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.
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.
Open 24 hours a day, the facilities at Sport Central come stacked with modern fitness equipment, squash courts, and instructors. Guests who opt for a two-month membership get 24-hour access to a 45,000 square foot gym full of body-toning cadre of cardio and strength-training equipment such as elliptical trainers, treadmills, bikes, steppers, and rowers. The membership also comes with 12 tanning sessions, which can aid iron-pumpers in looking more like a golden Atlas than a pallid one. The centre also boasts two steam rooms, a women's only area, and a children's centre where tykes can play under supervision while parents get fit.
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.
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.
An associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto, Victoria Warfield has dedicated her life to music. Experienced in performing as a concert pianist and directing choirs, Victoria also offers private lessons that tutor music-makers as young as 3 years old in specialized Parent & Tot sessions. Older students can tailor their efforts toward the Royal Conservatory of Toronto examinations or veer into pop or jazz styles. Adult lessons shake off rust from years of neglect or fruitless attempts of practicing the flute on a hollow churro to give students a new artistic outlet during classes that focus on music appreciation.