Alter aims to do exactly that. The Toronto hotspot is offering a new way for cool kids, and sober curious, to enjoy a shared sense of community. The hot new trend for Toronto doesn’t belong to a new nightclub or bar, it’s the sauna scene that has become a post-pandemic destination.

Founded by Ujwal Shah, Aleya Velshi, Melissa Donato and Tyler Ackerman, this College Street clubhouse is ready to change your direction.

Alter Hot and Cold Plunge is the Rinse and Repeat We All Need

Alter Spa Cold Plunge
A soundbath is a perfect complement to the cold plunge room

Alter and the sauna experience are hardly anything new. The age-old conquest of alternating from hot to cold is documented and celebrated throughout history in a variety of cultures. So why the sudden draw to this practice?

Weary of wine culture and looking for more of a connected experience, Alter reshapes our routines into a more positive flow. Intention setting is crucial. Maximize your time resetting by coming into the space with the right attitude.

Swimsuit shopping? We have some ideas for all shapes and sizes

Drop-in classes prove to be popular. Facilitators are on hand at these classes to guide you, without formal instruction. Those seeking more attention should try one of their core four classes instead (see below).

Alter Spa Cold Plunge
New to plunging? Breathwork is your new best friend.

🧱 Foundational – beginner, less in-depth, lots of breathwork, movement and essential oils all to chill music.

🕥 Unwind – slow and intentional with long therapeutic measures, downregulating breathwork and calming olfactory scents.

💥 Energize – build resilience and increase motivation. Challenge yourself with like-minded folk. This class combines upregulating breathwork, and upbeat music to invigorate the senses.

⚖️ Rebalance – struggling to place a word with how you feel? Rebalance and reorganize your mind and quiet all the chatter. This class will help you feel centred and strong.

An adjacent tea lounge in between dips offers a social tilt when pivoting between hold and cold spaces.

Typically, you can expect to hit the saunas and cold plunge twice per class. Eleven minutes of cold plunging per week is ideal for noticing health gains. You know the old saying, the first plunge is the deepest! Or is that the coldest?

What Sets Alter Apart From The Others

The space feels intimate. It’s a signal to let go and immerse yourself, both figuratively and physically.

Four-person plunges with two temperature options and a shower bucket option level the playing field for those on the fence. Cold plunges can be tough. This variation offers an inspiring method of levelling up. Not that this is a competitive sport or anything.

Most importantly, hydrate. Drinking water leading up to your class, and not just the day of, is crucial to making these health gains. After class, replenish lost fluids by constantly sipping on that Stanley (girl).

Alter Spa Sauna
Clear your mind and the rest will follow, we promise

All the instructors are backed by 10+ years of experience in providing yoga, breathwork and meditation. The Alter site breaks down each of their modalities (and music selection) so you know what you’re getting yourself into. We love that.

Alter is located at 860 College Street. To stay up to date on new classes, follow them at @alter.toronto

All images by Chelsey Lake.