Imagine: It’s 5 p.m. on a Friday night. You’re ready to unwind after a busy week, but drinking alcohol at a busy bar sounds far from relaxing.
Instead, you get into a comfy robe, grab a cup of herbal tea and enjoy indoor and outdoor downtime at HAVN Saunas — a floating park with saunas, hot and cold pools, and lush green space proposed for Ship Point in Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
In other words, you get a Friday night — or any night — that feels truly restorative.
According to Emily Deslaurier and Nick Van Buren, cofounders of HAVN Saunas, there’s a growing appetite for wellness experiences in the City. With establishments like RITUAL Nordic Spa opening last year, the pair believe that locals are looking for ways to slow down and connect with others, themselves and the environment — mindfully.
“We have such a cluttered life with phones and screen time,” says Van Buren. “People are realizing the value of slowing down and being more present.”
“People are tired and burnt out,” echoes Deslaurier. “HAVN is a place to restore.”
HAVN — pronounced haw-vin — means “harbour” in Norwegian, and is a nod to the sauna’s Nordic roots. While saunas are increasing in popularity in more remote destinations across Vancouver Island like in Cumberland and Tofino, the HAVN team wanted to create a downtown sauna experience, a place of calm within the city. Plus, the experience helps people incorporate wellness as part of their regular life, rather than something they solely prioritize on vacation.
So far, the team has received seed funding, secured a barge and are in the rezoning process with the City of Victoria to gain use of the space. If all goes according to plan, construction will begin September 2022, and the establishment will be open for business in late 2023.