Seriously Getting Away From it All at Cree Village Ecolodge

You can't get much further away from it all than Moose Factory on James Bay. You take the Polar Bear Express to the end of the line and then take a boat across the river, to the lodge developed by the MoCreebec Council of the Cree Nation. Says the Star: "In an era where "eco" has become a universal brand-name tag for anything even marginally non-polluting, the Ecolodge marks a conscious decision by the local Indian community to bow to the inevitability of tourism and also to profit by it, but in a way that reflects Cree culture and values and minimizes the invasiveness of outsiders." The Cree traditionally used all natural materials, living off the land and the sea. They took the same approach here, building the resort from local cedar, pine and hickory. Everything imported is organic, from the organic sheets to the all wool carpets. Natural ventilation, clivis multrum composting toilets and biodegradable soaps carry the eco theme to the final details. The architecture is less exciting- "they were very concerned about outsiders putting their own fingerprints on the site. It was important that it not be one of those "signature" buildings... every detail had to go through the steering committee." the plan appears to be conventional double loaded corridor and it has TV and high speed internet, which seem out of place when the goal is to slow down. Says manager Greg Williams: "The Cree are quiet and unobtrusive, never in your face. You need to be able to slow down, I always say, so the people here can see you. You come from a city and you vibrate at a different level."

You may see beluga whales swimming upriver or seals basking on the banks. Osprey hunt in the glow of the setting sun and there are bald eagles; if you're lucky, a golden eagle, too.

"The beauty of it is the remoteness," says Williams. "If you go five minutes up or down river, you're by yourself. You can stand on a piece of ground no one has ever stood on. Solitude.

"It's not Disneyland. You're not going from activity to activity. The Ecolodge is more being than doing.

"Moose Factory is a spiritual place. If people visit with the right attitude, then the things they need to happen ... happen. I see it all the time. " ::Cree Village Ecolodge via ::TheStar