Saying Goodbye After 36 Years

Healing & Wellness Historic Holidays Love

Dear Family and Friends,

It is with a heavy but full heart that I write this letter. After 2 years of navigating
these strange pandemic times, I have made the decision to close Wonderworks
the bookshop, community space and art gallery in the new year. I will be here to celebrate, honour and enjoy this last in-store Holiday Season and Winter Solstice on College Street with you this December, and then our doors will close come March 2022.

As you can imagine this was not an easy decision, but the reality is that so much
has changed, and continues to change as we carry on through this unknown
period. The pandemic is not over, and dealing with the many variables as a small business has been near devastating. For so many local businesses such as Wonderworks, getting through the initial waves of Covid required endless creativity, fortitude and strength. Now, as we hopefully move toward a recovery mode, certain harsh realities for the sustainability of small retail and community spaces unfortunately remain. 

Looking forward, and as some of you may know, I started to develop a project in Sicily, Italy. My hope is that at some point I can bring this beautiful and loving community back together. The thing I will miss most about Wonderworks is the community - such warmth, openness and connection. I have never been more moved by you all than during this pandemic. The love and support was so heartwarming. I had many special conversations with so many of you during those dark times of isolation that kept me going. Thank you.

When I first took over Wonderworks from Mary 16 years ago, it was always my
intention to keep the community she had developed and to grow it in ways that
would open doors to more people, and so The Fleishman Gallery (named after
my mother and aunts) was born during my first year on Harbord Street. As the curator, it was a gift to bring together the alternative healing community with the contemporary art world, with programming events, feminist art, performance and installation - so much heart, mind and soul in that space, so empowering and expansive. Not to mention, lots of great fun at our art openings and receptions.

Wonderworks was always first and foremost about community. I think this was
what made us last 36 years.  It was something you could really feel when you
entered our space, whether it was in our home in the Annex on Harbord, or when we moved to Baldwin Village or when finally in 2019 we relocated to College and Palmerston. We always wanted this to be a place you could visit to experience, to learn, to restore and get inspired. We worked hard to provide quality, natural products that we curated to support people along their healing journeys and discovery of self. We wanted you to know that you could come in, have a cup of one of our beloved Wonderworks tea blends, ask us questions and trust our opinions. That this was a place to come to whether  for personal exploration, to develop your own practice, life celebrations, or help during challenging times. We always wanted people to leave feeling empowered, centred and strong.
Our staff were always actively part of the community and often on their own paths of healing and integration of mind, body and spirit. We have all been so lucky to have been touched by the many beautiful souls that have helped Wonderworks be what it was, not only a shop, but an event, workshop, ritual, meditation, social, sacred, healing, creative space - truly a haven. Standing at the helm of this magical ship was a humbling joy for which I am eternally grateful. Alas, all that arises does pass.

I would like to thank you all for walking this path with me. For sharing with me
your personal stories of triumph and struggle and trusting us to hold space for
you. Words cannot convey the deep gratitude I have for the many ways that this
journey has shaped me. Like all endings it is also a new beginning and I must
dive forward, excited to see where life takes me. I will stay connected with you,
sharing future manifestations as they evolve.

I hope to see many of you in the store this month for a last Wonderworks in-store Holiday shop and beyond. We will be stocked with your favourite Wonderworks healing goodness. I am setting up the space for December, I will be lighting candles and adorning the tree to welcome you, to celebrate and honour what we have created and share blessings for the future. I look forward to seeing your beautiful selves, shining with love as you do.

Until then blessings of joy, wellness and peace.

With love and gratitude always,
Rochelle Holt