Victoria Real Estate Updates and Trends

Nordic-style Sauna Facility set to Float on Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Take a look at this recently proposed floating Nordic-style sauna and wellness facility aimed to pamper residents and visitors along the Inner Harbour banks of the City of Victoria.

Dubbed Havn, a development plan by proponent Varm Experiences Ltd. in association with Havn Experiences Ltd. is conceptualized to position a 144-foot long vessel at Ship Point at the foot of Wharf Street near the lower causeway. According to Varm, the said facility is designed to “connect users with themselves, each other, and their city” hoping to make it an “immersive experience” destination.

Havn will include three types of pools – an ocean water pool, two freshwater pools, and three hot pools. Four saunas, together with indoor and outdoor spaces for relaxation and socializing, are also part of the plan. The facility will also be permitted to serve as a venue for special events, music performances, and speakers.

As stated in the application documents, “HAVN aims to connect its visitors with the sea, one of Victoria’s most precious natural resources.” “Not only is the space itself designed to encompass sweeping views of the Inner Harbour’s most iconic sites, but filtered and recirculated seawater features onboard allow patrons to connect and engage directly with the Pacific Ocean.”

Similar existing structures like those in Oslo (Norway), Montreal, Helsinki (Finland), and other various projects with parallel design and use are the inspiration for this concept, according to the proponents.

“Harbourside saunas have proven to be a successful means of revitalizing waterfronts around the world. They are also often paired to prolific effect with music, art expos, restaurants, cultural activities, and rest and relaxation, providing ample opportunities for patrons to enjoy the harbours and waterfronts on which they are situated,” Varm’s application states. “In Canada, saunas are seeing a surge in popularity as a health and wellness activity for physical, mental, and social well-being. In an age of increasingly digital existence, hydrotherapy is emerging across the country as a healthy way to bring people together in a uniquely non-digital space.”

Havn is quoted as an opportunity for the City of Victoria’s local economy to start afresh after the COVID-19 pandemic, and also as a beautifying addition to the already vibrant Inner Harbour. Applicants are proud to say that this project is in tune with the official community plan of the city, the goals for economic development and beautification of Ship Point set by the city hall, and Victoria’s ‘3.0 Recovery Plan’ which aims to promote economic opportunities for local small businesses.

However, it is currently not permitted under Ship Point’s municipal zoning to use floating saunas. Thus, the city is required to approve a special change to its zoning ordinance, in addition to permission for operations by the harbour authority.

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