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Nordic Tradition in Canadian Plaid

By Calli Naish

Tall trees and taller mountains: there couldn’t be a more perfect backdrop for Alberta’s first Nordic Spa. Nestled so comfortably in the Rockies that it seems like it has been there all along, the Kananaskis Nordic Spa combines elements of relaxation with the healing properties of water to create a spa experience unlike any other. The best part? You can stay ALL DAY LONG!

Hot tub with a view

Relax in the Spa Lodge

Founded in the Kneipp tradition of hydrotherapy, the spa features a series of outdoor pools of varying temperatures. You begin in a hot pool, then move to a natural pool slightly above body temperature, followed with a quick dip in the cold plunge pool before doing it all over again. This heat-cool-repeat cycle is designed to stimulate circulation and detox the body. The spa’s laid-back atmosphere, however, means there is nothing keeping you from spending all your time in the hottest tub or lounging in the salt-water float pool.

Hot Pool and Heated Robe Station

Hot Pool 

Cool Plunge Pool 

The spa also features Finnish, Barrel and Banya saunas, heated hammocks, social fire areas, and two steam cabins. The Eucalyptus Steam Cabin will use eucalyptus oils and the Alchemist Steam Cabin will offer a series of aromatherapy oils to compliment the changing seasons. There will also be an exfoliation cabin (not open at the time of this post) where you can rejuvenate your skin through self-exfoliating aromatic salts.

Finnish Sauna 

Barrel Sauna 

The spa is designed to accommodate everyone. Those who thrive on social energy may join in the company of others on the social side of the spa; however, those who are interested in meditative healing may enjoy the waters of the quiet pools or while adrift in the float pool (to be completed this summer).

Comfort in the Spa Lodge

The Spa Lodge has eight treatment rooms (and two couples’ rooms) where you can book a deep tissue, hot stone, or relaxation massage. The lodge is also home to the Spa’s Bistro where you can sip and savour with a view of the mountains.

Champagne in the Spa Lodge

The Relaxation Lodge, which will open in the summer, allows you to pair healing water therapies with mental recovery (which we could all use a little more of). There will be a dream lounge, a meditation labyrinth, heated lounge chairs with personal music stations, and finally, a 30-person yoga studio complete with aerial silk hammocks that yoga enthusiasts will appreciate .

The Spa Lodge and Bistro

The spa sells natural and sustainable beauty products by [comfort zone]. Currently, two lines are available (Skin Regimen and Tranquility), with plans to include more product lines as time goes on. Additionally, [comfort zone] Aromasoul oil blends will be featured within the spa treatment rooms and lodge.

Skin Regimen by [comfort zone]

Tranquility by [comfort zone]

Creating a “hot tub with a view” may have been the original goal for the spa renovation, but the Kananskis Nordic Spa has become so much more. Spa creators, Hank van Weelden and Jennifer Buckler, speak with such passion about their vision for the Knordic Spa that it is clear the project is a labour of love. Every detail has been curated to create an environment of true Canadian hospitality. So forget the typical spa stuffiness and slip into a guest robe designed in Canadian plaid. The tartan represents the four seasons in Canada, and the spa creators hope that you will embrace each of these seasons with equal fervor.

Canadian Plaid Robes

It’s all in the details

Planks made from trees felled at the site

Live edge wood adds to the rustic atmosphere of the spa

Founded on tradition, built of trees felled at its site, and immersed in Rocky Mountain culture, the Kananaskis Nordic Spa is designed to accommodate everyone by providing an atmosphere of collective healing and regeneration. Outside, the pools and buildings blend into the surrounding scenery seamlessly; inside, you are welcomed by the smell of cedar and the calm of a modern, yet rustic, communal space. Plaid robes, mountain air and Nordic knowledge: it is a place of mental and physical recovery enjoyed equally during the cold Canadian winter or in the short mountain summer.

Fireplace in the Spa Lodge

Phase 1 of the Knordic Spa is complete and will be open on weekends with most amenities available.

Phase 2 will be completed this summer.

