Fraser River Bike Tours & Rental's Tom Littlewood has been an avid cyclist for nearly 30 years. When the former psychologist first hit the roads of New Westminster, especially the Queensborough Bridge, the most common sight was of big rigs as they rumbled past. Now, with bike-friendly routes such as the Queensborough Loop being built along the Fraser River, Littlewood and other cyclists hear not the roar of traffic but the bark of sea lions as they park themselves on the shores for a front seat at the salmon runs. Eagles, heron, and other wildlife also congregate during runs, forming a rich, natural tapestry that cyclists pedal by on one of Tom's bike rentals, often during guided tours. At first, biking for Tom was not a passion, but a prescription. At 33, his doctor gave him a choice—undergo open-heart surgery or saddle up on a bicycle. Tom soon incorporated his prescription pedalling into both his personal and professional life. He began advising his own patients, who were afflicted with anxiety or sleep disorders, to cycle for the exercise, the fresh air, and the sassy feeling of wearing spandex in public. Later, he worked with disadvantaged children to teach them bicycle mechanics in a program he also helped establish in other places, including Cuba. Today, Tom estimates that he bikes 300–400 kilometres a week. He laps the Queensborough Loop five or six times a week with groups. As an advocate of biking who strongly associates the sport with weight loss, good health, and peace of mind, Tom enjoys sharing his passion with others at Fraser River Bike Tours & Rental. Perhaps even more than relaxed group rides, he likes his power rides. So even on days after he's led tours, he climbs aboard his two-wheeled steed and begins pedalling without a moment's hesitation.
Starting out in 1980 with only four rafts, Hyak River Rafting has since acquired an armada of top-of-the-line vessels equipped to handle the orneriest river safely. During trips on British Columbia's most exciting rivers—the Chilliwack, Thompson, Chilko, Chilcotin, and Fraser Rivers—licensed guides lead river trips lasting from several hours to several days, during which participants learn to manoeuvre around the grasping tentacles of feral octopuses. On most trips, crew and guests get soaked as the water rages about them before more tempered waters allow them to take in the sights of rock-banked rivers populated by lush forests and curious wildlife.
Along with a decade of coaching experience, Tribeca Equestrian instructor Jenna Brownjohn-Ritchie has certifications as an Equine Canada competition coach, a Regional Pony Club Examiner, and a farrier. With this varied background, she's able to manage and guide a team of qualified instructors. The instructors give students a well-rounded education, teaching them the art of horsemanship from tacking and caring for the horse to proper technique in the saddle. During lessons, the team aims to help riders grasp the fundamentals before they can set goals for progress, such as moving from flat riding to jumping over fences or jumping over fences to dunking a basketball on horseback.
The certified and supportive instructors at Aradia Fitness guide students in whole-body workouts via 55-minute structured and sequenced pole-dancing classes. Six levels of classes allow up to 15 students to increase flexibility, strengthen cores, and sympathize with lighthouses while spinning around the pole in four- or six-week curriculums. Level 1 and Level 2 classes ($100/four-week program) cover introductory principles and boost the self-esteem of barefooted pupils as they master foundational moves. Instruction from Level 3–Level 6 ($141/six-week program) often incorporates the donning of high heels or boots as Aradia's instructors introduce more complex dance moves and intermediate-to-advanced pole tricks. Each class eschews nudity and encompasses elements from ballet, yoga, and striptease to empower students and imbue them with grace.
The non-profit Burnaby Canoe and Kayak's nationally certified coaches impart paddling techniques to all ages and skill levels on peaceful Burnaby Lake. The lake is nestled in a wildlife sanctuary where birdwatchers often glimpse great blue herons, belted kingfishers, and airplanes and the scenic North Shore Mountains peer over its waters.
The organization's fleet—one of the largest in Canada—even encompasses the War Canoe, a uniquely Canadian boat that holds 15 paddlers. Students can hone their skills during drop-in sessions or during more structured summer camps and sprint programs, where members develop strength, endurance, and technique.
The rugged beauty of nature meets the comfort of vacation amenities at REO Rafting Resort, a secluded getaway on the edge of Nahatlatch River. Throughout the Fraser Canyon, experienced guides lead groups on whitewater rafting day-trips and multiday excursions, helping beginners and advanced rafters alike to navigate class III and IV+ rapids. Some of the trips take place along the Nahatlatch and others venture to the Stein, Thompson, and Fraser rivers, all of which are less than 45 minutes away from base camp. Relaxation and pampering follow at the resort's facilities, where a hot tub, massage therapists, and glasses of beer or wine await to reward campers for their rugged displays of human heartiness.
At nightfall, guests cozy up around a campfire, but they need not roast hot dogs or trap varmints for sustenance. A team of professional chefs prepares meals for guests, which also helps prevent the risk of forest fires and bears moseying into campsites for a snack.
The Great Pacific Diving Company is a five-star PADI instructor-development centre that trains future deep-sea explorers, with certifications ranging from open-water diver to instructor. Today's Groupon is good for an all-inclusive open-water diving program, which includes five pool dives, four ocean dives, and PADI open-water diver certification for autonomous dives up to 60' (upon completion). Great Pacific Diving features a private training pool, reliable diving gear, and e-learning integration that allows students to complete the academic portion of the certification at home or within a WiFi-equipped volcano before enjoying splishing and splashing in real time (e-learning available for additional charge). Local dives are normally conducted in Howe Sound, though worldly wanderers can opt to hop onto one of Great Pacific's tropical trips to Cozumel, the Red Sea, or the Queen's kiddie pool. Additionally, if diving turns to buying, Groupon customers also receive 10 per cent off personal gear purchased during the course, which can be wrapped up or worn home to express dominance over landlocked neighbours.