For more than 45 years, Simon Fraser University has nurtured the talents of student-athletes who have gone on to achieve great things in either aspect of that role, producing Rhodes Scholars and Olympians alike. Since winning its first championship in 1972—swimming and diving in men's NAIA—the Clan has claimed victory in more than 50 National NAIA or CIS championships in such sports as skiing, women's basketball, and women's wrestling. Each year, rather than honouring its athletes as in other schools' age-old traditions—sending them off on an ice floe to fight the Soviets—SFU bestows an outstanding male and female each with a highland sgian dubh, a traditional Gaelic weapon that symbolizes courage, respect, and loyalty.
Giggling children tumble into pits filled with foam cubes, bounce on trampolines, swing on ropes, or roll around mats shape like doughnuts and cheese wedges. Across the room, older kids twirl, flip, and pace on Olympic-grade bars and balance beams. When designing Cartwheels Inc., founders Katherine Campbell and Lisa Lacamell wanted to provide a space for serious gymnastics and cheerleading training as well as a place for children to have fun. They employed expertise from a lifetime of gymnastics training, and roles as the national course conductor for Gymnastics Canada and board director for Gymnastics BC, respectively. They hold their staff––many of whom come from yoga, dance, and fitness backgrounds––to high standards: each holds at least a level-one NCCP certification, child-safety-focused Respect in Sport certification, and first-aid certification.Cartwheels Inc's instructors coach children as young as 18 months in classes taught to the standards of the National Coaching Certification Program, giving them stylish ways to climb into bunk beds. Beyond tumbling and gymnastics classes, girls also combine gymnastics, dance, and stunting formations to hone cheerleading skills in recreational and competitive all-star cheerleading programs. In the summer, gym staffers lead day camps that combine gymnastics and arts-and-crafts instruction with off-site field trips, allowing children to visit water parks or meet the man who invented water. Recognizing that their gym spaces can also serve as a playground, Katherine and Lisa also organize birthday parties and kids'-night-out events to host hours of unstructured play.
At turf club The Derby Bar and Grill, chefs prepare a menu of upscale eats as patrons follow live simulcast horse racing. Protein-packed comestibles—including barbecued Chilean pork back ribs ($19.95) and 8-ounce certified Angus beef burgers slathered in whiskey-mustard sauce ($13.95)—energize diners used to only eating apples and carrots from a trough. Fresh seafood dishes also undergo culinary transformations, such as fire-grilled Pacific salmon crowned in mango salsa ($18.95). Stomach growls struggling to sound out the winning thoroughbred's name quiet after bites of the Santa Anita pizza, a 12-inch dough disc adorned in tomatoes, peppers, artichokes, olives, and mushrooms ($13).
The Great Pacific Diving Company is a five-star PADI instructor-development centre that trains future deep-sea explorers, with certifications ranging from open-water diver to instructor. Today's Groupon is good for an all-inclusive open-water diving program, which includes five pool dives, four ocean dives, and PADI open-water diver certification for autonomous dives up to 60' (upon completion). Great Pacific Diving features a private training pool, reliable diving gear, and e-learning integration that allows students to complete the academic portion of the certification at home or within a WiFi-equipped volcano before enjoying splishing and splashing in real time (e-learning available for additional charge). Local dives are normally conducted in Howe Sound, though worldly wanderers can opt to hop onto one of Great Pacific's tropical trips to Cozumel, the Red Sea, or the Queen's kiddie pool. Additionally, if diving turns to buying, Groupon customers also receive 10 per cent off personal gear purchased during the course, which can be wrapped up or worn home to express dominance over landlocked neighbours.
The extreme athletes at Feral Kiteboarding School harness and fuse the raw powers of wind and water to fuel kiteboarding sessions. Driven by a passion for the outdoor lifestyle, they have also studied the demands of their environment to design apparel and equipment for the sport. Lessons with a BKSA- and IKO-certified instructor take place along the sandy beaches and shallow waterways of White Rock. Wave-cresting staffers also specialize in introducing beginners to the pastime, organizing equipment packages complete with trainer kites, instructional DVDs, and jars big enough for students to trap their own gusts of feral wind.
In Vanilla Room's expansive loft space, night-owls groove to electronica, top-40, and hip-hop tunes and sip premium and top-shelf libations from a full bar. Staff members greet patrons at the main doors and cater to their needs as they meander among exposed slate walls, virtual living-art tables that reflect projected images, potted ferns, and life-sized statues of Jay-Z's pet giraffe. A bartender blends cocktails, highballs, and other drinks with Bacardi rum and Bombay Sapphire gin ($5–$6 each) as well as top-shelf pours of Grey Goose and Roberto Cavalli vodkas ($7-$8 each). Live hosts conduct revelry around nightly shows, which often feature international music artists and celebrities. Guests settle cable-bill disputes via dance fights across a hardwood dance floor, and the club's high-quality sound system emits optimal acoustics amid hanging coloured lights. Move to music, lean on velour-lined walls, and compare disco-ball tattoos on leather benches.