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The Harley: A new state-of-the-art healthcare centre makes its home in Ottawa

Harley Street Healthcare Group’s nature-inspired space to open in 2023

A rendering of the new design for a building
A rendering of the new design for a building

The former Canadian Pharmacist’s Association building at 1785 Alta Vista Dr. will soon be abuzz with activity now that Harley Street Healthcare Group Canada (HSHG) has officially taken ownership of the site for its new state-of-the-art wellness centre.

The HARLEY, as the future site will be known, is part of a larger healthcare group hailing from London, England, which has been serving clients for over three decades. The new facility will be the group’s first foray into Canada, and will serve as an integrated healthcare hub, focused on wellbeing, age management, mindfulness and longevity. The centre will offer subscription-based services to individuals interested in preventative wellness care, focusing on modern medicine, state-of-the-art technology and holistic healthcare services.

However, in order to bring their vision to life, the group needed a suitable headquarters. Working closely with the team at Linebox, a locally based architect, HSHG is overhauling its Alta Vista headquarters to create a wellness sanctuary.

“We’re taking our inspiration from nature because our environment plays a very big role in our healing process,” said Amita Kochar, CEO of Harley Street Healthcare Group Canada. “Everything is very purposeful and has healing functions, from the colours to the textures.”

Harley Street is reinventing the space to make it customer-friendly, with the goal of improving the overall customer experience within the health sector. The Alta Vista location is being designed ergonomically with the five elements of nature in mind — wood, fire, earth, water and metal — including features like a himalayan salt wall in the meditation room and a reflexology inspired river rock floor on the way to the steam and sauna in the change rooms.

“It’s guided by the needs of the hour. People are just stressed out,” she added. “Right now the space is segregated and fragmented. We’re making it open and integrated. A medically lead wellness ecosystem designed specifically for the modern society.”

Crafting a centre for wellness

The renovation is being completed in two phases. The first phase will add a new diagnostic imaging centre on the first floor, which Kochar expects to be completed in January, 2023.

Outfitted with the latest medical imaging technology, such as an MRI machine courtesy of Harley Street’s partnership with Canon Medical Systems, the vision is to help offset the pressure on Ottawa’s healthcare system by providing a new imaging location for both public and private customers. The centre will also help drive innovation, research and skills training at the site by partnering with local post-secondary institutions.

“We believe the industrial approach to health care is no longer fit for purpose,” said Sanjeev Kumar, president and chief visionary officer of Harley Street Healthcare Group Canada. “We operate as a complementary partner, as an extension of the public health system.”

Phase two will add a health and wellness center to the second and third floors. In this space, visitors can make use of pods called “soma domes” which provide a variety of guided meditations enhanced by light and sound therapy.

Other features will include sound-proof “scream rooms” where you can vent your frustrations to your heart’s content. Kochar expects phase two to be completed in the spring of 2023.

For both Kumar and Kochar, Ottawa was an obvious choice for HSHG’s first Canadian centre.

“Ottawa is one of the only capital cities that has the capacity to grow for 20-30 years,” said Kumar. “If you look at any other capital, they’ve reached their limits with infrastructure. We are transforming Ottawa into the wellness capital of Canada.”

With work slated to begin on the building overhaul, and a launch date right around the corner, excitement is building amongst the HSHG team to help transform Ottawa into the “wellness and longevity capital of North America.”

“Stressed-out people go from work straight to their family, and it impacts their personal relationships,” said Kumar. “We want to make sure there is a wellness infrastructure available for people with a personalized burnout program where they can spend 30 minutes, lower their stress level, and go home to their families a bit happier.”