Local Travel Report: Arcana Brings a Sense of Purpose and Awareness

There’s been a shift in how we rest and recharge. More of us are seeking unique experiences and meaningful stays. No doubt that the pandemic had many of us look inwards. And I mean, not just learning and understanding ourselves but also our surroundings. How incredible is this land we call home? Our team has explored more places within Canada in these past few years and more than ever before. What we’ve discovered is distinctly Canadian and awe-inspiring equally deserving of some of the most beautiful, and mindful, destinations of the world. We are excited to learn about the latest property, arcana.

What arcana brings is a sense of purpose and awareness. You may have seen these mirrored cabins on social media or travel magazines. Curiously placed in nature that seems futuristic, dreamy, and grounded all at once.

The word “arcana” (noun) means secrets or mysteries.

When they opened the first property in 2021 there was a clear vision of what the founders wanted this place to be. “A setting that encouraged relaxation, playfulness, and curiosity for guests to ground themselves and explore both the natural setting and the self,” said Felicia Snyder, co-founder of arcana.

She also tells us that it is also a bridge between the modern world and the wild. “…an invitation to return to nature. Science has shown that time spent in nature has a profound impact on our well-being. We were inspired to create an experience to connect guests more deeply to their surroundings.”

And they see this as a much-needed tool for improved mental health and wellbeing. By designing a fully immersive experience in the heart of the Canadian wilderness, arcana looks to unlock the restorative superpowers of nature for their guests.

The first location for arcana opened in Collingwood during covid. A challenging time for all and like most, they had to adjust and thoughtfully move forward. Initially, they wanted to create a small indoor space to bring together guests on property as a way to facilitate community and connection. They had to pivot instead to a system where guests booked the space to ensure they had private use and that there was ample time for cleaning between bookings.

“Nonetheless, the pandemic for us really reinforced our mission and purpose. The mental health crisis that exists only deepened. Nature and time in nature as a tool to recalibrate is ever the more important,” said Snyder.

arcana - muskoka

There are many beautiful elements to arcana and sound is very much part of the experience. “Sound and vibration offer immense benefits and possibilities when it comes to altering state of mind,” says Snyder. “We particularly like leaning into these mediums because they also can be enjoyed entered from a screen.”

They tell us they’ve worked with an incredible sound practitioner from upstate New York, Josh Peck, to create custom binaural audio journeys for the guests which are available through the surround sound speakers in the cabins. Peck also recorded the sounds of nature on the arcana property which is featured on their recently released “Sounds of arcana” vinyl (available at findarcana.com).

“The unique vinyl offers a sound journey through the dualities of nature, serene whispers of ice on one side and melodies of wilderness on the other taking the listener on both the signature arcana sleep and sound journeys at home,” said Synder.

They’ve also curate a seasonal selection of vinyls which are available to listen to in their analog lounge located on the property. Four to five artists are featured each season.

Snyder tells us the sounds of nature provide a very grounding experience for their guests and are designed to transition them into a fully present state of being.

arcana - muskoka

Guests embraced arcana. No surprise. With the property seeing bookings well into the future, a second property was recently announced and slated to open in Muskoka in 2024.

The new property is located on 160 acres of forested property where guests can participate in self-guided, year-round unique wellness experiences. This larger property will feature 23 private, architecturally striking cabins situated over the forested property with more than 3,000 feet of waterfront. The private cabins, featuring all-oak interiors, will offer expansive views of nature from your bed and all the necessary amenities for a luxurious, restorative stay.

The property will also include “The Pavilion”, a lively, maximalist space designed to excite the senses. It is described as a place to ground, explore, and gather lakeside. A space where guests can come together for shared experiences around the large fireplace or sink into solo reflection with the seasonal selection of vinyl in the second-floor listening room.

A Cedar Sauna will be perched above the water’s edge with an adjacent cold plunge. Snyder tells us this will be an integral part of the arcana Muskoka experience.

As for what to eat? We are excited to learn that they will be partnering with  Restaurant Pearl Morissette, Cheese Boutique, Grape Witches, and Robin Goodfellow (Bar Raval, Vela) to offer an exciting journey at the Muskoka property featuring food and beverage that focuses on local, and seasonal ingredients.

And I know what you are thinking… arcana is in the middle of the forest. Other than reflecting on one’s self and admiring nature, what else is there to do?

There will also be outdoor activities that will change with the seasons, including swimming and canoeing in the summer, and access to 10 kilometres of four-season hiking trails that weave through mature hemlock, oak, maple, and birch forests. arcana guests can participate in self-guided, year-round wellness experiences that inspire introspective exploration through engaging with the natural environment.

“We program a number of other self-guided activities, including our sound programming,” said Snyder. “Part of the experience is the discovery of these elements, so I don’t want to reveal too much. They’re supported by science to help our guests slow down, de-stress, and improve their sleep and mood.”

arcana - muskoka
There are plans to expand arcana across North America and beyond. “The beauty of arcana is we are the destination so we’re not confirmed to known tourist spots. Beautiful land within two to three hours drive from urban centres,” said Snyder.

In addition to the properties, arcana has also entered our spaces in the city. Recently, they’ve partnered with Holt Renfrew to celebrate the 10th anniversary of H Project and its Fashion the Future campaign. arcana created an immersive pop-up reflective of the property’s commitment to experiential travel at the Holt Renfrew Bloor Street location. The pop-up ran throughout October.

They also brought one of their iconic cabins down from Muskoka to Art Toronto, which took place this past October to celebrate contemporary art and the art community. “Nature, art, and creativity have always been anchors of the arcana experience and our seasonal artist programming will be a core component as the brand prepares to open our new property next year,” said Snyder.

arcana will also be participating in the Interior Design Show (January 18-21) in Toronto, where they will once again bring down one of their cabins for visitors to experience and get a first-hand look. This guest dwelling will also be available to purchase for individual use through the brand’s newly launched ARHOME by arcana. (For more information visit findarhome.com)

Felicia Snyder is the co-founder of arcana. An entrepreneur at heart, she started her career in management consulting, finance, and corporate strategy before building Tokyo Smoke. While at Tokyo Smoke, she helped start, take public, and scale the business before its sale to Canopy Growth Corporation.

She has also partnered with several vision-aligned team members from Tokyo Smoke to start and build arcana.

 

 

 

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Covering events, openings and all the deliciousness in Toronto.