Emma Sanborn said the idea her team submitted came about after a conversation with friends about something she believes Edmonton is missing.

“I was lamenting about how we don’t have any thermal, or great warm spaces in Edmonton, and [Ranon Soans] said: ‘Emma, you need to stop just talking about this and do something…the Edmonton Project is going on and you need to just submit’,” Sanborn said.

So, Sanborn, alongside team members Alex Hindle, Kari Bazian and Soans, submitted their idea for River Valley Saunas.

“It’s something that is used in Scandinavian countries and European countries a lot because they’ve recognized the need to create better places that work for winter and not just one season,” Soans said.

If it is chosen, Sanborn said the saunas could also bring more residents and visitors to the city to the river valley.

“We’ve got this beautiful river valley in Edmonton and I would love to be able to do that in my own hometown without having to travel to do that,” Sanborn said.

Soans said the saunas would encourage Edmontonians to embrace winter as well.

“Rather than trying to force ourselves inside all of the time, we should embrace it,” Soans said. “It’s better for our health and better for our wellbeing to actually go outside and see the sunlight.”

Along with the people behind the nine other finalists, the team will pitch the idea on March 6, and they’re hard at work preparing.

“We have to be able to convince a few judges that this is the idea that Edmonton really needs.

With files from Dez Melenka