The Edmonton Project

Most of my radio time in the shop is spent listening to CBC Radio.  They have a great many programs that are extremely interesting and some that are very funny. The other day I heard an interview with some young, ambitious folks that entered a community-based contest that centres on developing something geared towards Edmontonians and improving their connection with the city, the river valley and the outdoors.  This contest is called the Edmonton Project – please see the link below to have a look at the final 10 contestants.

Learn more about the Edmonton Project >

I have to give a bit of background story as to the reason why I found this interview so intriguing. We have always wanted a “hot tub” here at our place, since it would be the nearest thing to an “onsen” or “hot springs” that we fell in love with while living and travelling in Japan.   However, we felt that it didn’t click with our thinking – wasting a great deal of time, energy and power to sufficiently run this, plus being a potential hazard to the nearby environment because of the chemicals in the water when you have to drain the water out.  About a week before we heard the interview on the radio, we came up with the idea of a sauna – a timber framed sauna it would be!  We have decided that it will be made out of locally sourced materials – pine and poplar, and possibly a little bit of cedar.  I myself really liked the idea of a sauna since it takes me back to my childhood, where my friends and I would partake in the wood-fired sauna at the local church camp out at Pigeon Lake.  It was great fun, especially in the winter when we could go and roll around in the snow to cool off!  That was as a kid, now I realize the fantastic benefits of a sauna for us, both physically and emotionally…and we can still go roll in the snow!

McLeod Creek Timber Frame - Sauna

Sauna – side view

So, when I heard that there was a group in this contest that would like to install a sauna in the river valley, I got really excited.  I found it to be a strange coincidence that we were just thinking about this kind of project for our place.  I immediately tracked down some of the team members and arranged a quick coffee shop sit-down to engage each other about ideas centring on the project and how it would benefit the community in Edmonton.  Please check out the site and see what they have in store!

Check out the Edmonton Project – sauna project >
As far as our sauna is concerned, I have included a few shots of our design.  It is very compact (total is 16’ x 12’) with a change area/bench on one side and the sauna area with 2 tiered benches on the other.  There will be one window on the changeroom side and 2 smaller windows in the sauna for both light and ventilation control.  It gets hot in there!  And, of course, there will be a wood burning stove with a cage/rocks to pour water on for some great steaming times!  Cannot wait…As you can see, this small structure is just another example of a building that you can do with timbers to really create a unique, sacred space…