Mongolian woman making yurt decorations

The Intricate Symbolism of Mongolian Gers

Mongolian gers (or yurts) are an intricate combination of technical necessities and symbolism.

The yurt itself is a representation of the universe. You enter the yurt with the right foot first and progress clock-wise; following the sun shining in the yurt over the course of the day.

In this edition of the Groovy Yurts blog, we’ll dive into some of the wonderful symbolism of Mongolian yurts, deeply rooted in tradition and full of meaning to the Mongolian people.

Yurt Symbolism, from Top to Bottom

Beautiful blue Toono with mosquito netThe toono (dome) symbolizes the sky and the transition to the spirit and the universe. It is supported by two bagaanas (central poles) that represent the woman (east) and the man (west), who equally support the universe.

North, opposite to the door, is the most sacred place (or place of honour). The door faces south in Mongolia, although it seems that it used to face East, like most North American native dwellings.

Throughout history, the North American indigenous people have shared many symbols with the Mongolians.

The amount of roof rafters (hunis) is significant as well. The 5-wall ger, possibly the most common, supports 81 hunis, which is 9×9. Nine is the sacred number for Mongolian nomads.

Additionally, Mongolian gers are not anchored to the ground, as not to harm the earth. This is a perfect reflection of the Mongolian’s respect for and relation to the environment.

How Colour & Religion Play Roles in Mongolian Yurts

The orange colour, most often painted onto the woodwork of the yurt, represents the sun shining over the grassland, or fire.

Blue, a symbol of good luck and respect, represents the Mongolian eternal blue sky.

In the 16th century Buddhism was reintroduced to Mongolia, which brought additional symbolism to the ger.

Beginning with the toono, which has taken the shape of the wheel of Dharma and represents the 8 teachings of the Buddha.

The ulzzi (the infinity knot), which is seen in several different variations in the paint and is also often sewn into the canvas, represents the connection of everything in the universe.

Honouring & Respecting Mongolia, Its People & the Yurts

We do want to make it clear that this blog is the result of a few years working of with gers and a deep love for Mongolia. It is not the result of scientific research. We do welcome comments and additional information!

Below, we’ve included some symbols and comments from Enerel, our friend and team member in Mongolia:

white shell symbol of Tibetan Buddhism

White shell, or lavai, came to us with Tibetan Buddhism in the 16th century. The white colour means something positive and good in life, erudition.

endless knot Mongolian symbol of lifelong happiness

Ulzii, the endless knot, is for luck and means life-long happiness.

hammer pattern Mongolian symbol of long life

The hammer pattern means eternal life.

khas pattern Mongolian symbol of life power & Strength

The khas or tumen nasan pattern means eternal life, power, and strength.

Your Source for Yurts & Yurt Information

Got any questions about Mongolian yurts or the connection between yurts and the Mongolian people?

Feel free to reach out to Groovy Yurts!

We’re always happy to talk about yurts and about Mongolia.

Mongolian people constructing a yurt

Mongolian Yurts & the Traditional Felt-Making Process


Sheep’s wool offers amazing properties.

Nowhere can we think of a better example of wool’s many benefits than by looking at Mongolian yurts and the traditional felt that insulates the yurt against cold, harsh winters.

In this edition of the Groovy Yurts blog we’ll look at the traditional felt making process that goes into creating comfortable, sturdy yurts.

Why Sheep’s Wool Makes a Great Yurt

yurt on plains in mongiliaWhen processed as felt and used as a yurt (or “ger” as the Mongolian people call it) lining, the wool breathes and insulates the space with the varying temperatures of the summer.

Wool felt in a yurt can also accumulate a certain amount of humidity and give it back when it gets drier (an all-natural humidifier). In addition, Mongolian yurt felt made of sheep’s wool is a great acoustic insulator, which helps make the yurt very cozy.

The best part? These felts protect against almost all elements.

It’s naturally fire retardant and mold resistant and wards off wear and tear, while actively participating in the yurt’s strength.

