A paper-craft headquarters designed as a meeting place for would-be memory-keepers and crafters, Cherish the Thought's homey storefront houses a variety of classes and supplies by well-known vendors. The technique- and product-based classes—great for both the new crafter and the experienced artisan—typically last between two and three hours, but instructors continue to help participants until completion of their individual projects. Students depart confident enough to try new scrapbooking, card making, and ransom note-cultivating techniques at home. Class size is limited, so call ahead to reserve a spot.
BC Eldercare Massage alleviates the ailments that accompany age with soothing chair massages designed for senior citizens. Specially trained massage therapists travel to nursing homes, hospice care centres, and other offsite locations to assuage aching muscles, joints, and tendons as patients relax in ergonomically correct chairs. The company also trains students with courses in massage technique.
The Air Force relies on flight simulators to train its recruits, avoiding risking young lives and expensive equipment as their pilots learn the ropes in a nonlethal environment. Why, then, shouldn't bartenders learn their own dangerous, high-stakes craft by simulating the real thing? At Wright Drink Bartending School, students learn to mix concoctions at an artificial bar in the school's loft, preparing them for the fast-paced rigours of slinging drinks by recreating the typical work environment. Beyond simple mixology, classes impart the more nuanced skills necessary to the job, such as managing space, mastering an in-depth liquor vocabulary, and dealing with troublesome customers by alerting the police with a high-pitched scream.
A quick glance at Vashti Fairbairn’s resume is telling. At local theatre company Fighting Chance Productions, she has directed the critically lauded Little Shop of Horrors and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, both of which magically combine music with dramatic arts. At her own Music Box Music and Theatre Academy, Fairbairn, along with a team of dedicated teachers, does the exact same thing on a daily basis. Children’s group classes give little ones as young as 6 months old a chance to strut their stuff on the dance floor, belt out their favourite show tunes, and learn to tickle the ivories like a seasoned elephant sitter. Private lessons are open to adults as well, and expand the instrumental scope to include strings, music theory, and the speaking arts. The latter comes in handy during the school’s drama clubs, which teach kids 3 years and older how to use their imaginations to create real-life and fantasy scenarios. Outside of their educational programs, the facility entertains visitors to the River Market with free music and theatre performances in the Music Box Presents series.
Anytime Fitness, which boasts 1689 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fit-seekers challenge themselves on Nautilus cardio and strength machines and hoist free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’ staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or bop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
When doctors told Joey and Darryl Simon that their son Jet’s premature birth could result in learning disabilities, the couple immersed him in the world of art as a means of helping him overcome any educational obstacles. Their tutelage and care paid off, resulting in an impressive array of paintings from their child at a very young age. Jet’s talent and creativity inspired his parents to establish 4Cats Arts Studio in hopes of unleashing the inner artists of other children as well as adults. The Simons accomplish this mission through hands-on sessions in mixed media, painting, and Artist Focus classes, which concentrate on the histories and styles of certain artists, such as Picasso’s cubism and Andy Warhol’s self-portraits of soup cans.
Nadia and Masha know art. Nadia spent years designing and making props for the stage before adding degrees in teaching and child psychology to her art diploma and focusing on art education full-time. Masha, who recently pitched her art skills on CBC's Dragons' Den, specializes in design, painting, and drawing. The two combine their forces at Pinocchio Arts & Craft to teach burgeoning Van Goghs aged 5 and older how to find their inner creativity.
Yet the instructors' focus is not on skills alone. Their curriculum is broad enough to build well-rounded creators who understand the different cultural influences of art and its many movements. This is true in their classes and even in their birthday parties, which focus on portrait painting, re-creating famous masterpieces, or working in the style of Picasso, Matisse, or Emily Carr. Children's sessions are divided by age, not medium, and focus on international cultures. In past classes, for example, kids have painted the Taj Mahal, built a Chinese-style dragon, and learned what part of the world has deserts hot enough to melt clocks. Adult classes, on the other hand, explore more advanced media and concepts, such as the laws of abstraction and cubism.