Running a space for healing and discovery: Meet Temple 23

We're so thankful to have been hosted by Temple 23, a space owned and operated by Sarah Hauch and Kristine Vanderplas, for our Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds workshop two weeks ago! I got a chance to chat with Kristine between her yoga classes about what it is like to run the venue and learn more about the space.  

What is Temple 23?

Temple 23 is a spiritual healing centre. It's a space for people to be themselves and express what they want to do. We are primarily focused on spirituality and self-expansion and curate the events we hold, but we've hosted lots of different events from workshops to music nights. We also run some events ourselves, Sarah ran a Sober Bar [on July 16], for example, and I host Meditation Mondays every week. Our goal is to make it an accessible space which honours integrity and authenticity which also means it is a dry space.


How did you two get started running an events venue?

Sarah and I met two years ago through mutual friends but really bonded over the Empower Thyself course at the Modern Mystery School. Around that time we became close and the opportunity came up. I was already teaching yoga and guiding meditation sessions, it was really a matter of timing and being willing to adapt. We moved in January 2015. [The building is] a converted warehouse so it was a blank space with white walls that we could really make our own. We put in a floor and decorated some but it wasn't until one woman from the Aerie Collective approached us about using the space for hosting urban retreats, and she was really interested in using it, and said "Look, if you give me a budget I can make it look more like what you want."  That really shaped it more into what we envisioned. We both have jobs outside of Temple 23, so it's not like we spend all of our time on it but we've had steady interest from the beginning, just really positive feedback, and a good uptake. Our primary business is offering healing to individuals.

You mentioned a Sober Bar earlier, do you want to explain what that is?

That's really more Sarah's project than mine, but a Sober Bar is basically a place where you can go to be in community, like a normal bar, but without alcohol. It's a concept that's become pretty popular on the West coast, you hear about them having these long lines. Our first one was last Saturday and we had a decent turnout. People are very appreciative of having access to events where no alcohol is involved. We hear from people who have struggled with addiction, and it's very hard to get back out there when the main places to do that are bars. There's also people who are just outgrowing the bar scene but still want to be able to go out on some nights. Some people are skeptical at first, we hosted an art show not too long ago and there was a lot of back-and-forth with the organizers because it's an art show. "You have to have alcohol, it's an art show!" they said, but we just said sorry it's a dry space. And you know, the show went really well. The organizers were happy and they were impressed. Nobody got sloppy drunk and everyone was just present. So there can be benefits!

Why did you choose to partner with YWiB and give us the opportunity to use Temple 23?

We're interested in reaching people beyond the spiritual community. [Temple 23] has gained a good reputation and Toronto has a fairly big spiritual community which knows about it. We want to be able to reach people who wouldn't come across it naturally now, people who are maybe outside the community but still align with our focus. Your Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds event actually strikes home for me because I'm really interested in wellness in the workplace. It's important to take time for yourselves, especially young women who often work more hours than most. People seem to just be working longer and harder and that focus on wellness is so necessary.