NURTURE: SPRING 2023

A soft place to land. A community that has your back. A weekend of creative nourishment and tending for entrepreneurs, leaders and caregivers.

Settle in and get cozy while you read about what’s in store at Nurture this May 12th-14th. If you’d like to join our waitlist for first access to tickets, sign up via the button below.

Tickets open to the waitlist on Thursday, March 2nd. Tickets open to the public on Thursday, March 9th.

“A weekend woven together like a tapestry of engagement and stillness. The ambiance is that of a warm, welcoming embrace and meets you exactly where and how you are. Seemingly an event conspired by the universe to bring the right people together, in the right place, for the right conversations, the right explorations and the right revelations. A breath of fresh air. Curiosity, vulnerability and love. All of this married with mind blowing food that will fill the hungriest parts of your soul.”

–Amie, Nurture Fall 2022

YOU’RE AMONG FRIENDS HERE IF…

  • You’d like to remember to put yourself first more than once in a blue moon – ahead of your work, your partner, your friends, your children, or the latest global crisis, because you know doing so will help you show up better to the communities and causes you care about.
  • You miss your creative self. You might feel restricted, burnt out, resentful or simply numb but those inner whispers refuse to be quiet and you want to finally listen.
  • You want to define what success looks like for you compared to how it’s ‘supposed to’ look. You’re seeking new ways to succeed that don’t come at the expense of your own intuition.
  • You find the ‘old ways’ don’t work anymore and you’re hungry to find methods that feel good to your heart, the people in your life and the planet we’re lucky to call home.
  • You often default to battling feelings of heaviness, overwhelm, isolation and self-doubt or condemnation in your journey of personal growth and discovery. You are tired of those feelings being the first responses to the inevitable struggles in your life and you crave a more tender way.
  • You wonder how to balance daily functioning and being responsible for those in your care (at work or at home) with your calling. You recognize the need for creative agency and meaningful boundaries in your own life.
  • You often struggle to meet your own needs because you’re focused on accomplishing goals, helping others and doing important work in the world. You want to actively know that you are allowed to have needs; to meet those needs; to realize that those needs are okay; and embrace the fact that all of yourself is okay. 

ME TOO.

Hello, dear friend. I’m Sonja. For me, being a human on this planet, much less one who runs a business, has only ever gotten easier when I added good company, good food and a good sense of humour. 

I started Nurture in 2015 out of an inner invitation to prioritize my own creative practice and that decision changed my life profoundly. It provided me a way through my sticky and unmet parts to a place of deep self regard, inspired creativity and clear purpose: I am on this planet to feed and connect people while unapologetically being myself. I want to facilitate a safe space to explore your own clarity of purpose and you-ness, too.

I love creating spaces to feed you on your journey as much as I love butter and chickens (which is A LOT). I’ve curated an incredible team of kindred spirits to help me feed you on other levels, whom have found both purpose and solace in their own creative practices and intuitive rituals.

We’ve put our hearts and souls into every detail of this retreat for you.

WHAT IS NURTURE, EXACTLY?

Nurture is magic. It’s the rich mystery of “it’s hard to describe until you’ve been there” meets the abundance of “greater than the sum of its parts.” It’s a three day sanctuary of personal, creative restoration and inspiration where you feast on good food with great people and are reminded of the sound of your own soul.

Here’s how some of our past attendees describe it:

“I would say you just have to experience it. But to describe it – it’s a weekend that will allow you to re-connect with yourself and what matters. You’ll discover (and re-discover) parts of you that were buried away, and open up to connection and creativity in ways you might not know you could. The whole weekend felt like a much needed hug – all wrapped up in warmth and love. It’s exactly what I needed and hope I can bring some of the magic of it to my everyday life.”

–Palak, Nurture Fall 2018

It was exactly the balm I needed for the sore, burnt out edges of me; it was taking a breath and realizing it’s okay to put myself first.”

