Somewhere between a tent and a cabin is an oTENTik — and you’ll be able to camp in one soon at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site.
The made-in-Canada camping structure has been sprouting up since last year throughout the Parks Canada system.
The oTENTik — the name was created by manufacturer Biome-Canada — features a tent-like exterior along with a wooden floor and walls.
It’s touted as just the thing for the camping neophyte or for someone who wants to take some of the “rough” out of roughing it.
“What we’re really doing is introducing people to camping for those who want it,” said Fort Rodd Hill site manager Matthew Payne.
“We’ve also had a lot of interest from families with grandparents who want to camp but don’t necessarily want to get down on the ground anymore.”
Construction has just been completed on five oTENTiks, each with a view of Esquimalt Harbour. Members of the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations were part of the work crew.
Payne said the structures offer “turn-key camping,” including beds, chairs and a table, as well as fire pits and two to three shared barbecues. There’s no indoor plumbing, though. Bathrooms are across the main field and arrangements have been made for campers to use showers at the nearby Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre.
A camping host will be on the grounds at all times.
Each structure cost about $10,000 and is designed to hold a maximum of six people. A wharf is available for campers with boats.
The new setup will be open to the public from May 17 to Labour Day, giving campers overnight access to beaches and other natural surroundings of the fort, which was built in 1878 and remained in use until 1956. Last year, the historic site drew 50,000 visitors.
“Since the soldiers left in ’56, there’s really been no overnight stays here,” Payne said. “This place is magical at night. Because it was a hidden fort, there’s no lighting, so you get the dark skies. You really can see the stars.”
The Fisgard Lighthouse is also there, he said, and the site’s 18.7 hectares includes a trail system.
“It’s an experience you can’t get anywhere else.”
The oTENTiks have been popular at other sites and have already been generating considerable interest at Fort Rodd Hill, Payne said.
“My little boy wants to have his birthday there.”
Cost for an overnight stay is $120, plus a small site fee. For reservations, call 250-478-5849 or email email@example.com.
© Copyright 2013