The Experience

The Maligne Lake Cruise has been providing visitors with the opportunity to discover the world-famous Spirit Island for over 60 years through interpretive boat cruises. Visitors can explore the lake from the comfort of glass-enclosed and heated cruise boats while a knowledgeable guide retells Maligne’s history and explains its geology, wildlife, weather, flora and fauna. 
 
Maligne Lake offers some of the most interesting and spectacular scenery found anywhere in the world. Iconically known for its beauty, Spirit Island is arguably one of the most photographed places in the Canadian Rockies. To meet the wants and needs of avid and amateur photographers alike, the Through the Lens Tour provides guests with the advice of a local, professional photographer. Additional time is given onshore at the far end of the lake to set up and photograph this incredible island.

History of Maligne Lake

The National Historic Sites and Monuments Board (NHSMB) has now added the Maligne Lake Chalet and Guest House to the illustrious, though short, list of National Historic Sites in Jasper National Park. The recent determination by the NHSMB that the Maligne Lake buildings are of national significance rests in the prominent role played by these log structures in the national parks of Canada and too, are illustrative of the central role of outfitters, guides and the competing interests of the railways in park development.
 
These rustic buildings were originally constructed by Jasper’s premier Guide and Outfitter, Fred Brewster and the Canadian National Railway in 1927. When these two buildings were first constructed they were surrounded by tents and hard-roofed guest cabins. This backcountry lodge rivalled the Jasper Park Lodge as the largest and most luxurious park accommodation. The architectural form of the lodge as well as its function are classic examples of the golden era of National Parks.

In 2011, the 43 year dereliction of these buildings ended with a million dollar rehabilitation that carefully restored the structures to their former glory. Once again accessible to the public, the site showcases National Park culture. 


Afternoon Tea is served at the Maligne Lake Chalet each afternoon throughout the summer months while the entire site may be booked for weddings or special events.

Environmental Stewardship

Aquatic Protection
Maligne Lake has taken steps to prevent and minimize the potential adverse effects of accidental spills of fuel and other hazardous materials in and around the lake. 
 
Enviro-tanks have been installed for fuel for cruise boats, at the diesel-powered generating station, and in the maintenance compound for bilge water and crankcase oil. These tanks are pumped out annually by a licensed recycling service. The fuel line from the boat fuel tank to the docks is a triple-containment line. The docks are equipped with floating, fuel-absorbing containment booms ready to be deployed immediately in the event of a spill. The docking piers at Spirit Island have been replaced. Tour boats and the generating station have been equipped with fuel spill kits. 
 
In 2004, Maligne Lake replaced the aging and inadequate toilet facilities at the Spirit Island viewing area with a leading-edge solar-powered sewage treatment system that provides advanced secondary treatment. The facility comprises a small, water-tight, fiberglass septic tank filled with an engineered textile material in which anaerobic bacteria breaks down the sewage.
 
The system is low maintenance, consumes very little energy, produces no activated sludge, and does not require a septic field. Wastewater from the visitor facilities at the north end of Maligne Lake is directed to an existing sewage lagoon, the existing capacity of which exceeds the current and forecast future demand.
 
There is no discharge of sewage to the environment from either the Spirit Island or Maligne Lake day lodge sewage facilities. 

Wildlife Protection
All on-site food and waste collection and storage facilities comply with applicable Parks Canada's regulations. The existing facilities at Maligne Lake provide animal-proof waste receptacles and blue boxes for collection of recyclables, including cardboard, tin, glass, and plastic. In addition, Maligne Lake staff collect litter around the parking lots and along park trails. Buckets for cigarette butt collection are available throughout the site.
 
Brewster Travel Canada respects the Environmentally Sensitive Site exclusion area established by Parks Canada around the Maligne Lake outlet for the protection of Harlequin Duck habitat. Brewster also provides interpretive content for visitors to encourage safe and responsible use and enjoyment of the wilderness, including an emphasis on respect for wildlife.

Lands Protection
Maligne Lake has been re-introducing native grasses in previously impacted areas; this will help to restore ecosystem integrity and improve the quality of wildlife habitat in the area. Brewster will continue to regularly maintain existing trail facilities in the area.
 
Solar-powered Sewage Treatment
In 2004, leading edge solar-powered technology replaced the manner in which sewage at Spirit Island had been handled for the past 80 years. 
 
At fourteen miles in length Maligne Lake is the largest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies. The pristine Spirit Island is located approximately two thirds of the way down Maligne Lake, accessible only by boat. Any sewage treatment assembly would therefore have to be low maintenance, low energy consumption, light-weight and sturdy while preferably generating no activated sludge and meeting extraordinarily high environmental standards whilst performing without a sewage field.
 
The solution? Leading edge solar-powered technology whereby sewage receives advanced secondary treatment in a water-tight, very small, fiberglass basin filled with an engineered textile material where anaerobic bacteria breaks down sewage. 
 
A 1500 gallon fiberglass septic tank was towed to the site aboard two canoes lashed together to create a barge. Half a million pounds of concrete was transported by boat and then poured by hand to create the foundation. Rocks and gravel were hauled to construct the wheelchair ramp; lumber, shingles, doors, windows, water tanks, pressure tanks, pumps, solar panels and a ton of batteries all were moved to the site without the assistance of a single power tool, barring a boat.
 
It was an exhausting, labour-intensive effort but now there sits on the shore near Spirit Island a showcase of environmental sustainability and a far more pleasant visitor experience.