Mongolians say that felt is the ger’s muscle.

It is certainly a fabulous product as the fibre is rapidly renewable and 100% biodegradable!

Wool Felt: Traditional Crafting in Mongolian Yurts

Felt is traditionally made by the nomads of Mongolia by cleaning the wool, beating it, carefully laying it out evenly, getting it wet, and finally, collecting it into a big roll pulled by a horse across the grassland.

This fun video describes it well:

The felt can become water resistant over time, partly from the lanolin and dirt, but mainly from the smoke produced by the open fire in the ger.

Open fires were commonly built in the yurts prior to using stoves with a chimney, which according to a few Mongolian elders, is the best improvement in 2000 years. We’ve been told that the older ‘waterproofed’ layers were then put on top of the yurt to protect from Mongolian rains.

Often the felt is mixed with cow or horsehair to improve strength. The only downsides to that material are that it is difficult to clean wool, and the felt will have a strong odor when wet. It also tends to fall apart over time if it is not felted well, or if it’s exposed to constant sunlight.

Groovy Yurts: Our Felt Is Made of 100% Mongolian Wool

Mongolian people constructing a yurt
The felts used for own yurts are made with a needle machine and 100% Mongolian wool. That means that your yurt comes with a story of the people who made it.

We previously bought yurt felt from the old state factory that uses old Soviet era machines in Ulaanbaatar.

We now source the felt for our yurts from the countryside, where a similar technique is used in Bataa’s province, but with newer machines.  We love that the profit goes directly to this rural area.

Mongolian people constructing a yurt

This new felt is denser, much cleaner, more consistent, and somehow seems to offer better insulating properties with a similar thickness. The felt that we previously bought was definitely not waterproof.

You can make your own felt as demonstrated by the amazing Sustainable Sheep and Fiber Community of Northern Minnesota.

This community created a complete layer of decorated felt for their own yurt. This incredible work of art depicts the making of felt in Mongolia. The illustrations are made with different colours of wool and felted together using a wet tapestry inlay technique!

For more questions about the wonders of yurts and their many benefits, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Photographs taken in 2002 in Bulgan Aimag, in the northern part of Mongolia (northwest of UlaanBaatar) by Dr. Michael Gervers Turkish Felts

Mongolian yurt in Minnesota USA Mongolian yurt in Minnesota USA
Mongolian yurt in Minnesota USA

a yurt converted into a bar serving customers

Yurts: A Creative Option for Restaurant Patios

Yurts are a great way to increase a restaurant’s income during the winter.

While yurt dining isn’t a new concept per se, it has become more popular over the years.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has spurred the need for creative alternatives when it comes to restaurant dining. Yurts are a unique, fun and highly creative way to take advantage of patios or other space on a property and turn it into patio dining that can be used virtually year-round.

Yurts as Restaurant Patios in Switzerland

yurt on restaurant patioOur yurt careers started in Switzerland.

It was in Switzerland that we saw our first yurt installs in hotels or on restaurant patios in winter, particularly in ski resorts.

These were meant as an attraction or après-ski and became quickly popular for the felted and exotic ambience they brought in the midst of the Alps.

Yurt Patio at a Toronto Irish Pub

people dining in yurt restaurant patioBut it is really in Canada that Patrick “Shucker Paddy” McMurray launched a more serious trend in his little Irish pub on Queen Street east in Toronto.

The Ceili Cottage was a small pub with lots of character and a large patio. Come winter it lost pretty much half its seating and Shucker Paddy tried many ways to bring people to use this “lost” space. Hockey rink, curling, gas heaters… nothing really did it until he thought of renting a yurt.

people dining in yurt restaurant patioA rental was preferred as he wasn’t sure of the outcome.

Well… two weeks later the yurt was already such a success that it had been paid for and prebooked every night of the week. Patrick’s perseverance to have the yurt approved by the city and the simple set-up with tables around the perimeter and a cool vinyl turntable in the centre did the trick.

