The Alternative Climbing Gym challenges climbers of all abilities with a 30-foot vertical wall in a 1,500-square-foot facility. Expert instructors put students through the paces of ropeless bouldering, the teamwork of belaying, or top-roping, in which a wall scaler ascends with the help of a rope connected to both the climber and the summit. Each climbing variation at the gym enables bodies to build core strength, balance, flexibility, endurance, and stamina while slapping gravity across the face with a glove. All ages of aspiring mountaineers are welcome to use the facility and modern climbing gear, though belaying’s buddy support requires that sturdy helpers be at least 12 years old. Like the moods of adolescent rock faces, the routes change often.
Dark wooden shelves buttress ceramic vases at Smashin’ Glass & Anything Art Co. as contemporary floor lamps illume a collection of works that range from oil paintings to jewellery and fused-glass sculptures. Owner Karena Donnelly conceived of the artist-operated gallery as a space to both cultivate creativity and showcase original work from more than 130 local artists. Karena and her husband Kevin moonlight as teachers, sharing their craft with pupils of all ages during workshops and routine dental check-ups. The facility also plays matchmaker between eligible images and professional framing services.
Rooted in the firm belief that cooking should not only be an experience and an art, the Foxglove Cooking School was founded by passionate Chef Jennifer Oliver. Her classes are designed for both beginners and seasoned gourmands, because Chef Jenn understands that everyone can enjoy cooking well, regardless of their skill in the kitchen. The school’s curriculum is diverse, ranging from medieval-themed cooking classes to stone-cold beginners’ lessons. All group classes feature super-fresh ingredients from nearby sources to help instill participants with an appreciation for beautiful, local cuisine. During sessions, Chef Jenn demonstrates how to craft three dishes, while students taste test each and place bets on how quickly she can mince an incriminating document.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces—including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis—await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln workers help glaze, fire, and de-genie it for them, and they may retrieve the finished piece after a few days.
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.
With a focus on giving its clients an intimate, small-studio experience, Sanga Yoga Studio's cozy Dunbar Street location accepts no more than 18 students per class. Studio owner and Vancouver Yoga Conference faculty member Shannon Cluff harnesses her experience from mentoring more than 40 yoga teachers to inspire and guide Sanga's team of instructors. Together, they lead a comprehensive roster of daytime and evening classes that includes Hatha yoga, Flow, and Yin suitable for both beginning and advanced yogis.
Shannon's ongoing commitment to the development and growth of yoga instructors manifests itself in her Teacher's Integration Program, where she counsels certified teachers, showing them how to refine their instructional approaches and encouraging their progress along the way with downward-facing fist-bumps.