Humans of Danforth East: Erin and Yvonne from Origin Wellness

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 4.24.31 PM
Photo / Jessica Laforet

Meet Erin and Yvonne, best friends who are more like sisters.
They are practicing Registered Massage Therapists and the co-owners of Origin Wellness.

Since meeting in school, they have always been there for one another.  A friendship when you don’t even remember when they became your person for life.

Yvonne was present at Erin’s first birth.  They are now slowly learning how not to dress like each other.  And together they have worked hard to build a business that they love.

It was their artistic sides and love of music that drew them to one another.

Before massage therapy, Erin did her undergrad in theatre.  She performed in a Fringe show, was in the house cast at Bad Dog Theatre and performed in improv festivals in Toronto and Chicago. She then decided that a different career might be a better fit for her.

Yvonne was a musician and a student in Humber’s music program.  As an introduction to professional playing, Humber held information sessions – speaking to students about carpal tunnel, tendinitis, and caring for their bodies.  Playing up to six hours a day put strain on Yvonne’s body.   She saw a physical therapist to help relieve her aches and pain.

From artistic backgrounds, Erin and Yvonne came together as massage therapy students.  They were study buddies who then became colleagues.  While working together in various spas and clinics, they realized more and more that they shared similar philosophies and ideas on how to provide the best patient care.

Origin Wellness began one night at Christmas.  Erin and her husband had recently moved into their east end home and Yvonne and her partner came over for a visit.  The guys, always encouraging and supportive of their work, suggested that Erin and Yvonne should start their own business. They had been practicing RMTs for 4 years at this point. From their experiences in spas and clinics, they knew what elements they would intentionally bring together to benefit the lives of others.

Within a month, Yvonne had a list of places they could rent and Erin was busily making spreadsheets. The switch was flipped. They were all in.

It seems fitting that they found their first space at Danforth and Moberly.  Erin lives only a few blocks away and Yvonne’s first home growing up was on Moberly.  Her dad, aunts, and grandma all lived in the neighbourhood.

Erin and Yvonne rented a little, 200 square foot nook from Ankh Yoga (at the back of the studio building).  It wasn’t long before they outgrew the space and needed more rooms to accommodate their bookings. Luckily for them, the entire main floor of the building suddenly became available and they had to act quickly.

At the time, Erin was 30 weeks pregnant with her son and Yvonne was just picking up her music again.  It was an intense period but these two friends made it happen. Erin described it as the ultimate nesting (helping with the expansion of the clinic).  Her baby was 5 days overdue on opening day.

Together they have created a beautiful space – warm, cozy and quiet.  Their hope was to avoid a clinical feeling and they most definitely have.  Walking in, you will feel like you’re in a spa, with the professional and research-based practices of health care practitioners.

Origin Wellness has an incredible mix of patients: parents, professionals, athletes, kids, and more.  There are people who run up to a dozen marathons a year, those recovering from cancer treatments, to kids who seek relief from anxiety and growing pains. Word of mouth has kept them busy and many long-time patients come to see them from across the city. People trust them and feel their sincerity.

As friends, they miss spending time with each other.  With the nature of their work, they’re often in therapy rooms with patients.  It’s a wave at each other down the hallway or a spontaneous trip to IKEA to grab supplies.  Their schedules are very different which makes their time together even more valuable.

Along with caring for patients, Yvonne is a musician.  She performs regularly with the Arkells, playing in their horn section.  She also plays with a Motown band, The Intentions.  Yvonne’s a baritone sax player who plays on the spectrum from jazz to punk rock.

When Yvonne is getting ready for an evening performance, Erin is usually in her pyjamas.  Erin is on an extended maternity leave and enjoys her days with her 6-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son.  She does a lot of the clinic’s administrative work from home whenever she can squeeze it in and continues to enjoy treating patients in the clinic every few weeks.

It’s their opposite nature that has made them not only great friends but great business partners.  They get each other and their strengths complement.  Where Erin is calculated and organized, Yvonne encourages them to go for it.  One provides the energy, the other the support.

It’s pretty special to be able to do what you love and with your best friend.  Erin and Yvonne have both.


If you’re interested in booking a massage or naturopathic medicine appointment at Origin Wellness, they would love to see you.  Bookings are done through their easy-to-use, online appointment calendar.

Erin, Yvonne, and their team care about helping people feel better.  Perhaps you’ll find it’s a great fit for you and a quick walk from home to get to your next appointment.

For information about the vast array of treatments available, visit their website at



Additional posts from The Humans of Danforth East series:

Kari from The Pop Stand

Chris from Firefly Creative Writing

Introducing the Humans of Danforth East

The Arts Fair is coming! The Arts Fair is coming!

Mark Your Calendars: The Danforth East Arts Fair Returns Sept. 16-17, 2017!


