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Author | Photos Hannu Keski-Hakuni

5 Writing Retreats in Ontario This Fall

Writers! THIS is your permission slip! It’s time to devote some undivided attention to your writing.

For me, September is like the real new year. It’s when I feel MOST motivated to focus on crushing big goals and get back to WERK. My favourite feeling is being super-focused, (Pumpkin Spice Latte in hand), with a head full of ideas and the time to get them down on paper. It takes carving out time/creating space to truly conjure this feeling, but it’s so, so worth it. Here are 5 writers retreats in Ontario if you want to set aside time to get down and dirty with your writing.

Write Now Retreat (Stratford, October 22-25)

This three-day memoir-writing retreat is part of the Writers Festival of Stratford, which is a gorgeous city two hours from Toronto best known for it’s focus on theatre (…and for being the home of Justin Bieber). This retreat gets you three nights at a vintage boutique hotel, daily lectures and one-on-one time with an instructor. Get scribbling in two writing lounges, by the Avon River, or in the Shakespearean gardens. Stratford is the best.

Bright Harvest: A Weekend Writing Retreat in Southern Ontario by Firefly Creative Writing (Lake Simcoe, October 13-15)

From the heart-centered small biz Firefly Creative Writing comes this juicy retreat for peeps that want to “step out of the bustle and create mindfully, carefully and lovingly.” If you’ve got a story in your heart, a memoir in mind, or a bushel of poetry to produce, Firefly is a supportive community that’ll help you thrive. Duck out of everyday life to spend two nights in a soulful old manor (!) with ten other writers and two instructors.

Algonquin Fall Colours Writing Retreat by Quick Brown Fox (Arowhon Pines Resort, Algonquin Park, September 15-17)

It’s the last call for this wilderness writers retreat, where you can get inspired by Ontario nature (a la The Group of Seven) and write with instruction/one-on-one time with author and teacher Brian Henry. Then you can reward your efforts with some kayaking/hiking/swimming or chilling on your wood-panelled cabin’s back deck to the sound of loons.

Peele Island Book House Writing Retreat (Peelee Island, October 2-8 or self-directed)

This week-long retreat, “Genre Writing: How Story Transcends Genre,” is led by novelist/screenwriter Chuck Wendig. If genre writing is your thing, consider how two focused workshops and free writing time on scenic Peelee island could enhance your project. Or, if you fancy a more self-directed approach, book a “weekend bookhouse escape” in the five-bedroom literary-themed inn and soak in those writerly vibes.

Artscape Gibraltar Point (Toronto Island, self-directed)

This former school on 46 acres of parkland on the island is home to Toronto Artscape’s short-term studio/overnight accommodations and programmed residencies. Here, writers, artists and creatives work in old classrooms, share a big kitchen, chill on the beach and enjoy life just beyond the big smoke. This is v much a community vibe.

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