Steve and Lisa Cooper haven't just vowed to stick together through sickness and health. The recipients of 2010's Ontario Outstanding Young Farmers award have made that pledge to their land, practicing sustainable, eco-friendly farming that yields Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze's wealth of produce. Through their community-supported agriculture program, the Coopers' pair members with weekly baskets of veggies, fruits, and meats such as free-range chicken, hormone- and antibiotic-free Angus-grade beef, and pasture-fed goat and Berkshire pork. Their farm store stocks the same locally produced goods alongside preserves, local honeys, dressings, and cured meats.
Tours of the family-owned farm give guests a behind-the-scenes look at the Coopers’ methods, along with wagon rides that wend through the property and goat and chicken walks that introduce visitors to the livestock. Elsewhere on their grounds, a 10-acre corn maze stymies attempts to navigate its labyrinthine twists, a pumpkin patch overflows with gourds ripe for picking, and horse swings let youngsters mimic galloping on small steeds without having to shrink a real horse in the dryer.
At Airborne Trampoline KW, leapers of all ages defy gravity on the centre's six Olympic-style trampolines. Custom mats and padding surround each trampoline to ensure safe landings. Trampoline coaches certified by Gymnastics Ontario and the NCCP watch over visiting jumpers and recreational classes of students aged 6 through adult as they leap, flip, and twirl through basic moves and advanced tricks. When not leading classes, coaches also host tryouts for an in-house competition team. The centre also provides decorated private rooms and basic catering services for birthday parties, during which children combine the joy of birthdays with the thrill of hugging clouds they've herded indoors.
Zen Bones Yoga's talented instructors school yogis in both heated and unheated introductory, hot flow, and classical Hatha yoga on a weekly Sunday–Thursday schedule. The 60-minute beginners' class introduces students to foundational yoga poses in a welcoming, question-friendly atmosphere. Salute sweat glands during the 75-minute Hot Hatha class, which harnesses the power of out-of-work sunbeams to heat the studio to 35–40 degrees and plies bodies with more challenging asanas. Class structures differ each session and are intimate, candlelit affairs limited to 10 practitioners to reduce the risk of tangled chakras.
In business for 25 years on the same 20-acre property, the experienced trainer at Deerfield Farm teaches individualized introductory riding lessons on a variety of steeds, from schoolmasters to former show horses. Before mounting one of Deerfield Farms' school horses for a half-hour canter, apprentice equestrians spend 30 minutes at the stable-and-horse orientation, familiarizing themselves with their steed's build, temperament, and favourite Jonas brother. Lessons ingrain strong basic riding skills in pupils, emphasizing safe horsemanship and smooth, rhythmic gaits while increasing rider confidence and control. A trainer of introductory-level through Grand Prix riders, Deerfield Farm owner and coach Grant Field customizes each session around particular horses and riders, ensuring successful pairings of hand and hoof. The farm's facility also boasts an 18-stall bank barn, two tack rooms, two outdoor grass rings, and a bouncy castle for pony birthday parties.
At Gymalaya, trainers introduce kids ages 18 months to 10 years to the fun and challenging elements of gymnastics. Two studios maintain kid-friendly workout zones marked by brightly coloured walls and equipment scaled down to accommodate tiny hands, huge imaginations, and average acrophobia. The gym's noncompetitive environment emphasizes fun; although more advanced classes teach difficult skills such as back handsprings and round-offs, all teachers maintain a focus on building strength and confidence.
The instructors at High Speed Hockey mould skilled hockey players through focused drills that aim to help them improve their skating, puck handling, and goaltending. The centre’s centrepiece is the Woodway Blade skating treadmill, a piece of equipment that, just like a running treadmill, can be adjusted for speed and incline to help skaters develop an efficient and explosive skating stride. While players glide on the ice-like belt, a video monitoring system provides feedback to help them identify the inefficiencies in their mechanics and works one-on-one with skaters to correct their stride.
Since outright speed is of little value if the player can’t score, instructors also lead shooting sessions to impart proper grip, release, and follow-through techniques. Meanwhile, net minders can practice their own unique set of skills during goalie training, which helps build net awareness, puck-tracking abilities, and the mental toughness necessary to face the most challenging shooter.