The Ceili Cottage has now moved, but Patrick still offers consulting for restaurant, hotels or golf courses who consider the yurt option: .

Yurts on Restaurant Patios Across Canada

Other examples of yurt patios quickly followed at restaurants and hotels across Canada.

SAT on a rooftop in Montreal.

people dining in yurt restaurant patioOlio Too in Bracebridge, Ontario.

At Biscotti In Gatineau.

From spas in Quebec, Ontario or Manitoba, to vineyards and lately in breweries in Ontario, yurts have become a popular phenomenon for restaurant patio alternatives.

Our Yurt Patio Setup at Groovy Yurts

Our coup de Coeur has just been opened in our hometown or Alexandria at the Buvette du Marché where you can rent a 12’ yurt and socially distance with your bubble while having a few drinks and fabulous tapas.

people dining in yurt restaurant patio yurt restaurant patio in winter people dining in yurt restaurant patio yurt restaurant patio in winter people dining in yurt restaurant patio yurt restaurant patio yurt restaurant patio in city

guest tents at good knights three hills alberta

Customer Experience: Good Knights Medieval Yurt Stay

Tucked away in the rolling plains of Three Hills, Alberta is an absolute gem called Good Knights Medieval Encampment.

The camp is run by a husband and wife duo, Sir Daniel and Lady Linda, who have a long-standing passion for re-enacting the middle ages.

Together, they’ve created an experience that feels just as authentic as it is fun and unique.

Let’s explore the story and scene of this one-of-a-kind medieval experience combined with a yurt stay.

The Story Behind Good Knights

your hosts good knights three hills alberta

Sir Daniel & Lady Linda, the owners of this fine establishment!

We learned that Daniel and Linda met long ago as teenagers and, while on a high school trip to England, they fell in love with all things medieval. Over the years they got involved in medieval re-enacting, medieval crafts, costuming, archery, and sword fighting.

When Linda and Daniel moved to the scenic area of Three Hills AB, they began hosting an annual medieval festival for their friends and family – with lots of fun activities like archery, crafts, sword fighting, and of course a medieval feast. This festival continues (13th year) and has grown to host around 100 people each year.

A few years ago they thought about turning their passion into a business.

They searched around for other medieval venues and similar encampments, and discovered that there were way fewer of these camps than expected – and none in North America (all in England or Western Europe).

Thus Linda and Daniel took matters into their own hands and expanded their facilities to offer the festival-like experience to the public. Building on what they knew worked this is a very effective way to become popular.

A Unique Experience for All to Enjoy – Including Medieval Yurts

guest tents at good knights three hills alberta

The medieval encampment with all the guest tents

Now heading into its fifth year, the ‘Good Knights Medieval Encampment’ offers a unique and fun experience for people of all ages.

The actual encampment itself offers guests their choice of several deluxe medieval tents, as a well as a Mongolian yurt for overnight stays. All the tents are built on wooden platforms, with electricity and attached bathrooms. Each has a comfortable bed, electric heater, bedding, and decorated with chest and rich tapestries.

We had the pleasure of staying in their medieval yurt – which they bought from Groovy Yurts in 2020.

It had a lovely queen-sized bed and a double futon bed, and was luxuriously decorated with wall hangings, furs, and rugs. They even built a private washroom onto the side of the structure and provided seating on the outdoor platform that made for a lovely breakfast setting (which they serve to you in the morning).

Linda and Daniel really liked the concept of the yurt but found other companies’ yurts were of poor design and low quality. A friend had one of these that they used for summer campouts, but they found that it would not hold up to being set up for an entire season’s use.

After some research, they found Groovy Yurts and liked the sturdy, authentic structure of the Groovy Lite – a simplified version of the traditional 5-wall.

Beyond the Yurt – Great Property, Wonderful Hosts

yurt interior

The property also includes an outdoor kitchen containing anything you may need to cook and serve personal food, a feast hall, a fully stocked costume closet, and an archery range.

