wellness retreats

Three wellness retreats within a three-hour drive of Toronto

Heal the mind, body and soul in 2021

Natalie Preddie is a travel and lifestyle writer, speaker and guest expert on Cityline, Your Morning and Global’s The Morning Show.

January famously brings resolutions, usually centred around bettering oneself. This year, it may be best to forgo the resolutions that will likely be tossed aside in a few short weeks and instead focus on healing our minds, bodies and souls from the disaster that was 2020.

Wellness travel has substantially increased over the past few years with yoga retreats, meditation camps and active escapes popping up all over the globe. Although we currently can’t travel to far off destinations for these unique getaways, Ontario offers a whole host of nourishing, rejuvenating, wellness retreats in stunning settings, all within driving distance of Toronto.

Grail Springs

This award-winning spa has been named Canada’s best wellness retreat (four years in a row) for a reason. Located five kilometres from Bancroft, Grail Springs is built on top of mineral-rich earth. It is said that the Alkaline-rich waters from the aptly named Chalice Lake bring purity and vitality to the resort, providing many on-site springs.

What sets Grail Springs apart is its commitment to integrating mind, body and spirit, ensuring guests experience and achieve balance in their life and leave armed with the skills to maintain harmony in their day-to-day lives.

This January, Grail Springs has a winter of wellness package offering discounts on nightly rates and spa treatments. Guests can book stays that range from two to 21 days and partake in activities such as yoga, meditation, hiking, canoeing and Grail Springs’s thermal spa circuit. Delicious plant-based meals are on the menu, with healthy elixirs, teas and snacks also on hand. In the evenings, workshops and guest speakers cover topics such as soundscape circles, music meditation for the soul and crystal connections.

The luxurious spa offers nourishing treatments that allow guests to relax, de-stress and re-energize through reiki, axiatonal alignment and energy balancing. Traditional therapies such as facials, body wraps and scrubs and massage are also available, as well as more exploratory private or group journeys that involve drum circles, crystal bowl sound or emotional bonding. The facility is also following all provincial guidelines regarding COVID-19.

Sugar Ridge 

Sugar Ridge Retreat Centre is an all-natural, environmentally friendly experience located in Wyebridge, Simcoe County. Sugar Ridge’s mission is to provide a space where everyone is free to be themselves and nourish their body, mind and soul. Family-owned and -operated Sugar Ridge is a unique and intimate getaway that prides itself on four pillars: wellness, equality, kindness and integrity.

Whether you’re looking for an individual getaway or a group retreat, Sugar Ridge can accommodate all of your needs, and the expansive property means that social distancing is easy. Meals are plant-based, vegan and gluten-free, and mindful eating is practised.

This is truly an all-season escape with programming and unique getaways planned all year round. This January, enjoy the Yoga & Ski: Ditch Some Stress weekend and reconnect with yourself through meditation, yoga, de-stressing techniques and some outdoor winter activity. Or perhaps you need some space to think, rejuvenate and reflect with Sugar Ridge’s Silent Weekend Meditation. Meditate, stretch; nourish your body with food, sleep and books; and immerse yourself in nature on this “no talking” weekend. All spa offerings are dependent on COVID-19 status, so keep that in mind when booking.

Sweetgrass Spa

If you don’t have time to physically get out of the city, Sweetgrass Spa is waiting to whisk you away for some pampering and relaxation — for at least the day. This luxurious, award-winning space in the heart of Toronto on Queen Street East is a women-only spa. It is operating at a reduced capacity during the pandemic, with only eight guests at a time.

Sweetgrass focuses on women’s overall well-being, offering exclusive and refreshing signature treatments such as their Ayurvedic Shirodharra, a massage and acupuncture technique that releases tension, congestion, emotional stress and stimulates collagen production, as well as the signature Swedish massage. When restrictions lift, the spa will once again offer its unique facials. The spa is enforcing mandatory masks and all guests must sign a COVID health check waiver when they arrive.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO