Hearts On Fire

A five-day writing retreat in Ontario this July


Do you melt at the idea of five days of writing and resting and listening to seagulls?

Do you have a writing project or idea that’s longing for some time and attention? Do the constant demands of everyday life get in the way of the creative process you’re craving? Are you yearning for a nice stretch of time to relax into your work, your body and your creative pulse?

Hearts On Fire is the place to bring those desires. With the big canvas of five days of writing, sharing and focused silent time on the shores of Georgian Bay, participants will be able to slow down and ease into the hugeness of their work and themselves in the company of huge water, great food and wonderful company.

Here’s how it works:

We will gather on Saturday, July 13th in two creaky and adorable side-by-side cottages on Georgian Bay. After an initial evening of connecting and getting our toes wet writing, we’ll slip into a daily routine of small group workshops, delicious meals, generous stretches of silent writing time and of course downtime to rest and explore the area alone or with others.

Together, we’ll all work to create a fiercely supportive space that will cherish and build every writing voice and vision in the circle.

This retreat will be led by Firefly founder Chris, coach Jenna, and the delightful Sonja Seiler from Nurture Retreats who will be creating amazing food for us all week.

Come to breathe, nap, swim, walk the country roads, listen to the waves lap, make new friends and write your heart out.

A glimpse at our past retreats at this location:

This retreat is ideal for people who:

  • Are excited by the idea of quiet time, heart connection, and creative self-reflection.

  • Want to share their ideas and their writing with others.

  • Have some kind of writing practice, either flourishing or flagging, which they want to get back to.

  • Appreciate communal atmospheres and feel drawn to forming connections with others. (That said, this is an introvert-friendly space, and there will be lots of time to do you own thing.)

  • Are driven, though maybe not always as focused as they would like.

  • Are craving some time away from Facebook and buzzing telephones.

  • Love the sound of seagulls, the smell of campfires, and the squishy bite of a good gluten-free brownie.

  • Have a project, or an idea for a project, on the go.

This retreat isn’t for people who:

  • Might prefer to go to a spa. This retreat will involve focused writing and lots of introspection, as well as helping out with some meal preparation. This isn’t a space to be catered to, it’s a space to actively co-create.

  • Are working on a writing project they’re not motivated by, like something for work. This retreat is built on the love of words, and tapping into the heart of our writing processes.

  • Believe that their writing can only thrive in a critical writing environment. We believe that writing flourishes with have heavy doses of kindness and safety.

  • Don’t want to share their work with others. There will be plenty of opportunities to share, and while it’s totally fine to pass from time to time, we’re looking for participants who are motivated and excited by sharing, even when it’s a little uncomfortable or squirmy.

  • Feel uncomfortable with personal sharing. Feedback about writing will strictly be about the craft of writing but conversations over dinner or between workshops often meander into personal and emotional territory. There will be Kleenex! We welcome that.

  • Honestly can’t go a day without checking Twitter.


July 13-17, 2019

We’ll start with a big dinner at 6-ish on Saturday, so participants will need to leave the city by around 2:30pm. If you’re able to leave earlier, all the better! Arrive anytime after 2pm to settle yourself in. We’ll finish between 1:30- 2:30pm on Wednesday.

To help us create a community of care, everyone will be assigned to a “kitchen helper team” before the retreat, to help in the preparation of one dinner with Sonja.

To make transit easy and sweet, we’d be happy to connect those wanting to carpool so you can coordinate rides together. There is also a bus that gets super close and we’ll happily pick you up from there if need be.

All new-to-Firefly participants will have a chat on the phone with one of the facilitators before their registration is final. We like connecting in person to make sure it’s the right fit.




Rooms and pricing:

  • “The Mary Oliver Room”  &  “The Ronna Bloom Room”, medium-sized private rooms with a double bed, $1,595.

  • “The Joy Harjo Cabin”, a small and rustic log cabin with bunkbeds, but only inhabited by one person, $1,595.

  • “The Maya Angelou Room“,  The Rumi Room“, “The Big Magic Room“, or “The Danusha Lameris Room”, small, private rooms, $1,395.

  • Camping — there are two potential spots, one in the grass close to the cottages and one in the secluded garden across the country road. We can bring equipment for you if you need it, $1,095.

  • Off-site — live nearby? Or prefer a motel? You can spend the days with us and sleep elsewhere for the same price as camping, $1,095.

When you sign up you’ll be asked for a deposit between $345 and $595 to claim your spot — deposits vary based on room choice. We’ll follow up once your spot is confirmed with an invoice for the balance, and the option of breaking the balance into six monthly credit card payments. There’s no fee for using installments. Note, HST will be added to all costs.

To make transit easy and sweet, we’d be happy to connect those wanting to carpool so you can coordinate rides together.

To see our financial policies, click here.

Ready to dive in?

Sorr, this reteat is now full.


Smoky blue waves lapping the shore, a sandy beach, good food, soulful writers and four days of inspired facilitation. Chris, Danette and Britt teach writing and hold space in such an inspiring and compassionate way.

Every part of my inner writer felt nourished and energized. I arrived feeling committed to writing but a bit discouraged, I left feeling connected to myself and others. It was as though I’d sailed around a point and realized the writing horizon was so much wider and friendlier than I’d ever thought.

Andréa Raymond
Teacher, Writer, Yogi


Dorianne circle.png

I had never been on a retreat before and was wary, both at the prospect of spending that amount of time with a bunch of strangers, and because I’d heard that Firefly’s focus is mostly on positive feedback and I thrive on criticism. At the very least, I thought, I will have time to write which is what I need the most.

But what I experienced was what I didn’t know I needed the most. I experienced being vulnerable with, and open to, other writers. I experienced having work so generously received that the “stuff you need to work on” becomes apparent like a horizon expanding instead of a note in the margin. I experienced taking whatever space is needed for a single word or sentence, for structure or outlining, for myself or others, even if that means using designated writing time to do something other than write.

Also, I did an assload of writing.

Dorianne Emmerton
Writer, Theatre Reviewer, Radio Host



It is a rare thing these days to create a pause in time and space to focus on creativity. Firefly Creative Writing does this exquisitely and I’ve been hooked on spending time with these genuine beings in classes and retreats for over six years now. I began by wanting to exercise my voice — now I’m halfway through my first novel. Not that this is a goal for everyone, but the magic and alchemy of Firefly can transform your relationship with writing whatever your goal happens to be. I’ve experienced it and witnessed it and it is amazing.

Karen Fulcher
Policy and Project Advisor