Guests are never bored as there is a range of exciting activities to try; such as siege engine demos, sword classes, craft classes (such as lucent hand weaving, embroidery, leather craft, etc.), and long-bow archery (all included).

having fun at good knights three hills alberta

One of many activities offered at the encampment, archery.

Breakfast (served at your tent) is also included. Guests who stay on a weekend also get to experience a 5-course medieval feast – served in one of the two feast halls (no buffets – as this is not a medieval feast).

In 2020 some activities, such as the public feasts, were put on hold due to the safety concerns from COVID.

They hope to re-start the public feasts in 2021 as things begin to return to normal.

We did get the chance to try long-bow archery, which is not as easy as one may think. Many of the first few rounds of our arrows ended up in the faraway grass – rather than anywhere remotely close to the targets (we did get better).

However, we looked very fashionable wearing our medieval costumes (which they provide on arrival).

When in Calgary, Red Deer or Southern Alberta

yurt at good knights three hills alberta

The outdoor kitchen for guests to cook their own food.

We highly recommended that if you get the chance to head to this magical site, try out the archery, and while you’re at it, try all the activities you can.

We guarantee, you’re going to want to bring all your friends back to Good Knights, regardless of what age you are. Some would go so far as to say, “It’s better than Disneyland.”

You can find more information about the Good Knights Medieval Encampment on their website at or on social media @goodknightscanada.


yurt from groovy yurts with a campfire nearby

Customer Experience: Daniel at the Rainbow Ridge Ranch

Part 2, the second installment of Mikayla’s Cross-Canada Road Trip & Yurt Customer Journey.


rainbow ridge bed breakfast

Photo: Our tour guide, Daniel, showing us the way through his property.

As we drove up, we were immediately greeted at the entrance by the owner of Rainbow Ridge Ranch B&B, Daniel, in his ATV.

That was the first indicator of the great customer service you can expect at his establishment.

Daniel happily guided us to our yurt and offered a fun ATV tour around the large property, located in Grunthal, MB. As we zipped around, he told us about his fascinating life, the history of the grounds and his grand visions for the immediate future.

Our Yurt B&B Host: A True Renaissance Man

yurt from groovy yurts

Photo: Dan covering the toono on his newly built yurt during our summer delivery tour.

It should be known that among other things, Daniel is an ice road trucker, pig & bison farmer, log furniture carpenter, pilot, hunter, pastor, entrepreneur, missionary, and now, campground owner.

It’s safe to say that there’s nothing Dan can’t do and therefore he is the perfect person to run this type of place.

yurt from groovy yurts

Photo: Daniel, the jack of all trades, standing with his yurt during our visit.

Daniel currently uses the grounds to host Christian youth camps, in both the summer and winter, and offers the space to anyone in need of escaping city life.

Guests have the option of staying in the B&B building, one of the finished log cabins, a yurt, or on any of the cleared camping spots.

With so much flat farmland throughout Manitoba, it is pretty incredible that Daniel offers the only campground in the region amongst lush greenery, rolling hills, and riverside views.

Over Two Decades at This Location

rainbow ridge bed breakfast

Photo: The yurt overlooks the hill with a wooden gazebo built by Daniel. This is the most gorgeous spot to be in the morning!

Daniel has been living and developing his property for 20+ years.

Each year, he plans a trip in the fall to Mongolia and the Congo; inevitably, the trips this year had to be cancelled due to COVID.

Nonetheless, his love of yurts and Mongolian culture prompted him to purchase an authentic Mongolian Groovy Yurt, and the sitting vacation time allowed him to put more resources into setting up the property as a functioning campground.

rainbow ridge bed breakfast

Photo: Beautiful pond that fills what was once a gravel pit. Natural restoration at its finest!

With some help from family, Daniel has already cleared and hooked up 10 fully serviced camp sites, begun building 2 additional log cabins and a glamping cabana, and plans to convert an older building into a multi-functional area for guests.