–Katie, Nurture Spring 2019

“This was one of the most special weekends in my life. It spoke my love language through and through. I left feeling so filled up, nourished, nurtured, honoured and deeply ‘considered’. The seemingly endless stream of thoughtful details and efforts. The time away, the unique and surprisingly delightful range of workshops. Just knowing that there are people out there with a similar love of connection, of creating and appreciating thoughtful details, and of sharing their unique offering to the world.”

–Nicole, Nurture Fall 2022

WHAT IF YOU FELT YOUR CREATIVE SELF STIRRING AGAIN?

What if you found a space where you can really hear yourself and get some answers, or, more importantly, ask the right questions?

Imagine…You’ve signed up for Nurture, and you’re packing your bag and your heart for:

  • A cozy, restorative weekend getaway to connect with kindred spirits in sisterhood, solidarity and self care.
  • Creative, compassion-filled antidotes to the feelings of heaviness, overwhelm, isolation and self-doubt or condemnation that often accompanies being a leader or entrepreneur.
  • Open, safe & nourishing space to look at things that are asking for the light to be brought to them.
  • Creative workshops that put you in touch with the deep, pleasant sense of your own company with beautiful, tangible handmade take-home items infused with your spirit from each workshop.
  • Connections that offer community, support and perspective, not to mention belly laughs and real witnessing.
  • Memories of shared candlelit meals, fresh air and new friendships that continue to nourish your life (and, by association, your professional and creative endeavours) beyond the retreat.

NURTURE IS FOR YOU IF …

  • You run a business and/or are a leader in your field or community. You might also be a caregiver or working professional in an industry where you are looking after others (hello also to moms!) but want to focus on looking after you.
  • You are feeling creatively stagnant in your work and wish to nurture the seed of a creative idea or project that is brewing within you.
  • You long to hear your own voice again, and be introduced to creative ways to re-calibrate your life so that you are at the top of your own priority list. You want to know what that looks like for YOU.
  • You value aesthetics and the power of beauty, intentionality and creativity.
  • You love good food and eating and enjoying meals with others. You’re excited to experience sumptuous meals that tell a story, make you feel nourished and alive and bring your sensual self to the surface via a harmonious approach to colour, texture, flavour and seasonality.
  • You crave a supportive, purpose-filled and equity-driven community of kindred spirits whose values include: integrity, creativity, honesty, service, warmth, wholeheartedness, imagination, boundaries, respect, and inclusion.
  • You thrive in this community because you actively pursue personal and professional growth and are intentionally showing up in your own journey to embrace the full spectrum of emotion and human experience from a place of love and compassion, just as you desire to provide that space for others.
  • You yearn for some time to contemplate, unwind, connect and restore in a natural setting. You’re into forests, flowers, lakes and fresh air to restore you, invigorate you, and inspire you.

NURTURE IS NOT FOR YOU IF…

  • You are looking for a business retreat. While many of us attending and facilitating Nurture own our own businesses, and our businesses benefit organically from attending, we do not cover business topics and our workshops are not business-centred.
  • You are looking for a crafting or maker retreat. While elements of each workshop centre on learning tangible skills to create and make, the lessons of each workshop are about the inherent metaphors each area of creativity has to offer, and how these metaphors can influence and inspire our lives.
  • You are expecting deluxe accommodations. The bedrooms at our location are beautifully simple and comfortably rustic. The vibe is less ‘luxury getaway spa’ and more ‘cozy cottage’. Slava, the retreat centre’s beautiful housekeeper, makes her own cleaning liquid with cedar boughs from the property, boiled down. The bed linens are washed in this and hung on the line to dry in the fresh air.
  • You are in the middle of a personal or existential crisis where more support is needed. While this Retreat and its activities are therapeutic in nature and a safe space is intentionally created, it is not therapy, nor are any of the facilitators registered or licensed therapists or counsellors. Should any personal issues or associated emotions arise that are beyond the scope of our ability to hold the space for, we are more than happy to direct you to safe, effective and accessible resources.
  • You are not that into food or sharing meals. Mealtimes at Nurture are both magical and metaphorical, and the heartbeat of the retreat

