When doctors told Joey and Darryl Simon that their son Jet’s premature birth could result in learning disabilities, the couple immersed him in the world of art as a means of helping him overcome any educational obstacles. Their tutelage and care paid off, resulting in an impressive array of paintings from their child at a very young age. Jet’s talent and creativity inspired his parents to establish 4Cats Arts Studio in hopes of unleashing the inner artists of other children as well as adults. The Simons accomplish this mission through hands-on sessions in mixed media, painting, and Artist Focus classes, which concentrate on the histories and styles of certain artists, such as Picasso’s cubism and Andy Warhol’s self-portraits of soup cans.
Nadia and Masha know art. Nadia spent years designing and making props for the stage before adding degrees in teaching and child psychology to her art diploma and focusing on art education full-time. Masha, who recently pitched her art skills on CBC's Dragons' Den, specializes in design, painting, and drawing. The two combine their forces at Pinocchio Arts & Craft to teach burgeoning Van Goghs aged 5 and older how to find their inner creativity.
Yet the instructors' focus is not on skills alone. Their curriculum is broad enough to build well-rounded creators who understand the different cultural influences of art and its many movements. This is true in their classes and even in their birthday parties, which focus on portrait painting, re-creating famous masterpieces, or working in the style of Picasso, Matisse, or Emily Carr. Children's sessions are divided by age, not medium, and focus on international cultures. In past classes, for example, kids have painted the Taj Mahal, built a Chinese-style dragon, and learned what part of the world has deserts hot enough to melt clocks. Adult classes, on the other hand, explore more advanced media and concepts, such as the laws of abstraction and cubism.
British Columbia local and Lakers player Steve Nash created his fleet of namesake Fitness World & Sports Clubs to honour the tenets of healthy living. The classes at both Fitness World and Sports Club locations are taught by engaging instructors who impart students with methods for getting fit that don’t involve traditional livestock lifting. Group fitness trainers lead exercisers through Bball Blast's stability-ball training, ICE indoor-cycling intensives, and Cardio Core's combinations of step, cardio kickboxing, and abdominal exercises. The Nash Smash class uses full-body metabolic training to sternly badger moping muscles into action, and Women on Weights builds toned musculature by pitting females against leaden opponents. Personal training sessions fit workouts for each client, tailoring them to individual's goals and personal theme song.
The amenities at each club differ—the Burnaby location boasts a swimming pool and spacious whirlpool. The staff strives to create a healthy environment for members and the earth alike, with floors made from sustainable bamboo and locker panels build with recycled car tires.
Heated air seeps into students’ pores as they enter Bikram Yoga Burnaby’s two heated practice rooms, preparing muscles for workouts filled with deep, therapeutic stretches. Mindful of new and old faces alike, the instructors begin to demonstrate the 26 Hatha poses meant to promote health, longevity, and a youthful appearance. Each beginner-friendly pose builds upon the next, summoning cleansing beads of sweat as students flex and bend atop antimicrobial flooring and near wall-length mirrors. Focused breathing exercises help students expel stress with each exhalation, clearing minds of fog and worry.
Before and after classes, students may explore the 11,000-square-foot facility’s other amenities, which range from child care and towel service to showers and a juice bar. Fresh flowers add a hint of nature to the clean, modern lines of marble countertops and lounge tables, where students gather to socialize before heading to the nearby SkyTrain or a flying monkey parked in the studio’s free lot.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts 1689 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fit-seekers challenge themselves on Nautilus cardio and strength machines and hoist free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’ staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or bop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
The Air Force relies on flight simulators to train its recruits, avoiding risking young lives and expensive equipment as their pilots learn the ropes in a nonlethal environment. Why, then, shouldn't bartenders learn their own dangerous, high-stakes craft by simulating the real thing? At Wright Drink Bartending School, students learn to mix concoctions at an artificial bar in the school's loft, preparing them for the fast-paced rigours of slinging drinks by recreating the typical work environment. Beyond simple mixology, classes impart the more nuanced skills necessary to the job, such as managing space, mastering an in-depth liquor vocabulary, and dealing with troublesome customers by alerting the police with a high-pitched scream.
A quick glance at Vashti Fairbairn’s resume is telling. At local theatre company Fighting Chance Productions, she has directed the critically lauded Little Shop of Horrors and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, both of which magically combine music with dramatic arts. At her own Music Box Music and Theatre Academy, Fairbairn, along with a team of dedicated teachers, does the exact same thing on a daily basis. Children’s group classes give little ones as young as 6 months old a chance to strut their stuff on the dance floor, belt out their favourite show tunes, and learn to tickle the ivories like a seasoned elephant sitter. Private lessons are open to adults as well, and expand the instrumental scope to include strings, music theory, and the speaking arts. The latter comes in handy during the school’s drama clubs, which teach kids 3 years and older how to use their imaginations to create real-life and fantasy scenarios. Outside of their educational programs, the facility entertains visitors to the River Market with free music and theatre performances in the Music Box Presents series.