Cancer and wellness programming

Rest, Connect, Thrive

 Online programs

With the onset of COVID19 restrictions, we are shifted many of our cancer support resources to online programs, including Expressive Arts, Yoga, and Healing Circles (group conversation guided by a therapist). 

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Rest, Connect and Renew

The Abbey Retreat Centre offers a sanctuary experience based on a whole person approach to healing and wellness. The purpose of the retreat format is to transport people living with cancer (as well as their support person) out of their day to day lives to focus on life enhancing choices for their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health and well-being.

In designing our retreats, we have researched the most effective modalities in addressing the common side effects of cancer: depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, nausea and loss of appetite, loss of meaning, and isolation.

This retreat is 4 days long (Thursday afternoon – Sunday afternoon) and is hosted at our retreat centre in beautiful Haliburton, ON.

This retreat is for those living with a cancer diagnosis, as well as their key support person.

This cancer support retreat offers opportunities for rest and renewal, companionship, and an introduction to evidence-informed practices that tend the body, mind, and soul.

Time in nature, gentle and restorative yoga, massage, expressive practices, music, delicious and nutritious food, and facilitated and informal group conversation are all elements of what makes this retreat unique and transformative.

There is no cost for participation in this retreat. Many generous donors help to make these retreats available for participants.

Disclaimer: Abbey Retreat Centre is a non-medical retreat centre. No medical assessment or treatment is provided by Abbey Retreat Centre staff, faculty or volunteers during any of our retreats or programs.


Practices for Creating Meaning: Before-Threshold-After

This retreat is 3 days long (Friday morning – Sunday afternoon) and is hosted at our beautiful retreat centre in Haliburton, ON.

Participants will be invited to use different creative processes as a means to explore the cancer experience through individual and group discussions, meditation, as well as time to relax and rejuvenate.

The time spent together will focus on reconstructing meaning after a cancer diagnosis. Using a variety of materials, participants will be invited to create personal responses to their experiences of illness. This may involve relearning the self and the world, as much may have changed with the diagnosis. Both individual and group expression will be supported as participants share unique life stories and their personal responses to grieving and to loss.

Absolutely no experience in creative processes is necessary.

There is no cost for participation in this retreat. Many generous donors help to make these retreats available for participants.

Take a Thread and Follow It

This innovative, 6-week program uses simple stitching and other art-making invitations to explore the story you wish to tell about your cancer journey.

Stitching is a tool to help express feelings of transience and uncertainty in our world as well as ways to mend, repair and renew in a fresh way. We will create a safe environment where we can honestly express what’s on our minds and in our hearts.

Absolutely no previous stitching or art-making experience is needed. Simply bring an open heart, a playful spirit and your bundle of materials (which will be mailed to you before the program begins).

This program is funded through a generous grant from The Ontario Trillium Foundation.


Abbey Retreat Centre offers day programs that highlight our focus on whole person care. This complementary programming is offered based on local interests such as horticulture, meditation, yoga, art, cooking, etc.  These programs may be offered in partnership with Abbey Gardens and/or other local businesses/groups. If you would like to partner with the Abbey Retreat Centre in offering wellness or other programming, please contact us.



Past Retreat Sessions

Discussion groups, yoga and meditation, nutritional learning, creative expression, connection with nature, and rest time.

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