– Facilitated Writing Retreats in Canada –
We all love the people and places in our lives, but writing comes more easily with solitude and time.
Those are beautiful words, right? Luxurious words that conjure images of writing studios filled with cozy armchairs, sunlit windows and silence.
Like me, you’ve probably learned to write pretty much anywhere, from your living room surrounded by kids (this is me right now), to busy coffee shops, airports, and even in a car at the side of the road.
But sometimes, writers need space – we need time and solitude like we need water and air.
Writing retreats give us that space, plus, they offer the perfect excuse to take a vacation alone. At a writing retreat, you can relax and recharge while working on something that’s important to you.
I especially like facilitated writing retreats that combine free writing with group workshops. The workshop portion gets the writing juices flowing, making solitary writing more productive.
– Plan your Writing Retreat –
This year, leave behind life’s daily pressures to write with people who love writing the way you do!
Here are 15 facilitated writing retreats in Canada in 2018:
Artscape is an artist community on Toronto Island that offers self-directed and facilitated retreats. They provide space for artists, musicians and writers, and run many mixed media workshops and residencies.
In 2018, they are offering a retreat for artists of all types including writers, called “Awakening: Earth-Based Spirituality and Art.”
When: Waiting on 2019 Dates
Where: Toronto Island, Ontario
Cost: $850 to $1000
Description: “Engage holistic practices that connect mind, body and spirit with the self and environment.”
The Banff Centre is world-renowned for the caliber of its programs. One of Canada’s most prestigious writing contests, “CBC Canada Writes,” offers a Banff Centre residency as one of its top prizes.
In 2018, the Banff Centre is running a Summer Writing Retreat, a Investigative Journalism Intensive writing retreat, a retreat for emerging writers called the Emerging Writers Intensive, a Mountain and Wilderness Retreat and the Late Fall Writers Retreat.
When – Summer Writing Retreat: August 27-September 8, 2018
When – Investigative Journalism Intensive: September 17-23, 2018
When – Emerging Writers Intensive: October 1-8, 2018
When – Mountain and Wilderness Retreat: October 26-November 17, 2018
When – Late Fall Writers Retreat: December 3-15, 2018
Where: Banff, Alberta
Cost – Retreats range from $1202.10 to $3740.50,
Description: “Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development.”
I wrote about Firefly Creative Writing in an earlier post. I’ve personally attended two of their retreats and they were lovely, inspiring, emotional, and exhilarating. Firefly runs numerous retreats throughout the year, providing a retreat for every season.
In Fall 2018, they have two retreats, a silent writing retreat called “A Deeper Stillness” offered in Castleton, Ontario, and a retreated called “Bright Harvest,” at Loretto Maryholme, a beautiful former nunnery on Lake Simcoe.
When: A Deeper Stillness – September 20-23, 2018
Where: Castleton, Ontario
Cost: $1000 to $1450
When: Bright Harvest – October 19-21, 2018
Where: Georgina, Ontario
Cost: $650 to $795
Description: “To write — to really write — we need to drop down into ourselves and our stories. We need to somehow create a depth of focus that lets us see and step into the wide, dazzling possibility of the next page.”
Loretto Maryholme looks out over a beautiful flower garden cultivated by nuns and Lake Simcoe is just a few steps beyond the back porch. In addition to renting their facility to organizations like Firefly Creative Writing, they also conduct their own retreats.
In 2018, they are offering a retreat called “Let Mercy Flow: Embracing a Life of Abundance and Blessing.”
This retreat is not described as a writing retreat, but references poetry as part of the program.
When: Waiting on 2019 Dates
Where: Georgina, Ontario
Cost: $280 to $395
Description: “Through input, media, poetry, guided reflections and meditative practices we will explore how steeping oneself in the flow of Mercy unleashes a life of abundance and blessing.”
Ochre House is a vacation and studio facility located in a former United Church set in a beautiful, natural location, in Ochre Pit Cove, Newfoundland.
Each year, Ochre House offers a writing retreat that includes guided excursions to see whales and icebergs. Talk about inspiration!
When: 2019 Date Coming Soon
Where: Ochre Pit Cove, Conception Bay, Newfoundland
Cost: $750 to $1000
Description: “The workshop discusses individual processes and the place of writing in one’s life.”
Pelee Island is well known for its bird observatory and dedication to the conservation of wild birds, but Pelee Island is also a hotbed of literary talent. The Pelee Island Book House has some high-caliber instructors in its roster, including Margaret Atwood, Graeme Gibson, and Steven Heighton.
In 2018, they are offering two fall retreats called “Fiction Writing” and “Publishing 101.”
When – Fiction Writing: September 10-16, 2018
When – Weekend Retreat: September 21-23, 2018
Where: Pelee Island, Ontario
Cost: $840 to $1575 (week long rates)
Cost: $280 to $500 (weekend rates)
Description: “When not reading or writing, participants can go for a bike ride to the lighthouse, or walk along the beach, collecting shells and rocks, listen to the birds, and enjoy the breeze from the lake.”
Pulp Literature publishes one of my favourite Canadian literary magazines and I’ve also worked with them to edit my writing. They have wonderful developmental editors on staff. Their writing retreats are finished for 2018, but check back for 2019 dates!
When: 2019 Dates Coming Soon
Where: Bowen Island, British Columbia
Cost: $229/per retreat
“You’ll return home with a notebook full of new words, a head full of new ideas, and if you choose to join our Groaning Board banquet, a belly full of fabulous food.”
Sage Hill is a long running, not-for-profit organization based in Saskatchewan that provides development opportunities to writers. Many writers have gone on to publish after working with Sage Hill.
In 2018, they are offering a series of retreats focused on introductory writing, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and playwriting.
When: July 16-26, 2018
Where: Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan
Description: “We draw writers out into the broader cultural spectrum, helping them to take part in and contribute to the vibrancy and voice of Canadian literature.”
Vocamus Press is a Guelph-based micropress that offers various programs for writers, including a yearly writing retreat on Manitoulin Island.
When:Waiting for 2019 Dates
Where: Manitoulin Island, Ontario
Description: “Spend a weekend writing at beautiful Dominion Bay.”
When: Waiting for 2019 Dates
Where: Whistler, British Columbia
“WAC… is unlike other writing getaways across the country due to its setting, varied activities, and multi-disciplinary focus. Not a retreat, but a creative re-boot!”
*This article was originally published on January 1, 2018.
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If you like writing retreats, you may also like this list of 31 Canadian Writing Conferences in 2018.
Also consider this list of 10 Self-Directed Writing Residencies.