A Unique, Local-Inspired Nordic Spa Concept For Edmonton


From comprehensive plans announced today, a group of home-grown entrepreneurs have revealed an exciting vision to bring the city of Edmonton its own signature take on a Scandinavian-style, indoor-outdoor spa facility – by the year 2020. 

Promising to be carefully created with a distinct Edmontonian feel, the investors behind the project – to be named ‘Edmonton Nordic Spa’ – are fiercely passionate about bringing a four-season Nordic wellness experience to the heart of the city, one that equally complements its landscape, Edmontonian culture, and the local way of life. 

“This will be a world-class, four-season, destination-worthy facility and we’re confident it will be warmly embraced as a regular health and wellness routine for residents of the city and surrounding area,” says Hank Van Weelden, one of the entrepreneurs behind the project and Managing Partner of Edmonton Nordic Spa. 

Heading up a group of like-minded, Alberta-based investors, Van Weelden and some of his partners also happen to be the team that planned, built and launched Alberta’s first Nordic spa concept, Kananaskis Nordic Spa

Van Weelden continues: “As we’ve been developing plans with our partners over recent months and discussing how our vision for the facility will come to life, one piece that has become very clear is how we’re all 100% committed to Edmonton Nordic Spa looking and feeling exactly like Edmonton.  It’s got to have an authentic sense of the city at its core, a signature Edmonton experience.  We have always lived and done business here, so this is something that’s really important to us.”

The Nordic Spa practice, as a way of achieving full body and mind relaxation and recuperation, has been growing in popularity across Canada within recent years.  Based on the traditional Scandinavian approach to wellness, it follows the philosophy that moving between hot, warm and cold temperatures has numerous health benefits – known as hydrotherapy. 

The ownership group behind Edmonton Nordic Spa are confident that the increasing appeal of the Nordic Spa experience as wellness therapy as well as it being a relaxing leisure activity, will not only satisfy Edmontonians but will provide a draw into the city that can only benefit the regional economy. 

“We are very excited to have the Edmonton Nordic Spa come to our destination,” says Renee Williams, Director International Market Development, Tourism Edmonton.

“Edmonton Tourism’s reason for being is to promote our incredible destination, the products and experiences within, to visitors all over the world. Unique and breathtaking experiences like the Edmonton Nordic Spa will help our team sell the destination and inspire year-round travel.”

With the design concept being developed by Edmonton-based Dub Architects, those plans include the presentation of a facility spanning two acres and featuring three distinct areas of use: social, silent, and a group gathering space.  There will be a total of eight outdoor pools (hot, warm and cold variations, with waterfall characteristics), steam and sauna rooms, two dining options including a bistro, and several massage therapy treatment rooms – to complement the hydrotherapy experience. 

Michael Dub, Principal Architect, Dub Architects explains:

“We want this to be an experience that is deeply-rooted in its place, to complement the regional landscape.”

He continues: “The design of Edmonton Nordic Spa started by thinking about how guests will move around the space.  We took inspiration from the natural water flow and geological river formations along the North Saskatchewan River, and took note of how glacier water meanders down through the mountains and into the prairies. We are actively evoking the natural carvings that water makes into the regional landscape within this concept, to create a feeling of travelling upstream in the space while moving through the hydrotherapy cycle.”

As locally-based architects, well-established and ingrained into the city, Dub embarked on this project as one that needed to feel truly Edmontonian.

“The team thought a lot about how the Nordic spa practice relates to Canada, and to Edmonton.  For example, we knew it was important to not only have the typical solo / silent areas you’d expect to find in Nordic spa facilities for meditation and relaxation, but also to incorporate a social area for guests to communicate and connect with one another during their time there; we think residents, users and visitors to the heart of the city will enjoy this fusion of wellness and community at Edmonton Nordic Spa”, says Dub.

This understanding of how a tradition that is derived from Scandinavia translates to the rituals and tastes of Canadians is something Managing Partner Van Weelden is particularly passionate about.

With Van Weelden being a frequent user of Nordic spa facilities, visiting many across North America as a welcomed respite to a busy work schedule and the partaking in physical endurance programs, when the opportunity arose to create a Canadian take on the Scandinavian wellness tradition in Kananaskis Country, just one hour west of Calgary, he and his colleagues gladly took on the challenge – later introducing the Nordic Spa notion to Alberta (the Kananaskis facility opened to the public in March 2018).

“We’ve seen with immense satisfaction, our first spa project in Kananaskis become a great success – and so warmly welcomed by Albertans,” Van Weelden adds.

“We’re a city that has a vibrant, culturally-rich festival summer season, and we all know how long Edmonton’s winters can be. Taking the time to rejuvenate via the hydrotherapy cycle, all while outdoors – whether in the brisk temperatures or basking in the sunshine – is what the Nordic Spa is all about; Alberta was made for this concept. 

As we began plans for this project, we were greatly encouraged about the local appeal for a Nordic Spa facility by the results of The Edmonton Project last year, whereby the idea for a downtown public sauna spa next to the river in the downtown valley became the “People’s Choice.”  We think the city is ready for Edmonton Nordic Spa.  It’s time to bring an Edmontonian interpretation of this increasingly trending pastime to our city and start to make the very most of how we spend time within it – during each season.”

To keep updated on all the latest news and updates on Edmonton Nordic Spa as they are revealed visit: edmontonnordicspa.com