Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Outdoor cold plunge and sauna businesses are illegal in Vancouver, but that could soon change

"I think there's an appetite on the part of the public for these opportunities," says a Vancouver councillor.
Outdoor saunas and cold plunges could be in Vancouver's future if city regulations change to allow those businesses to operate.

A Vancouver city councillor is hoping regulations can be reworked to make outdoor cold plunge and sauna businesses legal.

Currently, cold plunges, saunas and similar services aren't allowed outside in the City of Vancouver, but that should change according to Coun. Lisa Dominato. She's put forward a motion to have city staff come up with rule changes that would allow them outside.

"I think there's an appetite on the part of the public for these opportunities," she tells V.I.A. "If we can enable these activities in the city I think it'll be a great addition."

The hope isn't just to allow cold plunges or saunas outside, but to also allow them in under-utilized spaces.

The issue is old regulations focused on brick-and-mortar businesses, says Dominato; since outdoor options weren't accounted for by lawmakers at the time, those kinds of services are rendered illegal.

She's had a few businesses reach out about the possibility, and having experienced things like cold plunges outside herself, she hopes to see the barriers removed, and ideally quickly.

The potential policy changes follow other similar concepts, like Batch at the Plaza of Nations, which is a bar/restaurant operating out of a shipping container set up in the old venue's parking lot.

"That was an example of when they came to us, initially it was a very complex process to enable that pop-up hospitality space in the city," Dominato explains.

While Dominato's motion is coming up at the same time as one on Kitsilano Pool calling for repairs to the venue to be deemed a priority, she says her motion is unrelated. She clarifies that there's no intention to convert the shuttered pool into a facility with saunas and cold plunge tubs or pools.

"Right now our focus is on ensuring another 100 years at Kits Pool," she elaborates.

Cold plunges have been shown to have health benefits, Dominato adds, but they're aren't a common offering by Vancouver businesses. The one on Granville Island does not fall under the City of Vancouver's regulations, as the area is under federal jurisdiction.

Dominato's motion also notes Indigenous practices like sweat lodges could be included in rule revisions.