Victoria Academy of Dramatic Arts’ 11 instructors share more than two centuries of combined experience in the entertainment industry, heading up a yearlong, by-audition acting program designed specifically for television, film, and commercial work. Not everybody is ready to make the plunge into the screen, so the school also runs smaller-scale workshops appropriate for all experience levels that cover casting dos and don’ts, career guidance, and summoning the willpower to meet James Cameron’s third eye. The Actor’s Makeover course tightens audition material into 15 minutes of pure emotional power, and part-time intro classes accommodate day jobs.
Competitors in the nine-team Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, the Peninsula Panthers foster excellence in fledgling hockey players as they compete against some of Canada's finest young talent. With three Brent Patterson Memorial Trophies in their arsenal—including back-to-back championships in 2010 and 2011—the Panthers have emerged as one of the league's premiere programs and a hotbed for future stars to move on to the next level. A handful of NHL players have matriculated through the Panthers system, including current Dallas Stars fixtures Jamie and Jordie Benn.
Cedar Ultra Patio rests atop Inferno Chophouse's roof, making it a breezy dining destination for those passing through the Four Points by Sheraton Victoria Gateway Hotel. After guests settle into the wicker chairs that dot private cabanas, they can sip one of 14 different brews on tap. On weekends, DJs spin lounge music in rhythm with the unified chewing of diners as they nosh on Mediterranean garlic-lemon dip or flame-grill beef. All entrees are made from scratch.
Reflecting on this childhood, Chris Keating sometimes feels as if he didn't exist. His parents' divorce left him with very little tangible evidence of his formative years, so he's spent his adult life as a photographer making sure children can look back fondly at warm family memories. Chris Keating and his Calgary staff have made this a reality for more than 3,000 families since opening the doors to Towne Photography in 2006. There, the professional photographic crew shoots posed and candid shots of families, children, couples, and babies at picturesque parks or against their studio backdrops, and they also snap triumphant graduate portraits, intimate prenatal shots, and provocative passport pics that make border crossing a breeze. Their ironclad guarantee allows unsatisfied clients to request reshoots, reprints, or resizing on all photographs, and they vow to remake or recapture any artwork that sustains damage over the years. Chris also takes his photographic knowledge on the road to conduct Betterphoto Workshops across the United States and Canada, teaching novice photographers how to artistically preserve their most precious memories.
A retired Canadian Navy clearance diver, Wilson Diving's Doug Wilson uses his 38 years of underwater experience to help students reach a deeper diving level. The three-hour Discover Scuba experience begins with an instructional video on scuba basics, equipment explanation, octopus-wrestling theory, and diving fundamentals. Pupils strap into provided tanks, flippers, goggles, and other gear before plunging into nearby Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre's indoor pool for a confined water dive. Daring divers must come armed ready with their own bathing suits, towels, and ability to pronounce Cousteau.
The squad of yoga masters at Core Power Fitness keeps students focused on bettering both body and mind through a series of 60- to 90-minute classes scheduled five days a week. Early birds can gain the flexibility of the worm with the Rise & Shine class starting at 6:30 a.m., where they will learn the power of breathing as they work to achieve clarity of mind, relieve tension, and shake the toxins out of their systems. With all classes suited to stretchy students of any experience level, fitness seekers can also try Vinyasa Flow, a fluid sequence of motions leading in and out of measured postures, offering a slightly more strenuous routine that can lead to revved up circulation and a calorie-incinerating metabolism. Hatha yoga turns the attention inward through sustained poses that strengthen and lengthen muscles while imbuing the balance of a crane trained as a classical ballet dancer.
With multitudes of muscle-melding classes focused on kickboxing, boxing, mixed martial arts, and more, Island MMA forges powerful bodies and meticulous fighting technique within their modern facility. Professional fighters work as instructors and apply masterful experience and peerless motivation to teach every calorie-burning course, encouraging ring rookies to meet fitness goals. Student expectations are met whether they are seeking a cardio workout, intense technique training, or the power to face malicious neighbour-cats. Special classes extend to women-only kickboxing and children's self-defense. Equipment is required, but the facility does provide loaner supplies for novices in need.