Established in 1926 by J.P. Wepsela at 766 East Hastings, Hastings Steam and Sauna is built around a Finnish tradition more than 1,000 years old. Devotees claim it is the only way to truly purify the body and mind, and the clientele ranges from students to businesspeople to hipsters. Heat seekers, it seems, share no demographic. The concept is simple and it doesn't involve drugs, hot wax or voodoo. Rather, it fuses the simple elements of heat and water to transport clients to a clean, relaxed physical state.
Hastings Steam and Sauna is made up of private and public saunas. The men-only public area, located in the basement of the building, features two brick-fired gas saunas with original mosaic-tiled floors.
One floor up, behind the cheerful rolls of white towels framing the front desk, are six private cedar and tile rooms. Three are gas fired and give off a wet heat. The others are electric, which offers a dryer experience. Customers are encouraged to try each before deciding which type best suits their needs.