As the building evolved and changed ownership from YMCA, to Women’s Hotel in 1950, it was the vision of Sherry Brydson, in 1979, to establish a women’s club at this historical landmark. In 1982, after full renovation and restoration, we opened our doors to the women of Toronto as The Elmwood Women’s Club.
Since then we have continued to expand our services and update amenities to become a leading spa destination for guests who seek superior treatments & services in a peaceful, comfortable atmosphere. Our historical exterior combined with modern interior is an interesting juxtaposition, creating an enchanting oasis of understated elegance and serenity.
All treatment rooms are named after a shade of blue because historically, going to the “spa” was about taking therapeutic waters. Our water therapies not only set us apart from so many other spas, they were the inspiration for our logo, which features a ripple of water. Our logo ties back into our vision, mission and values. We believe there’s a positive ‘ripple effect’ that goes out into the world when our guests’ sense of well being is enhanced.
Committed to the well-being of our community
In late 2008, the YWCA received a $5 million donation from the estates of the late Ken Thomson and the late Audrey Campbell, given in memory of their sister, Irma Brydson, who is Sherry Brydson’s mother. The 17-story tower on Elm Street is named Irma Brydson Place. The YWCA Elm Centre features 300 permanent affordable apartments for women in need and their families, an auditorium, meeting rooms, retail space, a restaurant, and the headquarters for YWCA Toronto and YWCA Canada. In 2009, Elmwood Spa made a strong commitment to support the YWCA that continues to present day. Elmwood Spa Owner, Sherry Brydson, believes that well-being comes from a balance of inner and outer beauty, as well as living within a healthy environment and society.
Elmwood Spa Owner, Sherry Brydson, believes that well-being comes from a balance of inner and outer beauty, as well as living within a healthy environment and society.
In addition to community support of YWCA Toronto and Sick Kids Hospital Elmwood Spa donates products and services to organizations in support of charitable and community events throughout the year. Contributions support: Princess Margaret Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society, Mount Sinai Hospital, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, United Way and many others.
Caring for the planet
Elmwood Spa acts responsibly to limit the impact of its business on the environment. We endeavour to meet and where possible exceed current standards through the following ‘green’ measures.
Reduce, Re-use, Recycle
- Office paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, batteries, printer cartridges are all recycled
- Food Waste (wet) Elmwood Spa started recycling food waste 5 years before the city started its food waste program and we continue to do so
- Vegetable cuttings go into compost
- Recycled paper products are used in the washrooms
- Old linens and robes are donated to shelters in the area
Packaging & Printing
- The ElmLine range of After Spa Care products uses minimal packaging
- Our brochures are printed on paper products that have Chain of Custody Certification (CoC) certification – meaning that the paper itself is a product of sustainable forestry practices that combine the perpetual growing and harvesting of trees with the long-term protection of wildlife, plants, soil and water quality
- We also endeavor to use printers who have an environmental policy in place to minimize the negative effects of their industry. These printers have achieved CoC certification from the Forestry Stewardship Council of Ontario (FSC).
Soaps & Cleaning Products
- Shampoo, body wash and lotion are all environmentally friendly.
- Cleaning products are biodegradable and purchased in concentrated formats, which saves packaging
- Non-butyl and contain no phosphates
- A natural citrus cleaner made from oranges instead of turpentine is used to remove wax.
- In our aesthetics areas peroxide is used as a sanitizer instead of bleach; it is less damaging to the environment
- Our tools are sterilized in an Autoclave system, which is a medical grade, high temperature sterilizing process. Using an Autoclave eliminates use of chemicals that could be harmful to the environment.
Reduced Electricity / Water Usage
- Low wattage halogen lighting for maximum light for lowest wattage possible.
- Lights are turned off in areas that aren’t in use.
- Low water usage shower heads
A past with presence - Elmwood Spa timeline
The Elmwood, situated in a Toronto Heritage Building was erected. For the first 50 years or so, “The Elmwood” was the original Toronto Y.W.C.A.
The site became The Elmwood Women’s Hotel. In those days, respectable unmarried young ladies always stayed in a “Women’s Hotel”, complete with chaperons and curfews.
The building, purchased by Sherry Brydson, was completely gutted and reconstructed with the exception of the facade.
In 1982, with constructed completed, Sherry and business partner Barb Elson opened The Elmwood Women’s Club on 3 floors and The Spa at the Elmwood on the second floor.
Bangkok Garden, the first Thai restaurant to introduce Thai Cuisine and culture to Toronto, opened it’s doors. The Brass Flamingo also opened on the lower level.
Sherry and Barb received an architectural award from the City of Toronto for preserving a landmark and for nearly ten years, The Elmwood Women’s Club was a venerable Toronto fitness and social club for women
The Elmwood women’s club closed and The Elmwood Banquet & Meeting Centre was born (4th and 5th floors), with the spa remaining on the 2nd floor.
The spa expanded to the third floor to accommodate more treatment rooms. At this time Water Therapies (swimming pool, whirlpool and steam rooms) and the women’s change room underwent renovations to enhance our amenities.
Sherry Brydson took Elmwood Spa and Bangkok Garden staff on a trip to Thailand to experience the culture, spa treatments including Thai Massage, and cuisine first hand. Our Signature Siam Treatments were developed on this trip.
2004 - 2007
The spa underwent another series of extensive renovations to upgrade the facilities and to make room for more spa services on 4 floors and administration offices on the 5th floor.
Elmwood Spa’s very own Glee Club, InSPAration was featured on Canada Sings and was awarded a $10,000 donation to their charity of choice, the YWCA Elm Centre and Irma Brydson Place.
The manicure and pedicure area moved from the lower level to the second floor and was completely renovated and is fully licensed.
Elmwood's Sister Companies
elmspa is a hidden gem situated just blocks from Cabbagetown and Yorkville. This boutique spa offers exclusive treatments for women and men in a zen-inspired environment, with seven specialized treatment rooms, two steam rooms, an infrared sauna, rain shower and garden terrace area. The combination of natural woods with water features and zen pebbles — makes this a truly unique space to soothe the body and the soul.
557 Church Street | Monday to Sunday | 11am – 7pm | 416.964.4500
Bangkok Garden has been serving up authentic Thai cuisine since 1982 in a casual fine dining atmosphere. Open for lunch, Monday to Friday, and dinner Monday to Sunday. The all-day menu offers several options to suit dietary restrictions including vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan items. Bangkok Garden is recognized by Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce as a ‘Thai Select Premium’ restaurant.
Lunch: Monday to Friday 11:30am – 2:30pm | Dinner: Monday to Sunday 5 pm – 10pm | Reservations: 416.977.6748