In Memoriam: Nicholas Walter Ashfield, January 15, 1948 – January 19, 2022

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On January 19, 2022, Nicholas Ashfield passed away after a short illness surrounded by family and friends. The infamous founder of the Toronto Healing Arts Centre left this world as he would have wished, listening to a guided meditation and being held close by those he loved.

The son of Cliff and Lyn Ashfield, Nick came from humble beginnings and went on to accomplish great things. If you asked him, he was ‘just a shy kid from a small town in Saskatchewan’, but to those who knew him he was so much more.

At a young age he joined the Regina Rifle Regiment with his brother Paul, attaining the rank of Lieutenant and honing his skills as a regimental marksman and drill sergeant. After leaving the regiment, Nick train-hopped his way from Grenfell, Saskatchewan to downtown Toronto with a copy of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet and thirty dollars in his pocket. It was the start of a life-changing adventure.

What followed were a couple of years spent living in a hippie commune, a long stay on Wards Island, and numerous consciousness raising experiences. It was during this time that he found himself drawn to the philosophy of alternative medicine and subsequently joined his father Cliff and brother Paul at Chiropractic College, graduating in 1975. Always kind and eager to lend a hand to those in pain, Nick had found had his calling.

In 1983, after opening clinics in Forest Hill and the Annex, he purchased two houses on Bloor at Christie and converted them into the Toronto Healing Arts Centre (THAC). Over the next three decades he transformed the space into the largest alternative healing arts centre in Canada, offering full and part time office space to over a hundred therapists in any given year. Through his life’s work at THAC he encouraged and supported many new and established therapists with his generous and nurturing spirit, as he stimulated and expanded the alternative healing community as a whole in Toronto.

Always open to exploration, Nick brought float tanks to Toronto in the 1980s, and shared his practice of radionics and alternative healing with his many treasured clients. Throughout this time, Nick reflected the heart of Toronto; he was incredibly loyal to his local establishments, cheered on the Raptors, and helped out his neighbours whenever he could. He was a soldier, a sailor, and a life-long learner. As a Capricorn he believed that the test for anything was “is it beautiful and does it have practical usage”. He believed in the good of people, that family should be close, and that all difficulties that seem insurmountable will pass eventually.

His love of life and kind smile will be forever cherished by all who knew him, especially his wife Cathy Jo. His memory lives on in the children he was a loving father to: Taya Cook, Jasmine Shenandoah, and Keiran Ashfield, and his stepchild Tashi Fleming. He will be greatly missed by his son-in-law Jamie Cook and his grandson Jameson, along with his family in Saskatchewan, especially his brother Paul.

Nick is to be cremated and buried in Saskatchewan during a private ceremony, and the family will then be hosting a celebration of life in Toronto this Spring. For more information, to share stories, or to learn more about the Toronto Healing Arts Centre, please contact 416-535-8777 or info@torontohealingarts.ca

And those who wish to post comments about their memories of Nick can also do so in the “Comments” section below.

5 Comments

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  1. B
    February 08, 10:09 BlueSky

    Nicholas was a pioneer in Toronto’s alternative healing movement and impacted many lives positively and lovingly. Shine On.

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  2. T
    February 10, 09:59 Taya Cook

    Thank you Vitality for the lovely post. The healing arts community meant the world to Dad and so a sincere thank you from the family to everyone who shared in the last 40 years of love ,sharing and healing with him.

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  3. S
    February 27, 21:27 Suzanne Gregory

    Nicholas leaves a legacy of love and healing in his wake. And my heart goes out to his family for the loss of a kind and generous man. He had the best laugh and the greatest hug! His commitment to living in harmony with everything life giving, and his strength of being fully present in each moment, are the gifts that he leaves.

    Bless you on your journey, dear Nicholas – the memory of your goodness will live on in those who are grateful to have known you.

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  4. Y
    March 07, 21:50 Yuri Narula

    I’m so saddened to hear this news. As one of Dr Ashfield’s patients I can attest to his kindness, intuition, and powers of healing. I went in search for a chiropractor many years ago and found in him so much more. I looked forward to our long chats and put great stock in his insights and advice. Over the years, I thought I’d gotten to know Dr Ashfield pretty well, yet he could easily surprise me with stories about the things he’d done, the people he’d encountered, the adventures he’d had…I am inspired by the fullness of his life. He brought so much positivity and peace to my life and every time I left his office I felt lighter and so supported. I’m going to miss him tremendously.

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  5. D
    March 16, 13:47 Dor

    My condolences to Nick’s family and loved ones. Nick was a gentle and curious soul, and a leader in alternative health care. A patient over many years, I came to deeply appreciate Nick’s wisdom and generosity of spirit. I considered him my health practitioner and friend. Thank you Nick for everything. I will miss you.

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