Fitness & Spas in Banff & Canmore

Feb. 28, 2016
By Where Writers

Elevation Place

Elevation Place

Drop in to Get Fit
Start your day in Banff with an invigorating Early Bird Yoga vinyasa flow class at Sally Borden Fitness & Recreation, Wednesdays 6:45 to 7:45 am. Dynamic instructor (and local yogis’ favourite) Erin Evans leads. In Canmore, the Wednesday Sweat & Sculpt class, 6:45 to 7:30 pm at Elevation Place, is challenging, results-focused and fun. Rotating instructors put their own spin on sessions. Fees ($13/$15) include gym and pool use.


3 Sweet Canadian Rockies Spas

By Whitney Oliver & Jen Groundwater


Treat Your Feet

Achy feet benefit from a Hikers Foot Therapy massage at The Spa at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise that zeroes in on foot, shin and calf muscles to relieve tension from the trails.

The Mountain Mint Pedicure at Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Banff Springs beautifies and nourishes feet and legs with an exfoliating scrub, massage, paraffin treatment and polish. Both spas offer foot grooming for men with nail work, massage and soak or scrub to get feet looking and feeling good.


8 Luxurious Calgary Spas

(Photo: courtesy Stillwater Spa)

(Photo: courtesy Stillwater Spa)


It’s always a good time to treat yourself. Get pampered in style at one of these eight first class spas.

Stillwater Spa
Located in the downtown Hyatt Regency hotel, the spa’s historic sandstone construction and luxury amenities give it a resort retreat feel. The facility features steam rooms, whirlpools and a lounge. Group, individual and couples treatments are available. (more…)

5 Spas To Get You Ready for the Weekend

Pamper yourself at one of Calgary’s luxurious inner city spas. Photo: Sante Spa.

With the weekend just around the corner, urbanites on the go can book some last-minute weekend pampering at one of Calgary’s numerous inner-city spas. Check out our top 5 picks for the most luxurious massages, facials, pedicures, manicures, waxing and more in the downtown area.


Hot Shopping: Rock Your Body at Iyashi Bedrock Spa

An innovative new way to gain rest and rejuvenation has come to Toronto in the form of Iyashi Bedrock Spa, the first Japanese ganbanyoku spa in North America. The unique facility promotes rock bathing—spa guests lie on body-sized heated slabs of imported black silica, which release far infrared rays and negative ions to help detoxify the body. The 60-minute treatment ($47.50 to $59.50) relieves aches and pains and promotes an overall feeling of healthfulness. The spa also offers hot yin yoga classes—on heated stone beds, of course—and registered massage therapists offer appointments individually, or before or after a rock session.

Sweet Serenity

courtesy The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Soothe and smooth dry skin with a signature Sweet Maple Body Treat at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Reflections Spa. B Kamins compounds with conditioning Bio-Maple leave skin hydrated and incredibly soft. An exfoliating maple-sugar body scrub is followed by a cocoa and shea butter wrap and light massage. The relaxing scalp treatment is the cherry on top. By Lisa Stephens

Cover Feature: Romancing Winnipeg

Along with love, romance conjures up thrilling feelings of mystery, excitement and remoteness from everyday life. Discover Winnipeg’s memorable escapes that engage all five senses in simple, yet extraordinary ways.

Historical beauty

A stunning fixture in the city’s riverside skyline and an important piece of local history, St. Boniface Cathedral takes your breath away when lit up at night. Four spotlights brighten the cathedral’s beautiful French Romanesque façade and walls, which remain from the previous basilica ravaged by fire in 1968. Since 1832, four cathedrals have stood on this site in the heart of Winnipeg’s Francophone community. Whether taking a postcard-worthy photo or leaning in for a midnight kiss, this St. Boniface attraction is magical when the sun goes down.

St. Boniface Basilica. Photo courtesy of Travel Manitoba.

Dream Homes

The city’s historical character shines in the tucked away residential area of Armstrong’s Point, home to some of the city’s most stately real estate. The neighbourhood is located east of the Maryland Bridge off Cornish Avenue. Enter this secluded area by one of three streets: Westgate, Middlegate and Eastgate. It was developed as a retreat for wealthy families in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Strap on your best walking shoes and bring a camera to capture the eye candy. Imagine the grandeur lifestyle of yesteryear as striking wrap-around porches, half-circle driveways, stately columns and turrets are featured on these mega palaces. It’s a walk designed to inspire a picture of your own future dream home.