THE VENUE

Set in a rambling, 1930s farmhouse on a cliffside overlooking Lake Simcoe. Accommodations are simple and cozy, with vintage quilts adorning the beds, and clawfoot baths to soak in (there is also access to a shower, if you prefer). A bright, open sunroom space features a long harvest table where we’ll gather for workshops and sumptuous meals, with windows that look out onto the gorgeous lake view from 3 sides. The property features stunning flower and rock gardens, with walking paths and sweet nooks, swings and benches to retreat to. Stairs lead down to the lake, with dock seating, while a forest path leads to a full-size labyrinth nestled amongst the pines.

ACCESSIBILITY NOTES: The first floor of the main retreat house is wheelchair accessible, with one bathroom on the same level (with walk in shower). An additional first floor bathroom (with walk in shower) is one small step up. There are two bedrooms on the main level (1 Lush, 1 Cozy) and three (Cozy) on the level with one small step. Accessibility needs can be communicated at checkout and expanded upon in our attendee intake form so that we can follow up with you to ensure you will be comfortable. If you have questions in advance of checking out, please don’t hesitate to contact us at connect@nurtureretreats.com.

THE FOOD

At Nurture, the food is a notable highlight – it’s what we are known for. From the ingredients to the styling and presentation, everything is custom-designed to best support and nourish you, the story of our retreat, and the work we are doing together. Nurture menus are primarily vegetarian – inspired by a whole foods, seasonal approach featuring local, organic produce. Intentionality and organic sensuality shine through in all of the dishes. Everyone feels welcome and included, as allergies and food sensitivities are fully accommodated.

Breakfasts and Lunch are build-your-own from a smorgasbord of delightful, nourishing offerings that you can enjoy anywhere you like – the table; a hammock; your room; picnic-style on the lawn. Dinner on Saturday and brunch on Sunday are sumptuous, candlelit communal meals, at the gorgeously-styled harvest table featuring a family-style feast of platters heaped with sensual, seasonal bounty.

 

THE CREATIVE SUPPORT TEAM

CREATIVE PRODUCER – STEPHANIE PELLETT (she/her)

Stephanie (@stephpellett) is a magical being, who will be assisting with all aspects of the retreat to make sure you are comfortable and happy.

Aside from intentionally infusing all Nurture systems and retreat logistics with love, Stephanie is a creative business coach and educator. Her goal is to make your business more sustainable, more expansive, and ultimately more FUN for you by streamlining your systems, supporting your business strategy, and helping you prioritize your self-care. She is the creator of The Profoundery, an online business community full of accountability, resources & connection for thoughtful, values-based entrepreneurs. She is a host on Learn With Shopify and has taught classes in partnership with Creative Mornings and Make Lemonade. Her podcast, Slowpreneur: Business without the Busy, aims to spark conversations about new ways of living and working that support and honour our humanity. In her spare time, you can find her reading romance novels and spending with her puppy (preferably simultaneously).

RETREAT PHOTOGRAPHER – KATE WATKINSON (she/her)

Kate Watkinson of Kate Watkinson Photographs (@katewatkinson) will be gorgeously capturing the beauty and the essence of our weekend with her camera and her truly aesthetic and soulful eye.

Kate is a Hamilton based lifestyle and intimate moment photographer. She finds inspiration in community and connection, travel, food and hospitality and loves to work collaboratively to showcase local businesses that share in these values. She also loves grabbing a coffee, neighbourhood strolls with friends, watching documentaries, visiting local markets and dreaming up her next travel plans with her son Rory and husband Glen!

THE WORKSHOPS

Nurture workshops explore creativity as alchemy.You’ll experience a window into the creative practices of a collection of artists from varied disciplines, specifically chosen because their art form infuses their lives with a framework of meaning. While each of the workshops will provide you with the basic skills needed for each offering and a tangible takeaway, you will be immersed in the act of creation as a way IN to your own Self. Your workshop facilitators will guide you on this journey of working with a variety of materials that have spoken to them, so that you can be inspired, ignite any areas of stagnancy, and learn about your own creativity through the lens of a creative pursuit from a facilitator who lives and breathes it.