The building will include accessible bathrooms, a wash area, and a small store with camping necessities.

To top it all off, he has received some funding from the municipality to restore the land designated as a gravel pit, back into a thriving pond ecosystem. He has already done a wonderful job with this project, and it has resulted in a beautiful afternoon view from his hilltop gazebo!

A Great Yurt Stay

rainbow ridge bed breakfast

Photo: One of the new cabins being built for future customers looking to stay in grander camping accommodations.

The yurt stay itself was very cozy and relaxing.

It’s located in a private clearing amongst the trees with a small fire pit to the right of the yurt (at a close, but safe distance), and an outhouse to the left.

The inside was completely outfitted with authentic Mongolian furniture that included a bed, vanity, and dresser.

All necessities were covered with a jug of filtered water, lanterns, a small Coleman grill, utensils, cups and plates.

We went to bed feeling taken care of and slept soundly through the night.

A Yurt Experience We’ll Never Forget

rainbow ridge bed breakfast

Photo: This building is being turned into a multi-functional area with a wash station, small store, and bathrooms.

The highlight of our stay was definitely sitting around the fire amongst fall leaves and enjoying the peaceful nature sounds, all with a glowing, fire lit Mongolian yurt as our backdrop.

Thank you, Daniel, for the experience, we hope to be back soon.


rainbow ridge bed breakfast

Photo: The newest addition to the property is this ‘glamping’ cabana; the structure is still in progress.

yurt from groovy yurts

Photo: The inside of the yurt, complete with a bed, grill, wash station and vanity! Completely outfitted with Mongolian furniture.

fire and yurt from groovy yurts

Photo: Fireside views of the yurt and campsite.


groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Customer Experience: Mike & Renee’s Off-Grid Living Experience

Some feel fulfilled by owning a large house in the centre of a popular neighbourhood, others are content with a simpler existence.

Five years ago, Mike and Renee took the first step towards their well-thought-out dream, living off-grid. They purchased a piece of untouched land in Northwestern Ontario, cleared only necessary space, and a year later, erected a yurt for their homestead.

Less Bills, More Freedom: Yurt off the Grid

groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Photo: The base of the yurt in the beginning stages of the building process.

The couple was initially living in a house in a small town in Northern Ontario, Canada, and quickly became frustrated by the sheer amount of bills they were paying for mediocre amenities.

The water tasted concerningly like chlorine, the heat was quickly escaping out of any crevice it could find, and soaring electricity prices showed no signs of plateauing.

On top of all that, the house simply seemed lifeless. In Mike’s words, “Any renovations we would make were to increase the value of the house for the next buyers. We were living in someone else’s home.”

groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Photo: The completed yurt on the Northern Ontario property.

Many YouTube videos and off-grid forums later, Mike and Renee had taught themselves the fundamentals of living off the land.

Why a Yurt?

Renee and Mike chose the Mongolian yurt because it allowed them to quickly move onto their land throughout all of Canada’s seasons. In addition, they liked that the yurt was made of sustainable materials, and was more durable than modern yurts (especially with the humidity).

For amenities, they wash dishes with water heated on their wood-burning stove, shower in a wood-fired sauna, and use an outhouse that they’ve outfitted with a composting toilet (no smell).

groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Photo: Outhouse outfitted with a composting toilet.

Below the yurt, although not pictured, is an underground root cellar where they store food. This was very effective throughout the winter and spring, however, rose in temperature throughout the summer.

Once the soil and insulation around the cellar is finished, they hope to have cold storage year-round. In the meantime, an energy-efficient solar-powered ‘fridge’ (it looks more like a fancy cooler) keeps their food cool.

Renee and Mike’s property also includes a screened-in room (not attached to the yurt)that they used for bugless dining in the summer and storage space in the winter. Lastly, they’ve constructed a nearby greenhouse for more sheltered plant growing.

Challenges of (and Solved by) a Yurt off the Grid

groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Photo: Screened-in room for bugless summer cooking and winter storage.

