Years ago, Olympic Game Farm was a home for actors. The bears, cougars, and big cats who lived on the premises were all movie stars?most often for Disney Studios, which worked with and filmed the farm's animals for 28 years. The farm's founder, Lloyd Beebe, served as the go-to trainer, and his bond with the wildlife was reputedly amazing. During those early years, he even managed to tame five wolverines, who would eat raw egg out of his hands.
Today, Lloyd's grandson Robert runs the farm. For the most part, the animals are no longer film celebrities?although footage of the famous waving bears has gone viral and even appeared in a Carrie Underwood video, and some animal actors from elsewhere still retire to the farm. The majority are descendants of the original film animals, or rescues. Visitors can drive through the park to see zebras, elk, wolves, and lions, then head to the petting farm for an up-close encounter. They can even feed many of the animals?whole-grain bread is an accepted treat.
Dennis Brady and his glass-blowing brood do more than supply Victoria with a steady stream of colourful crystalline pieces. They also impart the tricks of their trade in easy-to-understand classes, lectures, and workshops. Artists and curious common folk can take advantage of Victorian Art Glass's expansive art experience, which allows visitors to experience several different types and textures. The studio's many kilns for rent or other tools such as the sandblaster help produce intricate designs into smooth surfaces to practice for a new gig as Jack Frost. The glassomancers' educational programs emphasize the business end of artistry, with numerous classes aimed specifically at improving one's marketability.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's centre, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
A tiny ripple glides along the smooth-as-glass water, alerting captain Pete to the fact that he and his passengers are about to have company. Sure enough, within seconds a group of glossy black fins breaks through the sea in a silent, synchronized ballet. A native Washingtonian who has spent his entire life on the water, captain Pete orchestrates San Juan Excursions to grant guests the chance to go head-to-head with nature in moments such as these. As marine naturalists certified by the Whale Museum?s Naturalist Training Program, captain Pete?s crew of passionate guides take to the peaceful waters of the Puget Sound to entertain boatloads of guests with informative facts about area wildlife witnessed during excursions.
The team?s passion for nature informs its low-impact approach to whale and wildlife watching, which is exemplified in the Odyssey, the company's tour boat. Originally a U.S. Navy search-and-rescue vessel forged in 1941, the craft is fueled by biodiesel when possible and maintains a low propeller RPM to minimize the Bono moans it releases into the water column. Though San Juan Excursions specializes in whale watching, it also sends adventurers forth to explore the waters on their own steam during sea-kayak tours.
Founded in 2001 by photographic pair Mike Byrne and Gavin Young, Clock Tower Images initially abetted educational publishers, such as Disney and Discovery Channel, by supplying them with still and moving images. Since then, the ever-expanding business has recruited shutterbug Isobel Springett and fashioned a wealth of new programs geared around the trio's interests. In addition to its portraiture program, Clock Tower Images expertly frames horses ?a passion of Isobel's?and a massive array of sporting events, including, in Mike's case, events at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Mike and Isobel instill their image-capturing expertise into students at hands-on workshops and courses in Victoria and Courtenay, where up to eight apprentices at a time learn the ins and outs of landscape, portrait, wildlife and sports photography. For pupils eager to break out of the classroom, Clock Tower Images arranges a number of guided field trips and international photo tours that capture North America's west coast landscapes and wildlife, as well as numerous African locales, and into the dreams of slumbering migratory birds.
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.