Discover Arcana Ontario: A New Outdoor Experience Beyond The Ordinary

There are times when life gets noisy. Deadlines, heartbreaks, business trips, bills and family are all stuff that need to be dealt with on a daily basis, on top of a busy routine. This is when a retreat can be beneficial. Arcana – an outdoor experience brand – presents a unique sanctuary nestled in nature, which launched in 2021. Arcana is known for “invisible” forest cabins, approximately a two-hour drive north of Toronto. The secret location, known only to its guests, was designed to provide the most intimate, self-directed retreat in nature. But it has news: A new resort.

Blend with nature in architectural masterpieces

But before I dive into the new resort, lets look at what Arcana cabins offer. They are more than a place to lay your head. Each cabin is a marvel to behold – a sleek, 275-square-foot tiny house that perfectly fuses modern architectural design within its natural surroundings. The cabins are wrapped in bird-safe reflective stainless steel, which not only elevates the aesthetics but allows it to blend seamlessly into the old-growth forests of maple, birch and pine trees that surround it.

Felicia Snyder, co-founder of Arcana tells me: “We were inspired to create an experience to connect guests more deeply to their surroundings. Arcana is a bridge between the modern world and the wild – an invitation to return to nature.” Snyder points to scientific research as showing that time spent in nature has a profound impact on our well-being. Here’s an example from Yale. “We see [the cabins] as a much-needed tool towards improved mental health and wellbeing.”

The cabins’ designs were conceptualized by Michael Leckie, founder of Leckie Studio, and built by Hummingbird Hill Homes and Studio Morro. You immediately notice the reflective exterior cladding features. It immerses the cabins inside its surroundings. The large picture window allows for the most beautiful expansive, unobstructed views of nature while indoors. Feel cozy inside with red oak interiors heated floors and air conditioning. Stay at the cabins anytime, year-round. And this isn’t roughing it, exactly, with spacious private bathrooms and luxe kitchenettes.

Gastronomical pleasures, designed exclusively in Ontario

Speaking of kitchenettes. Arcana paid attention to every detail of the guest experience, including the culinary aspects. Arcana partnered with Pearl Morissette, Cheese Boutique, Grape Witches and Robin Goodfellow (which you may know from the restaurants Bar Raval and Vela). So, as a guest, you can feast on foods and beverages that focus on seasonal local ingredients. You simply pre-order prior to your arrival, and the meals will be in the fridge. A gourmet dining experience in the heart of the woods.

Disconnect to reconnect

At the centre of Arcana you’ll find the pavilion. The lively, maximalist space was designed in collaboration with Futurestudio. This is a place to ground and gather lakeside. Guests can socialize around the large fire or sink into solo reflection with the seasonal selection of vinyl in the second-floor listening room. The Arcana Honour Bar offers popular DIY teas and seasonal cocktails by Robin Goodfellow. 

Want something a bit more private? A limited number of properties come with private wood-burning Goodland hot tubs. 

And of course, all guests have access to the lakefront hydrotherapy circuit, which includes a sauna, cold plunge, sun deck and outdoor fire pit.

Wander and get well

With more than 10 kilometres of walking trails wind through the Arcana property, Arcana’s concept is designed not as an escape but as a return to nature. Snyder says guests can rediscover their true selves by way of “self-guided well-being programming that induces a state of grounding, exploration, and restoration.” 

If you’re seeking a unique Northern getaway or if the traditional cottage is simply not your style, Arcana’s experience of modern design principles connects to nature in a new and heightened way that awakens all five senses.

The future of Arcana: The new site in Muskoka

Sorry to bury the lede, so to speak, but I felt it important to really show how amazing the cabins are. Arcana has plans to open a new resort in the Muskokas in the summer of 2024. There, on over 160 acres of forested property, it will host 23 private cabins, with more than 3,000 feet of breathtaking waterfront.

Like its other location in Collingwood Ontario, the Muskoka location will offer a self-directed, year-round wellness journey. “With much anticipation, we look forward to bringing Arcana to the heart of Muskoka,” says Snyder.

Experience Arcana at Holt Renfrew before Muskoka opens

Before the highly anticipated opening of Arcana’s Muskoka property in 2024, you can indulge Arcana at fashion retailer Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street in Toronto. Celebrating its 10th anniversary of the H Project and Fashion the Future campaign, Holt Renfrew is hosting an immersive pop-up at its 50 Bloor Street West location, on the third floor until October 29.

At the retailer, you can get a sneak peek of the Arcana outdoor experiences. Check out the installation below. Anchored by a soothing listening portal, designed with Timberlost and Barter Design Co., the pop-up encourages guests to ground themselves in the sounds of nature and indulge in moments of reflection.