A community presence in Ottawa for more than 140 years, YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region remains true to its mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages across all seven of its facilities. Staff members uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they invest in their community’s children and strengthen family bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. They pump up adult fitness regimens with aquatic fitness and boot-camp classes, personal training, and full gymnasiums outfitted with equipment for basketball, soccer, and rope skipping. They’ve also filled their fitness centres with free weights, cardio equipment, and weight machines. When they’re not helping adults trim down waistlines during yoga, boxing, and salsa-dance classes, staff members are getting back in touch with their inner children. They stimulate imagination, mental development, and growth as they lead children’s day camps, after-school programs, birthday parties, and outdoor education.
These YMCA-YWCA outposts are dedicated to helping all members of the community. They provide those in need with emergency and youth housing, employment services, and domestic-violence support programs. They further strengthen and unite the Ottawa community through the YActive Assist program, which adjusts membership rates to help families that can’t afford the full cost of any of YMCA’s progressive programs.
The Athletic Club strives to help burn-feelers of all abilities attain their fitness goals with a plenitude of fitness classes and equipment, keeping their doors open until midnight through most of the week. Patrons enjoy access to an array of luxurious amenities, including a spacious multisport gymnasium and a child-care centre. A club tour familiarizes newcomers with the facility's sprawling layout. Hearts get ticking on the club?s 160 pieces of well-maintained cardio equipment?outfitted with individual televisions?and over 200 weekly group fitness classes helmed by expert instructors that encourage participants to box, cycle, and Pilates their bodies into sweat-gilded temples.
A unique AntiGravity yoga class employs a silk hammock to help sun saluters as they strike inverted poses and make shadow puppets with their toes. Pellucid saltwater pools accommodate leisurely lap swimming and experiments testing the buoyancy of various cheeses, and a separate women?s-only aquatic area offers an array of aqua-fit classes that sculpt muscles with subaqueous exercises such as pool-noodle wrestling. After a workout, gym-goers can revel in the soothing vapours of the steam and dry saunas in the changing rooms or mill about the WiFi-enabled Members Only lounge. The Athletic Club contributes to global and local nonprofits, expanding the reach of its health initiative from gym members to those in need.
Andrea Harper wears many hats, but they are all connected by a common thread—or pole, as the case may be. She is a certified personal trainer, nutrition and wellness specialist, and pole-fitness instructor, whose fascination with physical health centers around empowering spins. As the owner of Cherry Blossom Pole Dancing Studio, Andrea passes on the moves that made her one of Canada's top 16 pole dancers at Miss Pole Dance Canada 2010, leading women of all backgrounds through lessons designed to strengthen their bodies, self-esteem, and sense of rhythm. During pole-dancing classes, she and her team of instructors take pupils from the fundamentals to advanced techniques, such as convincing your brain that the floor is actually the ceiling. She limits class sizes to 10 students within the hot-pink-and-green studio, ensuring that everyone is able to pair up with a pole. The pole isn't the only gravity-flouting tool at Andrea's disposal, though; she also schedules courses that rely on aerial silks and hoops.
To put a personal touch on twirls, she offers parties replete with dance routines and fun props for all occasions. These soirees readily accommodate groups with 1,500 square feet of space and were suggested by the Ottawa Citizen as one of the top three creative bachelorette-party ideas.
While growing up in their hometown of Ottawa, Michael Falucci and Gabriel Wolinsky always dreamed of becoming professional dancers. For years, they trained in dance studios throughout North America before moving Toronto to pursue performance careers. Their hard work and determination paid off, landing them roles in professional theatre productions such as Guys and Dolls and South Pacific along with film and television parts in Disney's Eloise and Degrassi Goes Hollywood. After their Dirty Rotten Scoundrels tour, where they racked up frequent flyer miles by leaping across stages in 60 North American cities, Michael and Gabe returned to Ottawa to open their own dance studio—Capital City Dance.
At the studio, the duo draws from their years of experience in dancing and coaching, captaining a crew of fellow professional dancers as they lead classes in a range of styles. Throughout the week, Capital City Dance resounds with the sounds of ballet music, tap shoes, and disconcertingly loud jazz hands as the staff leads classes and workshops for young and old. The studio hosts recreational classes as well as a competitive program, where students are regularly entered in regional and national dance competitions.
For more than three decades, birthday parties, family outings, and corporate retreats have come to life at Karters' Korner with the hum of go-karts, the satisfying sound of well-driven golf balls, and the laughter of children at the mini golf course. A glistening fleet of 40 single and 8 double-seater carts send drivers and passengers zooming around a nearly mile-long track, shielded by the safety of annual vehicle inspections, roll bars, seat belts, and force fields. Visitors who don't meet the track's 54-inch height requirement can practice their automotive skills on the four-wheeler kiddy-kart track. Golfers master their swing at the 1,000-foot driving range, sending balls soaring over a glistening lake speckled with four island greens. Mini golf unites families against the challenge of sending golf balls past cleverly designed obstacles, and an arsenal of pool tables, air hockey, and video games entertain guests indoors. The newly-added paintball fields allow patrons to splatter paint at will within one of several courses. During warm, sunny days, picnickers gather at the large covered patio for lunch, and athletes pick up games of basketball or beach volleyball at the outdoor courts.
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.