Whispering Forest Retreat’s Story

“This land healed our sense of disconnection. It not only made us feel grounded and safe but also, uplifted our souls with a purpose and an opportunity to serve in a meaningful way.”

Whispering Forest was first established as a concept in 2017 between Ece Savas and Ivan Delallov, sprouted from their shared love for nature and interest in creating something authentic.

Ece is a graphic designer running her own business for over 8 years in Toronto. She is also a yoga teacher and a third degree black belt in Go-Ju karate. Ece was born in Istanbul, Turkey where she witnessed and was affected by the consequences of air and water pollution and soil degeneration. She survived an earthquake that killed hundreds of people, witnessed cruelty to animals and seen beautiful natural destinations she loved destroyed while she was growing up. She felt great love toward animals and felt at peace in nature. She immigrated to Canada when she was 18 with her family.

Ivan has been a floor installer for over 5 years. He’s also a third degree black belt in karate and black shirt in tai-chi. He is a biologist and a plant based nutritionist. Ivan was born in Eastern Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. His family lived through poverty and social unrest after the collapse while he was growing up. Ivan's favourite memories from childhood were those of the whole family going camping in the mountains. He moved to Canada when he was 13 with his family.

Whispering Forest Retreat was manifested from their joined forces. After finding the perfect rural property in 2018 in Bancroft, ON. Ece and Ivan decided to build an off-grid and sustainable home/business and take on the building process themselves in order to reduce costs and do less harm to the natural environment. They also loved the idea of creating something that belongs to them from start to finish.

"It has been difficult but we are happy we did it this way. In a way we get to experience how the first settlers have felt and intimately understand what it takes to build a house. I think everybody takes the comforts of life for granted in one way or another, until they personally connect with the effort that is required to build them. It gives us great pleasure and peace to look back and see what we accomplished"

They started from the very beginning from opening a road, excavation, foundation, concreate work, carpentry, roof, insulation and they’re continuing to work on every part of the house.

They have been building for the last three and a half years and they aim to complete it all by Summer of 2024. Ece and Ivan's hard work and courage continue to inspire many people to go after their big dreams.

You can follow their journey on Instagram @selfbuild.sustinable and read their blog on www.selfbuildsustainable.com


Ivan and I have been on a journey to giving birth to an ambitious dream. After three years of labour, we are very excited to be so close to bringing our retreat centre to life. We feel very proud and amazed by what we have accomplished so far and hope to move in by the end of the summer to continue to work on the inside finishes. However, we are facing a bit of a financial challenge due to increasing prices. Please help us cross the finishing line with your donations. For anyone who donates $100 or more, we would like to offer a free one-night accommodation once we’re open.

Here is the link for your donations:


Thank you for your love and support. Kohi Savas