Mere steps from bustling Yonge-Dundas Square, Elmwood Spa continues to be a welcome refuge for those seeking self-care in downtown Toronto.
A modern-day spa that offers some of the country's most superior pampering treatments, Elmwood Spa first opened its doors 35 years ago. It is housed in a historic building, once home to the city's original YWCA, a place where women were given shelter, taught job skills and became part of a community. And though it is a spa today, those inside its walls continue to focus on helping people.
Elmwood Spa's home, erected in 1889, was designed by Gordon & Helliwell Architects, the same firm that designed several of Toronto's most famous landmark structures, such as nearby Old City Hall, St. Paul's Anglican Church and Casa Loma.
In 2007, Elmwood Spa underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation, expanding the facilities to four floors of wellness and renewal options, with upgrades regularly made to the facility.
Consistently high-quality service has always been key to Elmwood Spa's continued success, and throughout its history, it has set standards in best practices in the spa industry.
Lidia Marjuszycz, an aesthetician who has been with Elmwood Spa for 26 years, has witnessed first-hand the increased awareness of self-care in the age of high stress. "When I started, there were only nine aestheticians and 12 massage therapists, and now we occupy four floors," she says. "Finally, Canadians are starting to recognize the need for physical self-care, but also the importance of the mental escape."
Elmwood's luxurious facilities include spacious change rooms, co-ed Water Therapies™ complete with swimming pool, whirlpool and steam room, a new manicure & pedicure area with 24 stations , a meditation room in a cathedral-like space on the top floor, and seven couples treatment rooms, two of which are suites with fireplaces and showers.
Dining options are diverse as well, and will help enhance the well-being of body, mind and soul. As well as a juice bar, which offers vitamin-rich, freshly made juices and light bites, the Terrace Restaurant on the fourth floor allows guests to indulge in a healthy spa-focused seasonal menu, including vegetarian and gluten-free options. Here, dining in your spa robe is not only allowed, it's encouraged. Housed in the same building as
Elmwood Spa is Bangkok Garden, the first restaurant in Toronto to offer a menu focused on Thai cuisine. Its diverse offerings include a buffet option during lunch.
Art on site is also an important aspect, engaging spa guests on another level, via a small curated permanent collection of the works of Canadian, American and Thai artists.
"We have the beauty of art in the facility," notes massage therapist Anthony Tran. "I feel proud to be part of Elmwood Spa. From the slippers to the robe to the overall service, the experience [we offer] is amazing."
This meticulous attentiveness to every aspect of the experience – from the front steps of the historic building to the state-of-the art facilities and sumptuous treatments – is what makes Elmwood Spa guests feel special, whether it's their first or 50th visit.
"I love my clients and the connection I make with them. You get to know them, their problems, and you get to have regulars coming back," says aesthetician Janet 'Rosalee' Ward, who has worked at Elmwood for 18 years.
"It's really great when you can truly help somebody," says registered massage therapist Ian 'Isaac' Vining, who's been with Elmwood Spa for nine years. "One of the benefits we have here is that we work with a lot of other massage therapists. Anytime I have a question or if I get stumped, it's nice to be able to confer with one another."
Fellow aesthetician Fariba Ghaderi agrees. "We try to treat guests like they're coming home. We're not just a service provider. We're family."
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