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Featured Public Saunas

It is an exciting time to be a fan of the sweet heat. Public saunas are popping up everywhere as communal bathing is enjoying a spectacular renaissance. This section will explore a selection of public saunas - new and old - examining both their physical beauty and inner charms. 

Author's note: as I live in Toronto, we will begin there and perhaps disproportionately feature local saunas, at least in the beginning. Not to worry however; there is currently a public sauna craze happening with no less than 12 large public saunas or sauna spas that have either opened recently or are in development within a 2-hour drive of Toronto. 

Othership - Toronto, Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

This might be the place that started it all. By all  mean the recent wave of public sauna projects in Toronto. Othership is a 3,000 square foot social bathhouse with ice baths, tea lounge and a 40-person sauna.

 

The facility opened in January 2022 with the purview of providing an alternate space for the downtown club and bar crowd where they could enjoy a similar social environment but without alcohol. Othership has been consistently full since opening (upwards of 300 customers per day) and has now opened a second location in Toronto, with third and fourth locations coming in 2024 in New York, NY. In total they plan to open 20 locations across North America within the next 5 years.

The original Othership has a dark, modern design aesthetic and reminds me of a swanky cocktail lounge or wine bar. The sauna runs at about 80C (176F), has 10 foot ceilings and easily fits 40 sauna bathers. There are 4 ice baths, each one accommodating 2 people with temperatures of approximately 3C (37F). There is a social "bar" area that serves tea and other botanical beverages for communing during and after your rounds.  

During my several visits to Othership I found a place brimming with energy and positive vibes and  full of  folks in their 20s and 30s all happily sweating together. There are both aufguss and other breath work classes led by trained facilitators as well as "free flow" come and go as you please time slots. 

 

Othership will run you about USD40 for a 75-minute timed session and if I had a quibble with it it would be that an hour and a quarter is not nearly long enough to truly immerse into a free flow session of several sauna rounds and plunges, never mind having time to relax in the social area afterwards. Nevertheless, I can highly recommend Othership as a truly unique sauna experience, especially for novices. 

Of interesting note, since Othership's opening several other similarly sized new urban sauna spas have either opened or are in the design/development stage (at least 6).

Learn more about Othership here.

Othership, a social bathhouse and sauna in Toronto.
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