Willow Stream: A New Spa at the Empress Hotel – Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Victoria, British Columbia – July 2002

Willow Stream
A New Spa at the Empress Hotel

The new Willow Stream spa at the Empress Hotel has a philosophy. It’s not based solely on the “feel good” experience that most spas promote, although that is certainly an important part of it, according to Catherine Swinscoe, Operations Manager for Fairmont Spas, Inc. Willow Stream wants the spa experience to transfer to your daily life, and she said they have a plan to make it happen.

“At the Willow Stream we guide our clients to improved health through the use of nutritional counseling, herbal therapy, yoga, reiki, pressureless musco/skeletal realignment procedures, meditation and Ayurvedic Health Teaching. Attention and care is provided for all aspects of health, be it emotional, physical, spiritual, or prevention.”

Self-directed wellness is the key. In interviews with spa goers the majority state that they want to take the spa feeling home with them. Relaxation that ends when the guest walks out the door is often the case, but Willow Stream hopes their guests will be energized as well. One way they see this happening is by providing home care cards that can include stretches, exercises, recommendations of products, and ways to tap into your energy surplus when you are having a bad day.

Why the name Willow Stream? The name comes from two sources: the willow tree and a stream. The willow is a tree whose root system reaches far into the ground, carrying nutrients from the earth. Its branches are flexible, able to bend with the wind. “We too need to be well rooted and centered in our lives but able to move with life’s changes, accepting and adapting to them,” said Swinscoe. A willow wand has long been known as a water diving tool. And water is the essence of life.

The willow tree has a long history related to holistic healing that encompasses the body, mind, and spirit. Associated with spring and life’s beginnings, it is, in folklore, the tree of energy and enchantment. Its energy is supposed to help us to awareness of our emotions. The bark of the tree contains a substance closely aligned to aspirin and is used as an herb to relieve pain.

Swinscoe stated, “The ‘stream’ in the name was taken from the idea that water moving through a stream represents our journey through life, a journey we need to fill with insight and rejuvenation. Together the willow and the stream stand for the place within us where there is a pool of energy.”

The Willow Stream spa is all about lifestyle. And this is reflected in their décor. The five elements – air, water, earth, wood, and fire – are represented. British-Asian décor is found at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria on Vancouver Island where the colours reflect the spa’s philosophy: gold for total acceptance of self, browns and grays of the earth for a cocoon of personal safety.

The spa in Victoria presents “Fit for Royalty”, a facial using seaweed. A signature treatment, “Find Your Energy” provides a light scrub followed by a Jacuzzi tub experience after which a rose hip oil wrap is applied. Perfect for jet lag and those recovering from illness.

Relaxation, rejuvenation, and your unique needs are all part of the plan for you to find your energy.

SPA: Open 7 days a week, Sunday through Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Spa tel. (250) 995-4650
Fax. (250) 995-4651
Toll Free. (866) 854-7444

(Fairmont) Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC.
Hotel tel. 250-384-8111 (hotel)
Toll free 1-800-441-1414 (hotel)
Email: theempress@fairmont.com

For Your Information
Parents of local kids and tourists with kids to entertain will be interested in a new website, www.kidsinvictoria.com. It lists upcoming events especially designed for children, childcare services, youth clubs, and more. It’s a growing site so check back often for new details.


  • July 1
    The Great Canadian Family Picnic
    Beacon Hill Park
    Featured attractions are 25 local artists, entertainment that includes clowns, Cross Canada You Paint It Mural, buskers, and stage entertainment. Feast on the huge Canada Day Cake. Free admission.
    Contact: (250) 744-3200

  • First two weeks of July
    Victoria Symphony Summer Music Festival: Summer Cathedral Fest

    Held at Christ Church Cathedral
    Two weeks of classical music inside Victoria’s Christ Church Cathedral features eleven concerts of classical music including works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, quartets, quintets and solo performances.
    Contact: (250) 385-6515

  • July 11-August 17
    Victoria Shakespeare Festival

    St. Ann’s Academy Auditorium

    Mainstage 8:00pm and Late Night 11:00pm
    Much Ado About Nothing and Julius Caesar
    Contact: (250) 360-0234

  • July 20
    Moss Street Paint-in

    Moss Street

    1:00pm – 4:00pm
    More than 75 well known and emerging artists work at “stations” along Moss Street using a wide variety of media and style. Beer garden and food stations are open noon – 8:30pm and the dance begins at 5pm in the Art Gallery parking lot. Free annual festival of the visual arts.
    Contact: (250) 384-4101

  • July 20

    Confederation Day Celebration

    Government House, 1401

    Rockland Avenue

    Government House celebrates BC’s entry into Canadian Confederation at an annual Open House and Gardens from 11am – 3pm. Admission is free. In the gardens, enjoy entertainment by a variety of bands and musicians, and view artist’s displays.

  • July 21
    A Bite of Victoria
    St. Ann’s Academy, 835 Humboldt Street
    “A Bite of Victoria” food festival will be held on the lawns of St. Ann’s Academy. The food festival consists of restaurant tents offering samples or “Bites” at a cost of $1 a ticket. Restaurant booths may charge 1, 2, or 3 tickets per sample depending on the food. This festival is coordinated by the Victoria Hospitality Group, a coalition of the Victoria Branches of the BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association (BCRFA), and the Victoria Association of Chefs and Cooks (VACC).

  • July 27
    Luminara Victoria

    St Ann’s Academy and Beacon Hill Park
    A full day of fun, including family activities at St Ann’s Academy during the day, then live music, stilt-walkers, dance, theatre performance, and lantern displays in Beacon Hill Park in the evening.

    ©2002 by Barbara Ballard. Reproduction of this work in whole or in part and reproduction in electronic media, without documented permission from the author is prohibited.


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