Sweet Scenery

On a hot summer day nothing beats the heat quite as sweetly as a luscious hot fudge sundae rolling over the tongue. The best spot in the city to devour one is the Bridge Drive-In, or as locals call it, BDI. Families with wee ones in tow, couples on dates and groups of hungry teens eagerly line up at this nostalgic ice cream stand that has been serving up creamy delights sprinkled with nuts, sticky sauces, fresh fruit and more since 1957. As you dive into your treat of choice, stroll across the Elm Park walking bridge crossing the banks of the Red River and take in the serenity of this quiet residential neighbourhood with the sounds of the river rushing and the wind rustling leaves on trees.

Bridge Drive-In. Photo by Chronic Creative.

Serenity Spas

Surrender your senses to luxurious pampering at the city’s top spas. Using the traditional Turkish hot air bathing ritual, Ten Spa’s hamam treatment is the ultimate for washing away daily stresses. Before stepping in, take advantage of the lounge where you can curl up on private leather seating, draw the sheer curtain and relax in your own secluded spot of bliss. After savouring fragrant mint tea and a cube of sweet Turkish delight, guests are whisked into a dim, tiled room with a twinkling ceiling and ambient music. Lay back on a heated slab of marble and prepare for a sensory explosion as attendants alternate between gently splashing warm and cool water in this heated bathing room.

Feet are one of the most sensitive areas of the body. There is no better way to pamper and prep your tootsies for sandal season with the “deserving thyme foot therapy treatment” at the newly renovated Riverstone Spa located at Inn at The Forks. Enjoy a sea salt soak and kick back with your feet up in a zero gravity chair. As you relax with a warm eye pillow and aromatherapy, estheticians polish, file and apply creamy moisturizers to bust the toughest calluses. Soak in the heat from hot towels and a peppermint foot and leg massage at the endguaranteed to put a spring in your step.

Hamam treatment at Ten Spa.

In Bloom

Whether enjoying the fragrance of lavender, the silkiness of a rose petal, or the vibrancy of a tulip, a leisurely stroll through the indoor and outdoor gardens at Assiniboine Park is a feast for all senses. Visit the Conservatory year-round, where floral displays constantly change, featuring fragrant lilies and hydrangeas in May and June, along with other plant life. In these warmer months, browse the English gardens abloom with the first flowers of the season: tulips, daffodils, peonies, lilacs, snapdragons, poppies, lavender, pansies, viola and even early roses in late June if weather cooperates. Tulips and topiary decorate the enchanting new children’s garden opening mid-May.

Top Views

Spectacular 360-degree views of the city are found at the top of the six-storey glass observation tower at The Forks Market—it’s hard to know where to look first. Gazing west, downtown’s glass and steel landscape reflects the brilliant sunlight of Manitoba’s clear blue skies. The future home of the Canadian Museum For Human Rights sits north as construction crews work like busy bees on this anticipated landmark. Long strands of train cars go clickety clack on the winding rails surrounding The Forks and adjacent Union Station. Make your way down to the trails hand in hand with a loved one and feel the crunch of red gravel with each step. Take the pedestrian bridge over the rushing Red River and head to the opposite river bank for a unique perspective of the bustling Forks Market.

Winnipeg Dance Cooperative presents Friday Night Dance Hall. Photo courtesy of Enigma Dance Factory.

Move and Groove

As the pulsating rhythms of Latin music blare from the speakers, the mood is set for an upbeat eve of dancing. Winnipeg’s varied dance scene reflects current dance trends. Swing and sway your hips at several drop-in salsa dancing sessions around the city—no partner required. At the grand ballroom of Ted Motyka Dance Studio (460 Main St, 989-0704, $8 per lesson offered Tuesday and Wednesday), beginners learn the passionate steps of salsa and other Latin dances in this majestic space. Dancers in the know flock to Friday Night Dance Hall presented by the Winnipeg Dance Cooperative. Slink into the tango, shimmy to swing and kick your heels up to country among a wide range of different dance styles in a fun, sociable group setting (Nafro Dance Studio, 109 Pulford St, winnipegdancecoop.org for schedule, $7 cover). Two one-hour lessons precede an open practice to show off your new moves and twirl into the night.

