Dave's a past student of mine from Sir Sandford Fleming College (I've taught Environmental Issues there part-time for 19 years). After graduating he decided against a career in the outdoor field and joined the corporate world, working in sales. Ten years into it he gave up that life and made a drastic change to live off the grid, housed in a yurt, and run an outdoor education center/canoe guiding program. Wow.
Dave's lifestyle is nothing knew. I know quite a few individuals now that have moved to "off-the-grid" living. What they all have in common is that they never really try to push their lifestyle on anyone. They just inspire others to do the same by their actions alone. I truly respect that.
Dave was certainly a breath of fresh air for me. There he was in the hotel room getting pure enjoyment out of making use of the hair-dryer (1500 watts would be too much for his wind and solar charger back home) and the next minute he's arguing with the hotel shuttle driver for breaking the no-idling laws.
Dave's Alternative Learning Center is based in rural St. George, near Hamilton. On site there are two yurts (traditional Mongolian tents with timber frames and canvas walls); one as an office and model for sustainable living and the other a multi-use classroom. Both yurts are powered by alternative energy sources and come equipped with composting toilets. And when Dave's not living and preaching at his yurt site, he's off deep in the northern wilderness guiding youth groups on canoe trips.
The running joke of course shared all weekend amongst the Cottage Life and Explore gang was that Dave didn't really live in his yurt. The truth was that when all the kids went home and he was left all alone to the confines of his canvas dwelling, Dave would simply push a secret button to operate a secret elevator to his secret subterranean abode hidden below the floor of the yurt - equipped with a big screen TV, fancy stereo, full-stocked bar and all the hair-dryers one would ever wish for.