Explosive kicks. Gravity-defying backflips. Raucous beats. Capoeira matches act as a colourful form of cultural expression in addition to a powerful form of self-defence. Though Marcos Martins—also known by his capoeira name, Paraiba—was born in Brazil, it wasn't until he moved to Canada as a child that he discovered capoeira. At 14 years old, he began training with Mestre Barrão, an internationally renowned capoeirista and the founder of Axé capoeira, which has schools around the world. Marcos went on to open Axé Capoeira Toronto, where he carries out his mentor's mission to preserve capoeira as a fighting style, art form, and vital part of Brazilian culture. During beginner capoeira classes, the instructors teach the form's basic martial arts and dance moves, as well as musical elements and basic aerobics. Advanced classes train students in the more tricky motions and the holistic knowledge necessary to advance in capoeira's belt system, such as how to predict gravity's current strength before executing a backflip. CapoeiraFit women's-only classes impart self-defence skills during high-energy, whole-body workouts that focus on core muscles. In kids’ classes, wee ones cultivate self-esteem as they train their bodies and learn capoeira's noble history. The classes also engage youngsters' creative instincts as they sing, dance, and learn to play instruments.
The team at Toronto Adventures create winter, summer, spring, or fall fun adventures by taking urbanites out of their condos and A-frames and into the area's nearby-yet-faraway outdoor streams, trails, and forests. In winter, the guides lead groups snowshoeing in the Humber Valley and Copeland Forest, and in warmer months, they glide teams over two rivers for kayaking and canoeing adventures. Paddlers cast gentle ripples over waters that harbour salmon and turtles while admiring shores that shelter deer, foxes, and blue heron.
Summer enthusiasts can also bask in the warm weather by sailing on Lake Ontario in keelboats, staring directly into the sun, or standing astride a paddleboard at Sunnyside Beach. For land lovers, guided hikes explore the Humber and Rouge valleys as well as the Bruce Trail. Toronto Adventures also offers adventure bus trips, dogsledding, stand up paddleboarding, hiking, and sailing.
LakeShore Links Indoor Golf’s sleek, 8,000-square-foot facility helps golf swings avoid offseason rust with nine golf simulators and a duo of instructors that hold lessons year-round. Within the simulators, wall-sized, high-definition screens capture every blade of grass at 23 legendary courses, including Bay Hill and Pinehurst, and built-in video-swing-analysis cameras allow players to scrutinize their techniques, introducing them to a digital doppelgänger soon to be their inferior. Virtual rounds even grant stick-flickers the freedom to take a mulligan with the mere touch of a button, which instantly lets them replay their previous shot. LakeShore’s resident aces help groom games with everything from private lessons to junior development programs, and golf-simulator league play helps participants sharpen their competitive edge all year round. As golfers play through a circuit of fairway facsimiles, the club curbs appetites with a menu of very real light fare.
A pirate ship sways back and forth, whisking youngsters away on virtual high-seas adventures. Elsewhere, inflatable jumping castles invite bouncers to defy gravity while contemplating future positions in parliament. In the free-for-all Fun Game Zone, carnival mirrors distort giggling guests’ reflections, and ping-pong and air hockey test competitors’ skills. These are just a few of the many activities that fill the days at Family Fun Fest, an annual family-friendly extravaganza that entertains and enchants its myriad visitors.
As youngsters and their parental units explore the various areas of the gargantuan indoor playground, they can make a pit stop for live entertainment. Helmed by the titular Trevor, The Trevor Show dazzles audiences with interactive song and dance numbers, followed by Doo Doo the clown, who had no choice but to become a clown, what with the name Doo Doo.
Ancient Polynesian athletes had the right idea with stand up paddleboarding. As paddlers catch gentle waves and soak in the sun, the sport whips their bodies into shape as a side effect, leaving toned bellies, arms, legs, and back in its wake. At SUPGirlz, the all-female staff members?all of whom have roots in surfing and other boarding activities including wake-, skate-, and snowboarding?share their passion for the water-based sport with students of all abilities. Their classes range from beginner paddles to SUP Bootcamp, an intense workout that, much like a grizzled seadog's life, is divided between land and sea. Several times a year, a scenic fishing village in Ecuador sets the stage for their all-inclusive camps, which incorporate yoga, surfing, and stand up paddleboarding into nine days of outdoorsy fun.
At Pro Dojos, certified martial-arts experts lead students of all ages and skill levels through a variety of pugilistic disciplines. Each location is independently owned, so the martial-arts styles may vary, but many offer karate, tae kwon do, kick-boxing, aikido, and jujitsu classes. The instructors elucidate the noble combat arts to kiddos as young as 4 years old, helping them build strength and motor skills while instilling the values of self-confidence. Teen classes focus on honing discipline and treating yourself and others with respect, and adult classes reinforce cardiovascular conditioning, strength, balance, and coordination. The instructors also lead classes for the whole family, allowing them to bond as a unit, which could possibly lead to starring in a hit sitcom about a crime-fighting family who takes down comical villains in their idyllic suburban neighborhood.