You often see Chris Read, of Canadian Dad blog fame, smiling. But grinning from ear to ear? On a Saturday afternoon, the Ottawa father of two is positively beaming after a massage at Tay River Reflections in Perth. “It was outstanding,” he says, settling into a comfortable chair in the lounge. “Whew. That was great. I’m just totally chill.” Moments later there’s a cold beer on the table by his side. Chris’s wife Kristine looks happy too. Sporting sea-green toenails after a pedicure, she’s unwinding in the luxury of a tranquil setting and a group of contented people. The kids are at their grandparents’ and this mom and dad are relishing some welcome pampering at the spa destination that’s an hour from the city. And what a place it is.
Situated on a picturesque property at 279 Canal Bank Road, this haven in the countryside was once a horse stable. Over the past decade it has been transformed into a one-of-a-kind place for rejuvenation, wellness and pleasure. There’s an array of services and amenities, from spa treatments and medical aesthetics to a fitness centre and a physiotherapy clinic. Personal training, pre and post-natal fitness, nutritional counseling and weight-loss support, specialty classes and workshops are just some of the offerings at the fitness centre. At the spa, treatments run the gamut from registered massage therapy and facial/nail/body treatments to electrolysis, hypnosis and acupuncture. Medical aesthetics encompass state-of-the-art technology and range from antiaging treatments to hair removal and tinting.
And the newly added Tay River Aqua is really someplace special. In a fluffy white robe with her hair wrapped in a towel, Lorraine Decker is looking radiant as she pads down a bright indoor walkway to join her friend Carolyn Parker at one of the spacious outdoor hot tubs. A Nordic-style, year-round spa, Aqua also features gazebos, a dry sauna, a large patio, a fire pit and a tiki bar. During the colder months, the gazebos and the veranda are heated. Upstairs in the licensed lounge, as visitors tuck into freshly prepared food and refreshments, they’re surrounded by huge windows for looking out over nature. “It’s like being at a cottage,” says Chris Read. He’s still smiling. This spot offers respite from the hustle-bustle of daily life. It all started with Dr. Manuela Joannou, a local family doctor and mother of three. “I’ve always dreamed of having a destination for people and of helping them achieve their optimal health,” she explains. “This is a place where people cancome to be healthy and fit and happy and pampered and feel they are the best they can be.”
A graduate of the University of Ottawa, she opened Tay River in 1999 as a small spa in a Perth strip mall. Six years later the business was moved to this current location, with its pastoral outdoor spaces. The physiotherapy clinic was added in 2010, the fitness centre in 2011 and Aqua, the Nordic spa, was introduced in December of 2014. “We have a combination of services and programs that is quite unique,” says Dr. Joannou. “We really look at wellness from many different angles.”
She mentions the medically supervised weightloss program, the clinical hypnotherapist to help people conquer cravings and phobias, plus discussion groups, Mastermind Reflections days and a Take Control of Your Life series. Not only is Tay River Reflections a spot where people can achieve optimal physical health, they can also gain new perspectives and mindsets. “It’s all about finding peace and resilience,” the founder and medical director points out.
No wonder people seek this sanctuary. It’s a destination, says Orleans resident Lara Wellman. “You can come spend the whole day.” There are trails along the river for wandering or running, a couple of ponds with skating in the winter, plus all sorts of options for TLC and relaxation at any time. Couples, friends planning getaways, bridal parties, business groups and even teams and clubs can book day or evening sessions. You can also stay in Perth for a few days to experience all the spa and the historic community have to offer. (It’s worth noting TV Ontario has described Perth as the prettiest town in the province.)
For details, see tayriverreflections.com