The clock on the Danforth East Arts Fair website is counting down the weeks (3 weeks, 0 days, 21 hours and 3 minutes at the time of writing, to be exact) left to go until the best arts fair in Toronto returns to East Lynn Park.

If you haven’t been before, you don’t want to miss out! The Fair is a chance to stroll around the park, maybe stopping for a bite to eat while catching up with your neighbours or listening to some live music–all while being treated to dozens of local artisans’ wares.

In honour of DECAF turning 9 this year, here are the top 9 things you need to know about the Arts Fair (and why you should support it):

  1. There is no admission fee to visit the Fair on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16-17, 10 am-5 pm! The live entertainment and activities are all free too.
  2. There is something for everyone, with prices ranging from $5 to over $1000.
  3. There are over 70 amazing local artisans and food vendors to see and taste! Check the Fair’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for daily vendor profiles, and start making your wish list now. Follow #decaf17 so you don’t miss anything.
  4. There is live music to keep your ears entertained while you browse or take a break. On Saturday, Sept. 16, catch Kristen Lindell, Jeremy and Jenn, and Lisa Olafson. And on Sunday, Sept. 17, you’ll hear the sweet sounds of Brynn Leger, Pete Eastmure and AnimalKyngdom, and Jeremy and Jenn.
  5. There are amazing local food vendors to keep you fueled. Grab a coffee, or enjoy a fabulous picnic. This year, look for Celena’s Bakery, East of York, our local Magic OvenSweet Serendipity, Taste the Tornado, and The Borough. Yum.
  6. There is free visual entertainment as well! Catch The S.P.A.C.E on Saturday, Sept. 16 at noon-12:30 pm, and on Sunday, Sept. 17, see The Upper Beaches Music School from noon-12:30 pm and Pegasus Dance Studios from 12:30-1:00 pm.
  7. There are lots of activities to keep kids entertained too! Be sure to check out Silly Goose Kids from 10:00 am-1:00 pm and The Toronto Tool Library from 2:00-5:00 pm on Saturday, Sept. 16. Sunday, Sept. 17’s kids event line up will be DeSerres from 10:00 am-1:00 pm, and Pegasus Dance Studios from 2:00-5:00 pm.
  8. This year’s generous sponsors who help keep our non-profit Fair going are DECA, and from our fabulous local business community: TrustRealtyGroup, our local DeSerres, Fresh Paint Studio + Cafe, and Toronto Honda. And Damon from PRESS Books. Coffee. Vinyl. is donating coffee from his shop to all the artists.
  9. The Arts Fair and DECA overall is entirely volunteer run. All of this amazingness is orchestrated  by your neighbours who want our ‘hood to be more vibrant and fun. Thank you, Arts Fair volunteers!

Stay tuned to the blog for more on the Arts Fair as the weeks count down. See you at the Fair!

Fair Tents

Trees and Arts – things to do this weekend!

Summer may be winding down, but here are some things to do around the neighbourhood to keep your mind off of your September to-do list.

Stephenson Park Tree Tour & Community Picnic, Saturday August 26

2017 - Stephenson Park Tree Tour and Picnic - August 26


Main Squared Festival – Main & Danforth, August 26 – September 3


Main Squared
August 26 to September 3, 2017
Main and Danforth
Facebook Event Page

Main Squared is a free 9-day arts & community festival that will activate and explore the public square at the corner of Main Street and Danforth Avenue in Toronto from August 26 – September 3, 2017.

Drawing inspiration and insight from historical “public squares” while tapping into community aspirations, the festival will invite residents, community members, and the general public to reimagine the square as a space for social engagement, discourse, and civic activism.

Blending contemporary art and community art projects, the festival will feature art installations, interactive activities, workshops, performances, and more.

Visit the Main Squared website to learn more about the Main Squared Artists & ProjectsCommunity WorkshopsVolunteer Opportunities, and more ways to Participate.

Check the Schedule for dates, times, and information about workshops, activities, marketplace, and performances.

Main Squared is produced by East Ends Arts. Contemporary art projects curated by Labspace Studio. Main Squared is a Cultural Hotspot Signature Project.


Nookflea, Sunday August 27, Valu-Mart Parking Lot (Cedarvale & Strathmore)


Join the Nooks for this free event. For more details, check out their Facebook event page.

The Market this week: Corn, Corn, Corn

It’s mid-August, the lazy days of summer, and the perfect time to enjoy the farmer’s market! Come out and join us this Thursday at East Lynn Park from 3pm to 7pm – the wading pool will be open and Oaks ‘N Acorns will be hosting a kids activity at 4:30pm. It’s a great time to bring the kids, pick a snack up at the market, and hang out in the park for the afternoon, or maybe even make it a picnic dinner so you don’t have to worry about dishes.


