materials including recycled paper boxes for recyclables (in each room), while in-room newsletters communicate the hotel's policy on sustainability. The hotel is also listed on iStayGreen.org, a directory identifying "green" lodging.
The Inn at the Forks remains a strong corporate partner with The Forks Market management group by assisting with its Forks Target Zero program. The program is designed to reduce the site's carbon footprint to as close to zero as possible. The hotel's initiatives include: