About Us

The Abbey Retreat Centre was born of a vision to advance the integrative cancer care in Canada and has expanded to include other wellness themes.

The Retreat Centre is located on the beautiful Abbey Gardens Community Trust property across from scenic Grass Lake on Highway 118 in Haliburton County in Ontario, Canada.

The Retreat Centre offers several programming areas, a commercial-grade kitchen, office space, and sleeping accommodations for 8.

The Abbey Gardens property enhances the retreat experience for guests as they are immersed in a peaceful setting in nature. On Abbey Gardens’ 300 acres, beautiful walking and snowshoeing trails exist, a pond, a 2-acre market garden of flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and heritage animals. Site plans are in development and construction drawings have begun for additional overnight guest accommodations to house retreat guests.

Key Partnerships

From our inception, we have worked in close partnership with:

These partnerships provide a multi-pronged and informed approach for whole person care. The Integrative Cancer Care Clinic at CCNM as well as OICC and WHC are all active day clinics providing evidence-based integrative cancer care for patients.  The PI`s primary focus is research; evaluating what existing research indicates are most effective interventions to improve quality of life and treatment success, and conducting and publishing research on the programs at CCNM, WHC, and ARC. CCNM is primarily an educational institute training naturopathic doctors.
It is our belief that offering those with cancer, as well as their support person, some time out of the spin of life dealing with cancer, a time to re-centre, to reflect on life, and to learn practices that promote health and well-being for anyone will help them find healing in their life.

Meet Our Team

Director Profiles

Jeanne Anthon


Jeanne has been a permanent resident in Haliburton since 1991 and a seasonal resident in this area since 1962. She recently retired from the position of Minden Hills Councillor and was the past Warden of Haliburton County.

Since moving here permanently in 1991, Jeanne has served on numerous committees and boards including, Haliburton Highlands Health Services Board (past Chair) and the Haliburton Community Support Services (Past Chair).

She is currently a member of: Minden Rotary Club (28 yrs), Haliburton Concert Series, Coalition Haliburton Lake Associations (CHA), U-Links Haliburton, Festival of the August Moon, Minden Terry Fox Run, Minden Events Committee and the Minden Mandatory Septic Inspection Committee.

Joy Davey, PhD, CPsych

Past President

Joy Davey is a Haliburton resident and registered psychologist with 18 years’ experience owning and facilitating programs at a retreat centre in the Catskill Mountains. In this capacity, she became familiar with all aspects of operating a successful retreat business including the administrative, financial, and operational; marketing and public relations; community development, fund-raising; and the development and facilitation of a program that consisted of a variety of retreat experiences. She brings a wealth of experience in running the business side of a retreat centre, working with people in a healing context, and in training and supervising people who are learning these skills.

Thea Patterson, BA, MA


Thea Patterson, also a Haliburton resident, comes to the Abbey Retreat Centre with a wealth of teaching and curriculum-building experience.  In addition to her experience in Canadian schools, she has extensive international experience developing and presenting management seminars and workshops.  She was an active volunteer internationally implementing literacy, nutrition, and health programs in India and Africa.  She is a member of the Canadian Federation of University Women and a member and volunteer for many local community organizations.

Jennifer Ramsdale

Shelley van Nood

Marg Risk

staff Profiles

Barb Smith-Morrison


Barb Smith-Morrison is a new Haliburton resident, having moved to the area to be close to family (her husband grew up in West Guilford.) Barb served as a Mennonite pastor for 25+ years in Waterloo County and has been trained in Spiritual Direction, Healing Circles, and Forest Therapy Guiding. Barb brings a passion for creating safe and welcoming spaces and places where people can rest and feel seen and heard while they’re being tended and supported: body, mind and soul.

Facilitator Profiles

Fay Wilkinson

Registered Expressive Arts Practitioner

As the Resident Registered Expressive Arts Practitioner at the Abbey Retreat Centre, it is my privilege to bring my experience to those living with cancer.  I guide people both online and in-person to respond creatively to things that matter through different forms of art-making from scribble drawings and stitch to photography and poetry. The beauty is that these ways to express are accessible to everyone. We often call the work low skill high sensitivity.  I strive to create a non-judgmental environment where people feel safe enough to honestly express what’s on their minds and hearts in playful yet meaningful ways when words alone are difficult.

Laurie Stibbards


Laurie Stibbards has been involved in the loving Abbey Retreat Centre community since its inception. For 37 years, Laurie and his family owned a house by the lake in their beloved woods of Algonquin Highlands. For over 50 years, he found deep satisfaction in a psychotherapy practice where he had the privilege of walking with many individuals and couples in their life journey. He believes challenges we face are often doorways to a deeper connection with ourselves. Often, unresolved grief, anger, and pain can block our natural desire to love and be loved. 

Miriam Patterson

Interim Program Coordinator and Registered Yoga Therapist

Miriam is an IAYT recognized yoga therapist and teacher who offers group and individual yoga classes online from her home base of Toronto. Miriam offers regular group classes (slow flow and chair yoga) via zoom, as well as classes through the Integrative Cancer Center at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.  Miriam is also the Resident Yoga Therapist at the Abbey Retreat Centre in Haliburton, Ontario.  
Miriam studied yoga therapy with Ante and Felica Pavlovic at Yoga Therapy Toronto. She is also inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. You can read more about Miriam on her website at practicewithmiriam.com.


Brian Nichols


I am a grandfather, retired teacher, and psychotherapist and an artist, gardener, and avid reader.  Community and family are important to me and I love solitude.  Time on Change Islands, Newfoundland and silent meditation retreats are where I go to recharge.

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