Showcase Spa

Relaxing in the rock accented Spa Lounge

The history of Canada’s national parks began with a spa. But the luxurious, $6.7 million, 10,000 square foot Spa at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge bears little resemblance to Banff’s rustic Cave & Basin of the 1880s. Built to be an oasis of rejuvenation, the Fairmont spa includes water flowing over tiered rock reminiscent of Athabasca Falls, sculpted pine panels representing tree lined trails, and a fireside great room (shown) with rustic accents. Ten treatment rooms, two couples rooms, rain showers, hydrotherapy baths, steam rooms and saunas and myriad offerings of spa treatments entice those seeking relaxation.—JN

Weekend Roundup: May 21 to 24

The Victoria Day long weekend marks summer’s unofficial start in the picturesque Muskoka region. Take your pick amongst concerts, shopping, spas and dining events that are sure to make your stay memorable!

Friday: Jim Cuddy and his Blue Rodeo bandmates hit the Kee to Bala stage (photo by Alison Cathrae)

Friday, May 21
Fulfill your lifestyle goals while perusing the many health, food, fashion and home decorating products and services at the Muskoka Lifestyle Show, running all weekend long. Door prizes and free gifts for the first 50 visitors are offered every day.

Rush out to catch Blue Rodeo at the Kee to Bala concert hall and discover for yourself why they’re one of Canada’s most beloved bands.

Saturday, May 22
Breathe in the fragrance of fresh produce at the Bracebridge Farmers Market. Browse the various stands, speak with the local vendors and choose from a wide variety of tantalizing fruits, vegetables and local delights.

Make a return trip to the Kee to Bala as Xavier Rudd & Izintaba top off the Victoria Day weekend with a concert hosted by Jesse Penwright, and featuring special-guest opener Justin Nozuka.

Sunday: Relax on Lake Rosseau

Sunday, May 23
Re-create the cottage experience at the Cottage Waterfront Grill. Bask on the dockside patio while indulging in your choice of pizzas, pastas, steaks and fish dishes.

Feel like a queen at the Spa at the Rosseau. Enjoy a view of Lake Rosseau while indulging in a massage, manicure, pedicure, facial or hair treatment.

Monday, May 24
Celebrate Victoria Day with a plethora of activities at Deerhurst Resort: rent a fishing boat, participate in a family scavenger hunt, stroll a scenic trail, or play a round on one of two excellent golf courses. To end the day, several dining options offer sustenance, including upscale Eclipse with a view of Sunset Bay and the lobby bar with extensive martini options, wines and light entrées.

Enjoy the cozy cottage feel of Spencer’s Tall Trees. The restaurant offers a lovely view of Hunter’s Bay, plus regional delicacies and an award-winning wine list.

Spa Escapes

Travellers can slough off tired skin and spring into shape at these eight picks for top-to-toes relaxation.

Hammam Spa

SETTING This cavernous paradise exudes old-world opulence with lavish steam rooms and private suites.
SIGNATURE TREATMENT Signature Hammam Ritual ($40 per visit, complimentary with other treatments totalling $100 or more). Rejuvenate and detoxify your body with the traditional Turkish steam infused with refreshing essential oils.
PAMPERING PICK Pamper Package ($340 for 3.5 hours) includes a Hammam steam, body scrub, Swedish massage, manicure and pedicure.
OTHER SERVICES Facials, microdermabrasion, body exfoliating treatments, couples’ massages.

SETTING For women only, this haven offers a luxurious space with access to an ozonated swimming pool, whirlpool, infrared sauna, and spa dining from George Restaurant.
SIGNATURE TREATMENT Lomi Lomi massage ($125 for an hour). A stylized Hawaiian treatment that means “loving hands,” this intuitive massage uses gentle flowing strokes, coaxing the body to relax.
PAMPERING PICK The Rose Sweetgrass Pause Package ($334 for 3 hours and 15 minutes) includes an aromatherapy facial, massage, manicure and pedicure, and lunch with wine.
OTHER SERVICES BodySong massage, facials, manicures and pedicures.


Aromatic Cures

Spa Products from Mountain Wellness Day Spa

Mountain Wellness Day Spa’s Kirsten Boisvert hand blends organic aromatherapy oils in 12 formulations. Some scents help with mental and physical ailments, while others promote harmony and balance. These fragrant oils are used during the spa’s massage and facial treatments, and can be purchased ($15.50, $18.50). At home, add drops to your bath, dab on the skin or mix with coconut oil ($18.50) to make a massage blend. You heat the oil in a diffuser ($21.50) to scent a room.