Built on the principle of respect for nature and culture, the Inn offers a contemporary take on an authentic Newfoundland aesthetic all while striving to minimize impact on the surrounding environment and uplift the local community via its social business model, allowing guests to be a part of the change.
The Inn is in fact a charitable initiative founded by Zita Cobb, who left the island to study business when the local fishing economy collapsed. Zita had a successful career in tech before feeling the draw of home. She founded the charity ‘Shorefast’ with her brothers to focus on revitalizing the local economy, carry deep-rooted cultural traditions and ways of knowing into modern times, and conserve native wildlife and ecosystems. Fogo Island Inn is one of their most well known initiatives.
All operating surpluses from the hotel are re-invested into the community, projects and programs to benefit the local population. At the Inn they have thought of everything; from the regenerative design principles used to construct the building to ensure minimal impact on the environment, to an 80/20 rule where 80% of products served in the restaurant are-sourced and grown locally. This includes berries that grow in barrens and bogs, edible plants plucked from the shorelines and woodlands, and vegetables and rhubarb fresh from the garden or overwintered in grass-topped root cellars. The menu changes regularly across each of the seasons and the exciting and nutrient-rich dishes each tell a culinary story about the planters, fishers, hunters and foragers who helped create it through modern methods and handed-down recipes.
The warm-hearted local staff will share stories on how the rooms are all individually designed with furniture and textiles created by friends and family at Fogo Island Workshops, handcrafted and produced on-island, engaging local artisans and makers in century old traditions and techniques.
What if everything you bought told you exactly where your money was going?
That is where the signature ECONOMIC NUTRITIONCM label comes in. It revolutionized the food industry when they originally appeared on food products allowing consumers to make conscious and informed decisions about their food choices. Now Shorefast and Fogo are trying to spark the same revolution with their ECONOMIC NUTRITIONCM labels. They believe that one of the strongest influences an individual can have is through their personal spending decisions, and they believe that consumers want to make purchasing decisions that positively impact people and planet. Unfortunately, information about where “the money goes” is rarely readily available and certainly not at the point of purchase. Here at Fogo Island Inn, the information provided by the ECONOMIC NUTRITIONCM label shows how your purchase impacts the local and global economy by detailing how the money you spend is distributed.
The brains and heart behind the impressive award-winning hotel structure is Fogo-Island born architect Todd Saunders. It was an eight-year process that involved dozens of people researching traditional approaches, materials and re-imagining them in contemporary expressions. They pioneered new design techniques and ensured ecological and sustainable systems were integrated from the beginning. The structure stands out but is explicitly tied to the place. The stilts, for instance, are inspired by the traditional fishermen houses of the Fogo Island community, built from wood so they could easily be dismantled when the winters came and the fishermen returned to Europe. Each one of the Inn’s 29 one-of-a-kind guest rooms and suites has dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto the wildest and most powerful ocean on the planet, and include their own pair of binoculars. It is now a centre point of both local and international art and design, and regularly hosts artist residencies either at the Inn or in their stunning art studios, dotted across the rugged island landscape.
What the Inn pioneers mainly is a different kind of luxury, where you feel immersed into a special and almost forgotten culture. But the best thing about coming all this way is how you’re made to feel so at home: guests are paired with charming “community hosts,” who show you around the island.
Fogo Island Inn invites guests to partake in a new kind of stay where community and sense of place are honoured and respected and where your money directly contributes to the well-being of one of Canada’s oldest European settled communities. It is an investment in a different way of thinking.