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Hockley Valley

ECOLOGY RETREAT CENTRE

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E-col-o-gy: /ēˈkäləjē/

noun

The Oxford dictionary definition: “The branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings.”

We define Ecology in the widest, “healthiest” definition of the word: Beings supporting beings for life.

Therefore, the Ecology Retreat Centre aims to attract people who are doing good things for other people, the environment or both.

The Centre was started by Frank Saul in the early '90's. Frank was a school principal in Toronto on a 1 year sabbatical studying at the Institute for Creation Spirituality in California when the dream of creating a retreat centre first came to him. He had already run the Centre as a summer camp and outdoor education centre (mainly serving the Toronto school board) for some 18 years.

He then sadly sold the property just before his sabbatical but when he returned he approached the new owner with his dream. The new owner agreed to sell it back due to circumstances that had changed in his life in the meantime. They reversed the paper work and a year later the dream was born.

And what a dream. Now it was time to translate it into reality. Buildings needed to be built, converted, renovated. Staff needed to be found. Advertising and marketing needed to be organized. Then groups started signing up. Food needed to be cooked. Rooms needed to be clean. Gardens needed to be weeded. Washrooms needed to be scrubbed...

Retreat centres are hard to run - much less as a "hobby". Being a principal in Toronto as well as a retreat centre creator and manager was more than 7 days a week of work. Frank started to bring in much needed partners and collaborators. Some came, some went. One, Russell S., ended up running the centre for 12 years before he decided he only wanted to facilitate retreats rather than just run a centre. Soon it was back in family hands with one of Frank's sons taking over in 2007. Frank was now a retired principal but still involved in the Centre. Fast forward to today, Stephan (Frank's other son) has been managing the Centre for close to 8 years.

An important element for which Frank has had a major influence is the food. Having experienced a brush with cancer in his mid-life he changed his approach to life including his relationship with food. Good, wholesome ingredients were key to transforming his healthy lifestyle. The Centre has been greatly influenced by Frank's experience and to this day aims to offer only healthy, nutritious and delicious, home cooked meals.

The spiritual journey that Frank had in California influenced the sort of groups that came. But not exclusively. There were also school groups, yoga groups, church groups, environmental organizations, social activists, weddings, etc. To this day we still have customers who have been with us since those early days over 25 years ago and since then many other newer customers that have been coming year after year.

Stephan grew up on the land as a boy and fell in love with every "nook and cranny" of this land. He, along with a dedicated staff, continue to evolve the Ecology Retreat Centre into a truly one-of-a-kind retreat centre. We aim to provide a centre that supports and enhances the experience of groups that host their retreats with us. Offering functionality but maintaining it's rustic roots including cleanliness; a quiet night's sleep; healthy meals and pristine environment.

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                             The Ecology Retreat Centre  

 

OUR STORY

Ecology Retreat Centre