redirection // transformation // evolution

After a long communication hiatus we are here to fill you in on what has been going on for Ritual Island.

At the beginning of 2017, we came together with the idea of combining our ideas and expertise into a one-stop shop for all the things we care about. Emily started Inland Island Community Wellness Centre in 2015 as a space where complementary healthcare was offered on a sliding scale and in group settings as a means to reducing the financial barriers to care. Robin was deep in the process of combining the expertise she had gained through yoga & Pilates trainings with her desire to have people feel at home in their bodies. We saw how these two things could be married and evolve together and we began looking for a space to call ours - Ritual Island.

It took nearly a year of searching but we found the spot we thought would work best in January 2018. We entered into the process of obtaining the city permits required to build. We initiated relationships with architects, builders, and tradespeople. And we waited. And waited. And waited. We were patient, we were persistent, we left messages with the Building Department and showed up in person at City Hall as often as we could. It became apparent that although we had entered into a contract for the space with the help of a lawyer, we had signed a lease with little in our favor. And though they had indicated otherwise, as the waiting continued we realized that our new landlords had little interest in helping us weather the storm of a 7 month building delay.

When we reached out to our community with an Indiegogo campaign full of incentives for contributions, we were blown away by the support from fellow business owners and all of our community. The generosity and love we received helped buoy us up through what had felt like extremely rough waters.

In the end, it became financially prohibitive to move forward with building our Ritual Island. We are devastated. We are hurt. But we are coping. We invested tens of thousands of dollars, hours, and ounces of care into this project and it has not gone to waste. We’ve learned important lessons around who to work with and give our money to. We’ve experienced and integrated just how damaging a purely capitalist mindset to running a business can be. And instead of embittering us we’ve dug our heels in even further around our mission to run a truly social business whose priorities go beyond just generating a profit for the owners.

Most importantly the community we’ve built in and around Ritual Island feels stronger than ever.

After all of the work put into this project, we have decided to run our businesses as parallel ships. Robin has opened up GOODBODYFEEL at 145 Main St. E. with classes scheduled everyday to empower and move you in every possible way. Emily continues to run Inland Island at 464 King St. W., and is in the process of looking for a larger space in order to expand the reach of judgment-free sliding scale complementary health care.

We are endlessly grateful and are ever committed to our work because of your love, support and encouragement. Thank you for riding this wave with us.

emily bennett  x  robin lamarr