Elm­wood Spa cel­e­brates a rich his­tory of 35 years of service

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - GLOBE STYLE - This con­tent was pro­duced by The Globe and Mail’s ad­ver­tis­ing depart­ment. The Globe’s ed­i­to­rial depart­ment was not in­volved in its cre­ation.

M ere 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.”

‘We’re a fam­ily. If some­thing hap­pens to a col­league we try to help when­ever we can. And we try to treat guests the same way.’ Lidia Mar­juszycz Aes­theti­cian at Elm­wood Spa for 16 years.

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