|Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort Hotel|
Moose Jaw was my last stop on my spa trip through Canada in the Fall of 2001. This surprising town on the prairie is the home of Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort Hotel. The town was also second home to Al "Scarface" Capone in the days of Prohibition (more about that later). Back in his time, Temple Gardens was a dance hall.
Today it is a hotel with hot mineral pools and a spa. The reincarnation was not easy. In 1989, the city of Moose Jaw drilled a $1 million geothermal well to tap into the hot mineral-rich waters from the porous rock formation of ancient seabeds more than 1350 meters (4500 ft.) beneath the city. A group of community volunteers worked together to create a community-owned spa. Deb Thorn, current CEO of Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort Hotel, helped lead the charge. Funds were raised through a public share offering, the City of Moose Jaw, the Federal Government, Western Diversification, a bank mortgage, and private investors. Construction began in 1995 and was completed a year later. Conference rooms, the mezzanine and spa suites have been added since then. Total investment to date is about $13 million. However, It doesn't stop there. Plans are being put in place for a large addition to the hotel located across the street that will be connected to the existing hotel by an overhead walkway and will house a new casino.
Taking the waters
The chemistry of the hot mineral-rich waters the geothermal well tapped into is ~10,000 parts per million total dissolved solids and it contains such things as Epsom Salts (magnesium sulfate) and Glauber's Salts (sodium sulfate-decahydrate form). The water also contains sodium, magnesium, sulphate, floride, potassium, chloride, boron, silicon, calcium, bicarbonate, bromide, and strontium. The well is capable of producing 200 US gallons per minute. Excess iron is removed form the water and chlorine is added (required for public use) before it enters Temple Gardens' 20,000+ sq. ft. of spa pools located on the top floor of the hotel. The largest pool is indoors and is connected to the smaller and hotter outdoor pool by way of a narrow channel that allows you to go from one pool to the other without leaving the water. Both pools offer seating areas and water jets for added relaxation. It is pretty spectacular to soak in the outdoor pool at night and gaze at the stars. During the day, a view of Crescent Park isn't bad either.
Taking the waters in the mineral pool allows minerals to pass through the skin where they are absorbed and utilized by cells. Balancing the mineral levels in the body is vital for optimum cellular function, essential to expel metabolic waste to prevent raised levels of toxicity. Cellular stagnancy causes symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, edema, slowed metabolism, poor micro-circulation, a repressed immune system, and poor cellular exchange which leads to greater health risks and skin conditions. Soaking in the water is said to give relief from diseases like arthritis, fibromyalgia and muscle injuries as well as provide detoxification and stress relief.
Temple Gardens recommends that you alternate 15-20 minute soaks with an equally long relaxation period. Lounge chairs line the pool for this purpose. If you will be visiting the spa, Temple Gardens recommends experiencing the soothing benefits of taking the waters before all massage and body treatments. A minimum one hour lapse following spa treatments will allow your body time to more fully absorb nutrients from the specialized extracts and oils used during your spa treatment.
The hot pools are open year-round. They are free to hotel guests and open to the public for a minimal admission charge ($8.95 CND per adult at the time of my visit - less for seniors and children).
The Oasis Treatment Centre
On the same floor as the pools, you will find The Oasis Spa. The spa offers an extensive menu of services provided by certified massage therapists and estheticians including massage (Full Body Relaxation, Aromatherapy, Upper Body, Deep Tissue Sports, and Reflexology), body wraps (Re-mineralizing Seaweed, Anti-Fatigue/Anti-Stress Moor Mud, Healing Rosehip, Re-Texturizing, Toning Cellulite), facials, manicures, and pedicures. Natural plant and sea extracts and aromatic restorative oils are integral components of each treatment, designed to give you a feeling of well-being and deep relaxation.
I had a 50 minute Full Body Relaxation Massage by Leah. She spent time during the massage to explain the use of the pools (alternate 20 min in, 10 min out). She also warned of the use of alcohol before and after massage (I swear I didn't touch a drop. Perhaps other guests had?). The massage tables at the spa are a little different than most. They have separate supports for the arms. I'm not sure if that is an improvement on the basic table design. Leah gave a very light massage. Thinking back, I should have requested her to use more pressure.
The Oasis Spa is reserved for Hotel Guests only during weekends and holidays due to high demand.
Spa Healthfit Centre
The top floor is also the home of the Spa Healthfit Club, a separate fitness area that allows you to exercise in private - part of the Spa Healthfit Centre. It offers cardiovascular and weight training equipment. The Healthfit Centre also offers fitness assessments and individualized exercise program design, optional customized personal training packages, permanent weight loss knowledge, promotion of healthy, enjoyable and sustainable eating and exercise behaviors. A certified Fitness Consultant and Nutritionist and Registered Dietician are on staff. Memberships to the Spa Healthfit Centre are available. Use of the Spa Healthfit Club is available to hotel guest. Services of the Spa Healthfit Centre can be purchased individually by hotel guests.
I stayed in a luxurious Spa Jacuzzi Suite (one of 24 in the hotel) which features a large two-person Jacuzzi tub that allows you to enjoy the naturally hot mineral water in the privacy of your room. Spa Jacuzzi Suites include access to the Spa Pool, Fitness Centre and Steam Room and provide complimentary robes to use during your stay.
The "Oasis" Garden Cafe is located next to the spa and pools on the top floor and offers casual indoor seating as well as a patio area outdoors that overlooks the outdoor hot pool and Crescent Park. It specializes in fresh and healthy eating alternatives, such as unique garden and fruit salads, revitalizing fruit smoothies, made-to-order sandwiches with the choices of twelve-grain bread or wholesome, low-fat spinach or sun-dried tomato wraps. Everything I tried there was delicious!
More formal dining can be found on the first floor at Harwood's which also offers Spa Cuisine.
The Tunnel Tours
A few blocks from Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort Hotel, one can get a taste of historic Moose Jaw with two interesting tours of the tunnels under the town.
In the 1920's, American gangsters rode the "Soo Line" north to Moose Jaw ("Little Chicago") to beat the "heat" of Prohibition. Current-day actors and actresses in "The Chicago Connection" give an exciting and informative hour-long tour of the tunnels used by these bootleggers.
In the late 1800's when the construction of the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway ended, a few determined Chinese moved into Moose Jaw in hopes of finding job opportunities. The "Passage to Fortune" tour takes participants on an hour-long look at the Chinese immigrants' hardships, life underground, and the eventual freedom and success in a new country.
Photos copyright 2001,
Licensed to About.com
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