One of the bigger challenges of off-grid living for the pair has been trying to balance a property that’s functional, while also leaving it as natural as possible (especially when considering horticulture practices).

Minimal destruction to current ecosystems in the area is very important to them. Currently, they’ve been using a horticultural method called ‘Hugelkultur.’ This method involves building steep, narrow mounds that consist of layers of wood scraps and biomass, within layers of soil and humus which support growing fruits and vegetables.

It is largely beneficial as the gradual decay of wood is a consistent source of long-term nutrients for the plants (provides a constant supply of nutrients for 20+ years), the composting wood generates heat (which should extend the growing season), and the mass is more effective at holding water from natural rainfall (they don’t have to water their crops).

Additionally, Renee and Mike use clover as a natural mulch for the mounds, as it prevents weeds from overtaking the beds without stunting desired plant growth. So far, they have mostly been successful with potatoes and apples in their cold northern climate. Their biggest piece of advice is to be patient and observe the interactions of natural plants and animals in the area for the most effective land use.

Bears and Yurts (Oh My)

groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Photo: Small green house that shelters some of their plants.

One question we are often asked at Groovy Yurts is whether our yurts are bear proof.

Our answer is often ‘no, nothing is bear proof, but there are some preventative measures you can take’. We posed this question to Mike and Renee, as Northern Ontario is the black bear capital of the world (this stat is made up, but likely true).

They told us that they’ve had inevitable run-ins with bears but have not had the animals damage any part of their structure. Although they cook and eat inside the yurt, they thoroughly clean all surfaces after encountering food, and store anything that may attract bears in their underground cellar. Hopefully, this puts any potential yurt buyers at ease with these wonderful creatures.

No Regrets, Just a Groovy Yurt Outlook

groovy yurts customers living off grid in yurts

Photo: Hugelkultur rows throughout property. The land is largely left to grow naturally.

Although lots of hard work is involved and many challenges must be overcome, Mike and Renee concluded that they very much enjoy living off-grid.

It’s quite empowering to know the origin of the resources that you use daily and you gain a much bigger appreciation for them.

Their favourite thing about the lifestyle: “being able to live in the moment, you aren’t on anyone’s schedule except for the sun and the rain.”


Stay tuned for more on our Customer Experience series as part of a great Canadian road trip!

groovy yurts delivery truck

Guest Yurt Blog: First Remove the Ropes

Groovy Yurts customer Mary Lynn of the North of 54 blog shares her experiences buying, maintaining and updating her yurt (ger) from Groovy Yurts. We invite you to read on.


Eight years ago, give a take a few months, we purchased our yurt. Over time we replaced the horse hair ropes on the exterior, and at another time the top cover (urgh). We also attempted to remove the goo that had built up on the exterior by the proximity of the Aspen forest and its seasonal distribution of seeds by using a pressure washer. It helped, but slowly the exterior canvas began to show its age and some wear where the ropes attached to the top cover (urgh) had rubbed. We had no leakage, but this year we decided to give our yurt a facelift and take advantage of Groovy Yurts’ 30% discount on the exterior canvas (brezent) for those who had already purchased a yurt.

Last time, to our amazement, Mr. Groovy Yurts (Yves Ballenegger) brought his huge truck down our driveway which is 1/4 mile long and resembles a 2 track overgrown logging trail into the bush. This time (new and bigger truck) we met him and his helper Pedro (spelling?) at the end of the driveway in our pickup. We were pleased to see Yves and even more pleased to here him say, “Would you like us to help you put it up?”

So, first they (Richard helped, I chronicled) removed the ropes and the decorative skirt (hayavtch).

yurt being assembled

Then the outer layer came down. At this point a discussion was needed regarding the added layer of house wrap that goes under the canvas in wetter climates. Our climate is definitely proving to be wet, and wetter, and wetter. Although it was in pretty good shape and could have been repaired with tape, it was sure a handy time to replace it, which we decided to do.