 

“These were such unique workshops. None of the workshops were about “the thing” i.e. sewing, they were about a much deeper lesson, that “the thing” simply facilitated. I appreciated that they were structured to help you come to your own answers… it wasn’t about telling you what to do or how to think. It was also a fascinating look into how the facilitators approached their craft. I felt like we got to watch them nerd out and create workshops they were passionate about, but perhaps couldn’t run elsewhere, and that was really cool. I was also entirely overwhelmed by how thoughtful all the facilitators were, and how much they thought about how our experience would extend beyond the workshops. I don’t know how to put words to it, but what we learned in each will truly change how we show up in our lives.”

–Kate, Nurture Spring 2019

WORKSHOP – RITUAL & ROUTINE

Facilitated by: Sarah Aranha (she/her) of Foray Craft

Found at: @sarah.aranha & @foray_craft

Working with: pencil, paint, paper

An artist and maker whose work draws from the patterns and routines of the everyday, Sarah has a background in painting and drawing, and works primarily with gouache, watercolour and textiles. A skilled arts facilitator; she has taught workshops with East End Arts, and hosts drawing nights at Northern Contemporary.

Together, we’ll explore our lives and patterns through the lens of still life drawing.

WORKSHOP – PATTERN & PACE

Facilitated by: Laura Fullerton (she/her) of Capstone Pattern Co.

Found at: @fullertonlaura & @capstone.pattern.co

Working with: thread, fabric, patterns, patience

Laura is the face behind Capstone Pattern Co., a small business striving to provide thoughtfully designed, timeless, easy-to-follow sewing patterns for modern-day makers. To her, sewing has served as an anchor in times of uncertainty and has been a steady friend through life’s ups and downs.

Together, we’ll explore sewing as reflection, empowerment, grounding and community building.

WORKSHOP – ART & ACTIVISM

Facilitated by: Manchari Paranthahan aka Ari Para (she/they) of Ari Para ART

Found at: @ariirispara

Working with: beads, stories, clay

Ari is a second generation Sri-Lankan-Canadian, Hindu, non-binary, queer artivist based in Scarborough, Ontario. They are a jewelry designer, ESL teacher, theatre artist and a writer with a passion for reading, learning and unlearning.

Together, we’ll explore story, lineage, craft and adornment to make (quite literally) statement jewelry.

WORKSHOP – RECIPE & MEMORY

Facilitated by: Sonja Seiler (she/her), Food Storyteller & Founder of Nurture

Found at: @nurtureretreats & nurtureretreats.com 

Working with: pantry ingredients, dough, reimagined recipes

Aside from her calling of ‘feeding people who create’, Sonja is equally passionate about finding ways to reimagine what’s in the fridge and pantry as a creative act and setting up kitchen spaces so they intentionally support the rhythms of daily life. To her, a recipe is a story as much as it is the method to bring food to one’s table.

Together, we’ll explore how to craft a menu that tells our stories through food to create ‘edible memories’.

YOUR RETREAT DETAILS

DATE: May 12-14th, 2023 (Arrive: 2:00 PM on Friday, Depart: 3:00 PM on Sunday)

LOCATION: Loretto Maryholme Retreat Centre, 379A Bouchier St., Roches Point, ON, Canada

ACCOMMODATIONS:

  • Nurture Cozy: simple private bedroom, shared bathroom
  • Nurture Together: large shared bedroom, private bathroom with clawfoot bath
  • Nurture Lush: large private bedroom, private bathroom with clawfoot bath

Occupancy is first-come, first-served. Please indicate any accessibility needs at checkout.

WORKSHOPS:

Four 2 hour hands-on workshops and all materials. See above for full workshop descriptions.

FOOD:

All meals, snacks and drinks. Wine served with dinner. Menus are mostly vegetarian & all allergies, sensitivities, and strong dislikes are happily accommodated.