Every week the farmers bring more produce to choose from and this week the highlight is corn and tomatoes! We always get excited when corn is in season, it just doesn’t get any better than corn on the cob fresh off the grill and dripping with butter, but if you want to make something new that incorporates some of the beautiful farm-fresh tomatoes and potatoes along with the corn give we recommend this delicious chicken and corn summer chowder. See you at the market!

corn 2

The East Lynn Farmers’ Market runs every Thursday from 3-7:00 p.m. between June 1 – October 19 at East Lynn Park, located on the south side of Danforth Ave, just west of Woodbine Ave. Stay up to date by visiting the East Lynn Market Facebook page or by following us on Twitter.

Arts Festivals Galore!

The first ever Monarch Park Arts & Music Festival is happening this Saturday, August 12 (tomorrow), 12 noon – 8:00pm

Coming soon…

East End Arts presents Main Squared, a free nine-day arts and community festival that will activate and explore the public square at the corner of Main Street and Danforth Avenue from August 26 to September 3, 2017.

Blending contemporary art and community arts projects, the festival will feature art installations, interactive activities, workshops, performances, and more.

The festival location is situated in the unique spaces between the four high-rise towers that are home to thousands of residents and a commercial plaza with unoccupied storefronts. Given its accessible location, diversity, density of residents, and proximity to transit and other amenities, Main Square is full of potential as a vibrant and unique cultural hub. With Main Squared, East End Arts aims to increase engagement with the community to spark a sense of pride within the spaces in the neighbourhood in which they live, work, play, and own every day.

Visit the website for more info. Also note that they are looking for volunteers!

Still over a month to go but you definitely want to make a mental note and block off time now for the Danforth East (Community) Arts Fair #DECAF17, coming on September 16 & 17. One of DECA's signature events, this weekend of arts, beauty, community and fun is a must-do for everyone in this 'hood.

See all the sneak peeks of what will be for sale by following the DECAF on social:

Fb: @DECAartsfair
Insta: @deca_arts

We are always in need of volunteers so give us a shout if you're available for a shift that weekend! Sit at the info table, help with set up or take down, take pics, help us with social media – there are lots of jobs! Email us here.

DECA news!

So much to tell you about what we are up to – our birthday parties next month, community-wide scavenger hunt, meet & greet next week, Board meeting and volunteer opportunity!

Happy Birthday to Us!

We have officially announced our DECAde celebrations, our 10th birthday, with a few exciting events. We’ll tell you more, but here are the highlights:

  • celebration at the East Lynn Farmers’ Market at East Lynn Park (1949 Danforth Avenue) from 4-6 pm on September 21st. Formal remarks and a cake-cutting to begin at 5pm.
  • cocktail soirée at The Shore Leave (1775A Danforth Avenue) on Saturday, September 23rd from 7-9 pm (cash bar)
  • self-led scavenger hunt from now to September 21st to encourage individuals and families to explore the Danforth East neighbourhood to find the 10 spots, using our clues.

Free scavenger hunt maps & clues will be available at the East Lynn Park Farmers’ Market on Thursdays or download one here. Completed maps can be dropped off at the DECA table at the Farmers’ Market every Thursday from 3-7pm until September 21st. All completed maps will be entered into a draw, with results announced at The Shore Leave cocktail soirée on September 23rd.

Meet & Greet + Board Meeting

Who should come to our meet & greet on Tuesday? You should! It’s from 7-8pm at Gerrard’s Pizza in the basement (1528 Danforth). You should come if you’re new to the neighbourhood, or you’re curious about what exactly DECA does and who we are (spoiler alert: we’re all volunteers with full lives but we just really love our neighbourhood and we are fun!) or because you are interested in joining our Board or volunteeringin some other capacity. Come for a chat, and it’s up to you whether you’d like to stay for the Board meeting!

You are also invited to join us for our Board meeting from 8-9pm. Same location. Do you have an agenda item? Just let us know!

Click here to email us with any questions or to RSVP. We appreciate it if you let us know you are coming so we can reach you if anything changes and so that we can change to a bigger location if needed. Please also tell us about any accommodation needs. (The room is not accessible but we will find one that is if needed)

Volunteer Opportunity: Still need cooks

We are still looking for volunteer cooks to feed the farmers’ at our East Lynn Farmers’ Market. Some spots have filled since we made our plea last week but lots of spots are still available. Make a simple meal for 10-15 and we pay you a $20 honourarium. Past volunteer cooks have really enjoyed this chance to give back to the people who bring us their fresh local food week after week! Click here to sign up and for more information.

Other ways to get more involved:

Join DECA as a member for $10/household for the year.

Interested in volunteering? Click here to sign up and you’ll be added to our volunteer email list!