Then Yves said, “Does it bother you that the door leans outward a little bit?”

“Well, it bothers me a bit, and my son has noticed it too,” I said.

groovy yurts happy customers

It turns out you can fix that. I was amazed to watch them remove a few of the roof rafters (huns) by the door and simply push the wall up straight. Then Yves cut a couple inches off those rafters so they wouldn’t keep pushing that wall out and put them back! Magic, a perfectly vertical door!

groovy yurts happy customers

Some of the felt had sagged a bit so it was pulled up and also tucked into the door, then the new house wrap went on.

yurt being assembled

And then on went the new exterior canvas and the new horse hair ropes. All completed in less than 2 hours. We are ever so grateful to Yves, Pedro and Groovy Yurts for doing this work for us. Had we done this project it would not have been done as well and would have been fairly stressful for us, since both of us are on the second half of our 70’s.

yurt being assembled

One last project I did was to wash the decorative skirt (hayavtch) in my washer, then scrub it with bleach and detergent to brighten it up – mostly grass stains from mowing. It looks much better but maybe next year we’ll get a new one.

groovy yurts happy customers

We use our yurt for a guesthouse, winter and summer, a music room, a party room and a place to chill. I highly recommend yurts for this and even for living in. They are not only beautiful, but the history behind the Groovy Yurts’ company, the people in Mongolia that they employ, the philosophy and respect for Mother Earth that almost oozes from its pores… Well you can’t help but feel the energy.

yurt under christmas decorations in a city square

Rise of the City Yurt

Traditionally, yurts were mostly found in the vast grasslands of Mongolia.

More recently, they have gained popularity in remote places throughout other countries, such as the United States or Canada.

What may surprise some, is that they have also landed in cities.

Yurts in Mongolia

yurt enclave in ulaanbaatar mongolia

Ger district in Ulaanbaatar (photo Miroslav Hodecek)

In Mongolia, there’s been a few waves of rural exodus, due to multiple factors.

Two of the main factors are extreme winters, called zuud, and a deterioration of schools after the return to a market economy.

Nomads are then pushed towards the cities, often with what little they have left, which is sometimes just a yurt and some furniture and gather in the ger districts. Those quarters are made almost entirely of yurts.

Because they do not have the cattle to produce new layers of felts or the dung to feed their stoves, they use huge amounts of coal in nonefficient stoves. Harsh winters require significant heating within the yurts, therefore causing the capital city of Ulaanbaatar to become one of the worst urban polluters on the planet.

Yurts in Europe & North America

yurt at aga khan foundation toronto

It has now become a tradition every year to see a few yurts at the Aga Khan Foundation for the Nuit Blanches festival (Toronto)

In Europe or North America, the rare yurts that pop up in cities are usually temporary.

This generally includes event yurt rentals, as city by-law regulations often prohibit or limit more permanent installations.

Some seasonal installs have been authorised, such as patio yurts in restaurants during the winter. Some purchase the structures for more personal uses and choose to keep a low profile, like the young gentlemen living in an 8’ yurt in his Toronto backyard.

Others have gotten quite creative and have managed to keep their backyard offices, pool covers or yoga studios for years, while others have had to move their temporary dwelling at the cry of their neighbours.

We are continuously amazed at the many uses that people come up with for their tiny dwellings.

We’ve included some photo evidence in this article.

Happy yurting!


rental yurt in ottawa canada

Yurt rental for Winterlude (downtown Ottawa)

urban yurt in montreal quebec canada

A yurt installed over a swimming pool in winter for extra space (Montreal)

yurt on rooftop in montreal

A winter restaurant on a roof top (Montreal)

rooftop yurt in new york chinatown

A roof top yurt (Chinatown, New York)

winter yurt in city of toronto

yurt interior full of yoga students

Why Yurts & Yoga Belong Together

Why do people buy a yurt for practicing yoga?

Is it because of the energy, symbolism, and round shape?

