Floating sauna built on WWII-era barge coming to Victoria's inner harbour

HAVN, currently under construction at Victoria's Ogden Point, will feature saunas, cold pools and green space.   (Mike McArthur/CBC - image credit)
HAVN, currently under construction at Victoria's Ogden Point, will feature saunas, cold pools and green space. (Mike McArthur/CBC - image credit)

Victoria city council approved a rezoning to allow for a new business in the city's inner harbour that has been generating quite a lot of interest.
    
HAVN is a floating sauna that will be tied up at the pier at Ship Point. It will be built on a Second World War-era marine vessel that is currently being retrofitted at Ogden Point.

The venue will feature saunas, cold pools and green space.

"The point of all of this is to creatively build an urban space that people can come and use that isn't a restaurant or a bar or a cafe," HAVN CEO Nick Van Buren said, adding that similar business models have had success in Europe and eastern Canada.

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Van Buren estimates a visit to HAVN will cost around $60 to $70, roughly on par with the per-person price of a nice dinner out.

He adds that they plan to offer discounts to members of the LIFE Program, which gives people with low incomes access to recreational programs and services.

He hopes the venue will bring vibrancy to Ship Point.

Victoria council unanimously approved the project Thursday night, although some speakers voiced opposition during the council meeting.

Mike McArthur/CBC
Mike McArthur/CBC

Speaker Bob June said the inner harbour should be maintained as a working harbour and HAVN will take up valuable mooring space. He also said the vessel is "not attractive."

Another speaker, Paul Burke, referred to it as a "monstrosity" that "might be a prop for a movie scene of Mad Max."

Van Buren says HAVN is not a finished product, and the company plans to add vibrant colours to the vessel's black hull.

"I'm confident that it's going to be a warm environment and a welcoming esthetic when it's completed," he said.