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.
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.
As golfers line up tricky, round-deciding rolls on the green of the signature 17th hole at Olympic View Golf Club, they might have to block out an unusual sound. Just behind the green, water crashes earthward for more than 60 feet over one of the course’s two waterfalls. The dramatic feature generates a roaring din as well as a beautiful backdrop for players as they near the end of their scenic golfing excursions.
Such tranquil scenes are common on the 6,600-yard course framed by the dense forest of south Vancouver Island and the looming profiles of Olympic Mountains peaks. But the calm can be deceptive, as the Bill Robinson–designed layout aims to challenge. Twelve lakes are interspersed throughout the site, and numerous bunkers intimidate golfers with their depth and walls etched with tally marks. This signature mix of beauty and difficulty earned the club a four-star rating from Golf Digest in 2008, as well as a ranking of 10th Best Public Golf Course in British Columbia by Score Golf in 2011.
The GBC Golf Academy at Olympic View Golf Club aims to prepare golfers mentally and physically for playing the most enjoyable golf of their lives. Located on 14 acres, the academy features nine large grass driving areas with target greens as far as 330 yards. In three short-game areas, players practice putts, pitches, and fake surprise at finding the ball in the cup. The amply appointed grounds complement a teaching philosophy that encourages development of a repeatable swing tailored to the individual’s physical capabilities.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,600 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.7 from the back tees * Course slope of 133 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole
"I love the way Bikram Yoga makes me feel happy, energized, and healthy. I didn’t love the heat at first, but now I need to sweat everyday."
—Anastasia Magdalene, Bikram Yoga Saanich Instructor
It only took 26 yoga postures and a heated room to rid Anastasia Magdalene of her chronic back pain. That winning combination—the foundation of Bikram Yoga—has changed the lives of many of Bikram Yoga Saanich's instructors. Abbey Lee found a sense of community, while Owl won relief from anxiety, spinal issues, and other problems. Read more about the instructors, who were each trained personally by Bikram yoga founder Bikram Choudhury.
Bikram Yoga Saanich's studio features rubber flooring made with recycled materials, low-flow shower heads, and no plastic water bottles. The hot studio of Bikram Yoga Saanich makes for a happy planet Earth and a jealous planet Mars. Find out all the ways the studio stays eco-friendly.
Classes at Bikram Yoga Saanich accommodate all levels, including first-timers. Here are some tips for new students:
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.
At Cadence Fitness, guests can tone their bodies in core workouts, sultry pole-dance spins, and aerial circus arts without leaving the building. However, the women-only studio isn't a training spot for acrobats?its expert staff invites ladies of all backgrounds and body types to their classes. Owner Amie set out to create a safe and compassionate haven where guests can experiment with movement, whether they are spinning six feet from the ground aboard a lyra or stretching into atmospheric yoga's midair splits. Her programs have been featured on Shaw TV's "The Daily" for their accessibility and benefits, which include having enough strength and balance to tightrope walk while tearing phonebooks in half. Amie and her team also host workshops, parties, and teacher-training seminars, inspiring groups to shed their insecurities and twirl toward empowerment.