Why sit on the dock of the Bay (watching the tide roll away) when you can sit in a locally crafted Finnish cedar barrel sauna? This sauna will go wherever you can envision yourself, so you can relish a deep sweat, a deep meditation, or laughter among friends.
words & photos :: Scott Parent
Personally, I love a fine wooden structure of any kind, whether a handmade frame or piece of furniture. But certain designs stand out a little more prominently than others, expressing the attention to detail and workmanship invested in their construction. This Finnish barrel sauna by Collingwood-based Markham Works is one such design.
Constructed using either red western or eastern white cedar, and inspired by the wooden saunas of Finland, these annular shaped lodges are slick and stylish. Heated using woodstoves, they take no time at all to warm up (20 minutes) while the heat releases the sweet aroma of arbor vitae.
The “dry round” ensures a comfortable experience throughout the profound heatwave that follows after adding water to the rocks
Ryan Markham is a childhood friend of mine. Head of Freeski at the Alpine Ski Club, and father of two, Genevieve and Everly, he launched Markham Works in 2010. His hefty portfolio includes live edge custom-built family tables, and barnboard finishings. He also built the bars and tables for Side Launch Brewery, the bar at Georgian Hills Vineyards, and the tables at Northwinds Brewery.
The Markham Works mission? To furnish friends, families and clients with quality unique furniture that will last centuries. In 2015, he sidelaunched an addition to his portfolio, producing customized, portable saunas.
An avid user himself, Markham has finetuned the craft of assembling these sweat retreats as much as he has dialled in his method of using them. First, a dry round: after heating up the sauna, we sit for 15 minutes to thermoregulate ourselves and open the pores. Round two: we add water to the stovetop rocks for the perfect blast of intense heat. The dry round ensures a comfortable experience throughout the profound heatwave that follows after adding water to the rocks. Markham prescribes keeping hydrated, before, during and after use.
He stoutly recommends laying back and having a good time among friends and family. “Some folks think of a sauna as more of a solo meditation experience,” says Markham, “but I like to point out how therapeutic sharing the space among family and friends can be as well.” Another perk of Markham Works saunas? They’re portable—the ideal hot haven to complement an après ski, or cold surf on the Bay.