  • Cocktails and Grazing Dinner (Friday evening)
  • Buffet-Style Breakfast & Lunch, Harvest Table Family-Style Feast (Saturday)
  • Harvest Table Brunch (Sunday)
  • Coffee, tea, and snack stations set up for grazing when needed.

YOUR SURROUNDINGS:

  • rest, relaxation and time for solitude and contemplation in a beautiful, natural setting
  • a full-sized labyrinth in a pine grove
  • gardens
  • lake access
  • walking paths

NURTURE SELF CARE KIT:

A collection of curated gifts to nourish your body and soul throughout the retreat and to remind you of the retreat when you return home. All items are sponsored by local women-run Canadian companies.

BELONGING:

Membership in a growing, collaborative community of like-minded creatives with opportunities to cross-pollinate in other creative ventures, projects and mutually beneficial personal and professional relationships.

PERKS:

Nurture Alumni pricing on other Nurture events and offerings.

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED & CANCELLATION POLICY

TRANSPORTATION:

Transportation to and from the retreat is NOT included. Ride shares with other attendees may be available.

CANCELLATION POLICY:

The Retreat Founder reserves the right to cancel the retreat at any time, for any reason. In the event of a cancellation, your ticket amount will be returned to you, minus a nominal administration fee, or you can choose to apply your ticket amount to a future scheduled retreat at no cost to you.

In the event that you are unable to attend the retreat, for whatever reason, as much advance notice as possible is appreciated. With more than 30 days notice, your ticket amount will be refunded to you in full, minus a nominal administration fee. With less than 30 days notice, there is no refund. Should there be someone from the waiting list available to take your place, your ticket amount will be refunded to you in full, minus a nominal administration fee.

“The weekend was MAGNIFICENT. Really, that word does not do it justice. The experience was unsayable. From the nourishing food Sonja lovingly prepared by hand, to the artistry and creative expression and expansion explored through the workshops. The group of women – connected. Deeply. And in a matter of 48-hours became life-long friends. There is power in what Sonja is doing. There is power in bringing together sisters. There is power in creating a safe space for women to unfold, to undo, to let go. You find a new part of your soul on these retreats. It is forever engraved on my heart.”

–Mary Lynn, Nurture Spring 2016

DEAR FRIEND, I THINK YOU READ THIS FAR FOR A REASON …

If you’re ready to commit to yourself and your creativity

If you’re tired of feeling guilty for taking the time for yourself

If you need to disconnect, recharge, and reinvigorate yourself

If you need a creative community of support

THERE’S ROOM FOR YOU AT NURTURE.

Choose your accommodation preference below to check out and we’ll send a sweet package to your inbox with all the details and next steps. We can’t wait to share this weekend with you!

NURTURE COZY

  • Simple and cozy private bedroom
  • Shared bathroom
  • All meals, snacks & drinks
  • Artisanal workshops
  • Nurture Self-Care Kit

$1250 – SOLD OUT

NURTURE TOGETHER

  • Shared upgraded bedroom for you & a friend
  • Private bathroom
  • All meals, snacks & drinks
  • Artisanal workshops
  • Nurture Self-Care Kit

$1125 per person

NURTURE LUSH

  • Private upgraded bedroom
  • Private bathroom with clawfoot tub
  • All meals, snacks & drinks
  • Artisanal workshops
  • Nurture Self-Care Kit

$1495

Photos shown above are examples of each room type, but your room may be slightly different than pictured.
At checkout, you will be charged 50% up front. The remaining 50% will be charged to your card six weeks later. Nurture Together spots are charged individually, but you may request your roommate at checkout. Occupancy is first-come, first-served.

Photos on this page by our incredible Nurture guest photographers:

Amber Ellis | Nautica Simone | Katie Harrison | Jodianne Beckford | Lauren Kolyn | Sara Monika | Liat Aharoni | Evonne Bellefleur | Alyssa Wodabek