Situated on 420 acres of designated ecological reserve land in Paradise Valley BC, Cheakamus Centre (formerly North Vancouver Outdoor School) is unique among a handful of environmental learning centres in Canada. This diverse biological landscape includes significant stands of old growth forests, wild salmon streams and amphibian ponds. The property is home to the largest recorded concentration of wintering bald eagles in North America, as well as the Dave Marshall Salmon Reserve, the centre of federally designated habitat and spawning channels for five species of pacific salmon.
Cheakamus Centre provides experiential overnight field-based studies, serving 5000 students and 6000 adults annually. Their mission is to provide hands-on educational programming to students of all ages in its indoor and outdoor classrooms. Currently the Cheakamus Centre operates out of several small buildings scattered around the site. Almost all buildings have suffered damage from frequent flooding, are nearing the end of their service life, are costly to maintain, and are inefficient in their energy consumption.
The vision of the Cheakamus Centre is that future site and facility development will embody the environmental principles espoused by the school. The sustainable components and systems of infrastructure and buildings are to be designed such that they become an integral part of the learning experience. The need to develop a masterplan and etablish overall guidelines in accordance with the vision for the development of the entire site was identified as a precursor to the design of the BlueShore Financial Environmental Learning Centre (ELC) at Cheakamus Centre.
The project has been awarded a Holcim Award of Acknowledgement for Sustainable Construction.