Or, perhaps, because of the ‘womb protection’ feeling?

Maybe because it is a way to create a separate, quiet space in the backyard, that can be transformed into extra space for kids or guests?

Or is it simply just that yoga in a yurt is easy to implement?

Yurts & Yoga: A Supreme Combination

yurt interior for yoga

We’ve definitely heard all those reasons and we’re certain there are many more draws that we haven’t heard.

Generally, those wishing to practice yoga in a yurt opt for a standard diameter yurt, which is 4 to 6 walls (16 to 22-foot diameter).

For reference, the author of these blogs, Yves, is 6’5’’ (195cm) and has no problem practicing in a 5-wall or even a 4-wall yurt.  The smaller yurts are quite low along the walls, so one might find themselves having to stand closer to the centre where it’s higher.

yurt interior for yoga

If a customer wishes to create a yoga studio in a yurt, they might be happiest with a Super Ger, as it has  raised walls and a steeper roof pitch. This is a 26’ or 30’ (8 or 9 metre) yurt.

We’ve had up to 20 people practicing yoga in a 26’ yurt and many more would fit for a meditation.


yurt interior for yoga

yurt interior set up for party

The Sky Is the Limit with Our Rental Yurts

GroovyYurts not only sells authentic Mongolian yurts, we also rent them out.

A few options are offered…

Yurt Rentals for a Variety of Events, Functions & Purposes 

yurt rental for outdoor eventWhether it be for a wedding, corporate event, movie set, artist lodge, music festival, party, extra sleeping space, trade show, cigar lounge, Christmas market…the list could go on forever… a Mongolian yurt can be the answer to your most creative dreams.

A yurt’s acoustics, round shape, and natural materials give it a unique feeling of being immediately transported elsewhere.

Yurts Are Easy & Carry a Small Footprint

yurt village

An authentic yurt does not require anchoring and will leave no footprint once taken down.

Therefore, yurt installation is simple… you can install a yurt on your front lawn or inside a trade show.

Additionally, we provide the option of a rental yurt platform if you’re expecting heavy rains or wish to install on a snowy or muddy terrain.

We generally carry yurts from a 12’ to 30’ diameter for rental and can cater everything from your single romantic yurt event to an entire yurt village (and everything in between).

A memorable yurt rental occasion was held recently, with upwards of 80 people standing in a 22’ yurt with a wood stove going and a small bar. People were cozy without the feeling of being overcrowded. We also reflect fondly on installing 12 luxury yurts for a one-night event in Bolivia.

The Sky Truly Is the limit!

music event in rented yurtWhen considering a rental as an option, budget will likely be a decisive factor, as a yurt is both heavier and requires more set-up than a simple tent or marquee; but the result is always stunning.

In most cases, the rental yurts will come directly out of our stock in Alexandria, Ontario. So, distance can also influence pricing.

Other options for rentals include Mongolian furniture, bean bags, lighting, stoves, and different types of platforms.

Additionally, local authorities might ask for a second yurt door or fire-retardant treatments, which we can provide.

We almost always have yurts in stock, but it is best to book in advance as renting yurts is becoming more and more popular, particularly around the Christmas season.

Yurt Experiences

yurt rental in ottawaMany of our customers rent their yurts out on Airbnb or own entire yurt camps.

Check some of them out on our Yurt experience page.

We can also warmly recommend our own (tut-tut!) yurt at the Groovy farm, where you can also see various yurt options and meet one of us for more information on the unique dwellings. Check out our Airbnb at:

Long-Term Yurt Rentals

Long-term yurt rentals are also a nice option, albeit one that can be quite pricey.

Because of this, we also offer our ‘seasonal rentals’ that you can rent for 4-6 months at 40% or 50% off the listed price (*full price will apply on delivery, set-up assistance and a couple other items). Upon rental expiry, you can send the yurt back OR purchase it for the balance (*some conditions may apply depending on location and usage type).

Contact us today and tell us about your dream project!

We’re at yurt service!