In Memoriam: Nicholas Walter Ashfield, January 15, 1948 – January 19, 2022
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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