Scandinavians have avoided The relaxing and detoxifying benefits of hydrotherapy have been around for hundreds of years, but thermal spas were relatively uncommon in Canada until recently. Over the past decade, dozens of Nordic spas—where guests cycle between hot and cold pools, saunas and steam rooms—have opened across Canada, many in the past year alone. While some of these projects were delayed due to the pandemic, others were born out of our newfound focus on mental health and self-care. These businesses, which promise a serene escape from the grind of everyday life, are prime for cash – the global spa industry is expected to reach US$118 billion by 2028.
Here, five new Nordic spas across Canada.
Nature Folk, the brainchild of partners Ashley Cluett, Kristen Morse, and Ana Tremblay, is located in a renovated former city-hall building in Dartmouth, NS. The 465-square-metre space was unveiled last August and is an expansion of their previous spa, which opened in 2019. Anchored by a communal bath facility, the new space also includes two large Finnish saunas, hot and cold plunge pools, and a movement studio. It was designed by the team at Halifax firm Hewn + Barter, which incorporated a mix of rugged and refined elements in earthy colors. Further expansion plans include an outdoor space for yoga and lounging.
The Spa on Q
A new 1,115-square-metre luxury spa opening in March 2022 at the Queen Hotel at Niagara-on-the-Lake’s historic 124. The spa at Q has a dry sauna, eucalyptus steam room, cold and hot pools, and sensory showers, but its most distinctive attraction is its “Snow Room”—a frosty indoor space with an imported Austrian snow machine mounted on the ceiling. Software professionals turned hospitality entrepreneurs David Jones and Nick Capasso aim to combine the benefits of Scandi-inspired spa services with Niagara’s natural bounty: they’re currently building a sprawling outdoor garden where local wines are enjoyed May go.
Mysa Nordic Spa & Resort
Mysa Nordic Spa & Resort, in St. Peters Bay, PEI, was designed to showcase views of the coast. Opened in December, it features 85-person thermal baths, a spacious mezzanine dedicated to meditation classes, and a restaurant headed by award-winning chef Seth Shaw. This year, it will add German Aufugus sauna ceremonies to its offerings—the ritual involves rhythmic towel waving that circulates essential oils in the air. Owner-operator Isaac Murphy grew up in the family-run Murphy Hospitality Group, which oversees several restaurants, boutique hotels and the Prince Edward Island Brewing Company. They aim to promote tourism in the province as well as provide an oasis for the local islanders.
Inspired by her Finnish grandmother, who had a sauna at her lake house in Ontario, Marci Hotsenpillar had the idea to bring the benefits of Scandi spa culture to Victoria. After being turned down by three lenders, Hotsenpillar secured funding to bring his $1.5 million vision to life and opened Ritual in February 2022. The spa focuses on the communal aspect of Finnish sauna culture and welcomes all genders to its circuit, which is made up of a steam room, a sauna, a cold plunge pool, a Himalayan salt lounge and a Nordic bucket shower.
Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs
At Whitehorse Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs, guests can gaze up at the northern lights while relaxing in a geothermal hot pool. Blending Scandinavian and Japanese self-care practices, there are saunas, steam rooms and cold fields beside onsen-style mineral-water pools created using hundreds of stone boulders. Originally set to open in mid-2020, the $8 million project, which was a decade in the making, welcomed its first guests last June and will soon be joined by a hotel and restaurant.