As rock-climber, Andrew Coffey saw a growing interest in bouldering among his fellow climbers and he also noticed a lack of dedicated bouldering gyms in the city? so he decided to build one himself. He teamed up with architects and graphic designers to plot out a floor plan and contracted undulating walls of custom-designed rock that could be climbed without ropes. When he and his team finished laying the soft-mat flooring in the 10,000 square foot space, they'd finally brought The Hive to life. To supervise and lead classes, Andrew has gathered a team of climbers with extensive outdoor experience, including some who also hone their bodies for rock-climbing through gymnastics, dance, judo, and tai chi.
Inside the facility, instructors and visitors traverse overhangs, vertical angled slabs, an archway, and top-ups where they can climb up over the lip without any ropes. The walls reach up to 16 feet throughout most of the gym, with grades ranging from V0- to V10+, remaining closer to the ground and free of avalanches in a dedicated children's area. In one of the central structures, summit-reachers can glide back to earth in a tube slide.
Instructors require new visitors to take a tour and small lesson prior to climbing, and gym staffers change the challenging routes every three weeks to keep climbers from discovering hidden deposits of Skittles. They also teach in-depth techniques during short or long courses lasting up to five weeks and expand instruction to the outdoors during up to two-day programs. When not teaching visitors how to climb without ropes and evade roving packs of mountain bikes, gym staff host climbing competitions, special film screenings and parties for local climbers, where they pit their skills against each other in friendly competition.
In the dining room, the rhythmic pounding of a bodhrán hand drum mingles with the joyful melodies of a tin flute, flooding every inch of the space with an ebullience punctuated by onlookers’ clapping hands and tapping feet. The diners have left the feasts spread across their tables mostly untouched, their attention glued to the band in the midst of their lively song. Such moments aren't a rarity at Donegal's Irish House, but are an almost nightly occurrence at the jovial eatery that brings locals together to make new friends and share in internationally inspired meals.
Champions of fostering an atmosphere of community and friendship, the affable staff goes out of its way to make guests feel welcome, thanks to attentive service and an ever-changing calendar of events that keep inviting guests back. On select evenings, patrons can convene at Donegal's to watch a Canucks game or to see local bands. As guests chat and mingle in the dining room, the kitchen buzzes with chefs concocting Irish standards such as shepherd's pie and international cuisine that includes perogies and sausage, jambalaya, and butter chicken. Donegal's signature dish remains the whopping blarney stone burger, a 7.5-pound charbroiled Canadian beef patty that gets its eater a commemorative T-shirt and a place on the wall of fame if it's eaten within two hours with no help. Unsuccessful competitors, meanwhile, find their snapshot displayed on the wall of shame, under the most personal entry from their dream journals.
As the sun’s rays reach across British Columbia, breakfast is being served, coffee and all, in the middle of Shuswap Lake. Though it's been cooked aboard one of Waterway Houseboat Vacations’ watercrafts, the diners devouring their morning meal still have the overwhelming sense that this is what it feels like to spend quality time in the wild. That combination of coming together as a group while communing with nature is Waterway Houseboat Vacations’ raison d'être and has been since its founding in 1968.
Dedicated to outfitting aquatic sojourners with the most lavish, well-equipped vessels possible, the company's proprietors had their own fleet of houseboats built up in their Sicamous-based boat yard. Each masterpiece of engineering is embellished with luxurious amenities such as hot tubs, fireplaces, and gold-plated shoulder parrots, each of which fight for boater attention with lake-adjacent activities such as swimming, hiking, water-skiing, and fishing. While eager to introduce visitors to the scenic beauty of the Shuswaps, the company simultaneously aims to uphold a dedication to environmental stewardship, preserving their beloved home with initiatives that include stocking boats with biodegradable soap and spearheading a comprehensive recycling program.
As golfers line up tricky, round-deciding rolls on the green of the signature 17th hole at Olympic View Golf Club, they might have to block out an unusual sound. Just behind the green, water crashes earthward for more than 60 feet over one of the course’s two waterfalls. The dramatic feature generates a roaring din as well as a beautiful backdrop for players as they near the end of their scenic golfing excursions.
Such tranquil scenes are common on the 6,600-yard course framed by the dense forest of south Vancouver Island and the looming profiles of Olympic Mountains peaks. But the calm can be deceptive, as the Bill Robinson–designed layout aims to challenge. Twelve lakes are interspersed throughout the site, and numerous bunkers intimidate golfers with their depth and walls etched with tally marks. This signature mix of beauty and difficulty earned the club a four-star rating from Golf Digest in 2008, as well as a ranking of 10th Best Public Golf Course in British Columbia by Score Golf in 2011.
The GBC Golf Academy at Olympic View Golf Club aims to prepare golfers mentally and physically for playing the most enjoyable golf of their lives. Located on 14 acres, the academy features nine large grass driving areas with target greens as far as 330 yards. In three short-game areas, players practice putts, pitches, and fake surprise at finding the ball in the cup. The amply appointed grounds complement a teaching philosophy that encourages development of a repeatable swing tailored to the individual’s physical capabilities.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,600 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.7 from the back tees * Course slope of 133 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole
Open since 2005, West Coast Martial Arts promotes the spread of Mixed Martial Arts through the capable hands and feet of its expert instructors. From 23 locations, they train students of all ages and experience levels in the nuances of an international array of martial arts. Their fundamentals programs introduce tots, youths, and adults to some of the fastest-growing disciplines in North America, arming students with pragmatic self-defence skills that work as well in the heat of the moment as they do in the calm of the dojo. Instructors also lead an array of classes for more advance practitioners. Teaching the grappling and ground-fighting techniques of Brazilian jujitsu, they lead students in battling larger opponents with the holds and submissions of the Gracie street self-defence system. They round out their curriculum with the striking arts of kickboxing and muay thai, which is also called the "science of eight limbs." In this combat style, students unleash flurries of blows using their hands, feet, elbows, and knees, turning into a more fearsome opponent than Bruce Lee before he had his conjoined twin removed.
It's completely dark within the Black Hole, one of Splashdown Park's premier water attractions. The slide twists, turns, and dives through a web of enclosed tubes, and as park visitors slide towards the landing pool, they have no idea what's coming next. Not that increased visibility makes anything less thrilling. At Big Jim's River Run, the sun shines down on a 320-foot simulated river. Its fast, churning whitewater caries tubes and their occupants through a series of rapids, ultimately culminating in a giant splash into the main receiving pool. Nearby, a children's area encompasses six pools and five tamer slides, and a giant hot tub lets adults relax between aquatic attractions or imagine what it's like to be stew.
Nestled behind the 425-foot Oliver Twist and Corkscrew water slides lie some dryer activities. Volleyball and basketball courts bustle with games, and hot dogs cook on gas grills, which are available for rent. Alternatively, the onsite concessions area serves up pizza and burgers.