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5 Ways to Heat Up in Canada

Not heading south this season? Don’t sweat it. Here are 5 hot ways to catch the warming trend close to home.

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1. Water Spa

What it’s like: Water spas are a growing trend, so Google to find one in a major city near you. At Toronto’s Body Blitz Spa, patrons participate in an hour-long water circuit, soaking in therapeutic waters such as a warm saltwater pool, a hot green tea pool and a eucalyptus-infused steam room. Rounding out the circuit are an infrared sauna, cleansing showers and an icy cold plunge pool. Most of your time is spent in tropical warmth, including lounging by the saltwater pool with smoothie in hand.

Who it’ll appeal to: Those who crave steamy heat, minus the mosquito bites. “Body Blitz is a downtown oasis for me. I pop in after work because the water, the steam and the total atmosphere just melts the day away for me,” says avid spa-goer Sigrun Wister, of Toronto.

“Travel” tip: Some water spas are co-ed and some are not. Women’s spas may be swimsuit optional. These facts are good to know before you get there.

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2. Thermal Hot Springs

What it’s like: Vancouver Island isn’t renowned for its heat. But that’s only if you don’t know where to go. If you’re in Tofino, take a water taxi to Hot Springs Cove at Maquinna Provincial Park and you’ll be soaking in pristine, thermal waters within an hour. The mineral-rich H2O bubbles up through the earth, travels down cliff crevices, and collects in rock pools where the incoming surf from the Pacific Ocean cools it to a toasty 47C. This constant water exchange keeps the thermal springs clean and clear.


Who it’ll appeal to: Nature lovers who want to enjoy their hydrotherapy amid the natural splendor of Clayoquot Sound.


“Travel” tip: The water temperature is consistent year-round so consider going in fall or winter if you want a less touristy, private experience.

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3. Virtual Beach

What it’s like: The pure, penetrating heat of the sun – minus the harmful UV rays. A gentle breeze caressing your face – minus hurricane season. Your toes in the sand – minus sand fleas. Experience it all at a virtual beach.

“It’s an incredible experience, a really full-body sensation” says Eric Pflanzer, president of Soleira Sun, of the light and heat generated by the virtual beaches he hopes to build across Canada and the US.

For now, the only way to enjoy this great escape is to be – or to finagle an invitation from – a resident of the Les Verrières Du Golf retirement community in Montreal, the first facility in Canada to get its own permanent Soleira Sun virtual beach.

Not so lucky? Sit tight, says Pflanzer. The technology, a groundbreaking combination of proprietary lighting that offers intense warmth minus dangerous UV rays (no sunscreen required), sand, sound scapes, fans, and island-inspired murals, could be making its way to a public swimming pool, rec centre, condo development or nightclub close to you as early as Fall 2010.

Who it’ll appeal to:
Sun worshippers of all ages. Because the solar experience can be tailored to offer various time-of-day settings, from sunrise through peak sun, to a glorious red sunset, virtual beaches can be tailored to appeal to different demographics. Club goers can party at sunset à la Ibiza, while families can enjoy a mid-afternoon romp on Daytona Beach.


“Travel” tip: Tired of waiting for a permanent installation? Keep your eyes peeled for temporary ones. Soleira Sun created a virtual beach club at the 2009 IIDEX NeoCon design show.

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4. Hot Yoga

What it’s like: “What’s it like? It’s hot!” enthuses hot-yoga practitioner Sonja Babic, of Etobicoke, Ontario. Babic has been attending Moksha yoga classes at her neighbourhood studio for the past two years and prefers it to regular yoga, which she started five years ago.

“Some teachers put the heat up to 39C, while others might crank it to 42C. Going through the moves in the heat feels great, like you’re detoxing your body. I love the feeling because I love heat and hot weather,” says Babic.

Hot Bikram and Moksha yoga studios are in towns and cities across our cool country, so search online to find one near you.


Who it’ll appeal to: Yoga bunnies who can’t get away to India for a steamy retreat. “My mind feels a lot clearer after class,” says Babic. Give hot yoga a try and it may function as a “reset” button during a busy week.


“Travel” tip: Don’t push it. Leave the heated studio and cool off in the hall if you feel faint mid-class.

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5. Butterfly Conservatory

What it’s like: An indoor conservatory offers up thousands of tropical butterfly species inside a climate-controlled greenhouse. Enjoy the humid warmth amid lush rainforest plants.

The Insectarium de Montreal often has butterfly exhibits in its greenhouse. The Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory boasts a waterfall pool full of large koi, as well as a glassed-in display where visitors can see butterflies emerging from their pupae. Butterfly World & Gardens in Coombs, BC features an orchid display, as well as lizards and turtles.


Who it’ll appeal to: Everyone. (Who doesn’t love butterflies?!) And if you’re a traveler jonesing for, say, your next trip to Central America, seeing blue morphos and zebra longwings flitting about may tide you over till your next trek.


“Travel” tip: Avoid busy holidays unless you want to be tripping over small kids and crowds of aspiring nature photographers.