The vision for what eventually became the arts-centric Vancouver Biennale organization began in 1998 when Buschlen Mowatt Galleries opened their four-month-long outdoor Open Spaces exhibit. Determined to go beyond the walls of traditional art galleries, the event’s organizers brought their showcase to a mile-long stretch of beach in English Bay and the back of one giant sea turtle. The sculptures, crafted by luminaries hailing from France, England, Colombia, and the US, drew more than seven million viewers during its limited run, and set off the idea that would become the Biennale—a biannual celebration exposing locals to many forms of public art.
Since then, the celebration has expanded to include not only visual arts but performance art and new media. In recent years, events have also included the Vancouver Tour de Biennale, an area bike tour that gathers cyclists to cover varying distances around the Vancouver area as they admire public art displays along the road.
A renaissance athlete, Konrad Wasiela’s résumé boasts accolades in football, judo, and track and field. Now he pours this experience into training others both at his indoor studio and outdoor locations, Alive Fitness, which features a program of personal training and group boot-camp classes. Each session aims to burn fat and build lean muscle through exercises that can be modified to accommodate various fitness levels and ailments, such as injured knees, backs, and prehensile tails.
Lisa and Danny, the owners and directors of Bikram Yoga Vancouver, began their mutual journey under the tutelage of Bikram Choudhury, the founder of the worldwide Yoga College of India as well as the style of yoga that now bears his name. After a knee injury left him crippled at 17, Bikram willed himself toward recovery with the help of his teacher, Bishnu Ghosh, and the series of 26 asanas that the two designed specifically to heal the body’s chronic physical ailments.
Today, Lisa and Danny continue to teach those same 26 poses to students of all levels. Their classes unfold in a studio heated to a fiery 40.5 degrees Celsius; the high temperatures help the body shed tension, toxins, and piggybacking snowmen. Focused breathing exercises complement sitting and standing poses that propel oxygen to the body's extremities and strengthen muscles.
Danzaire Productions came to life as a partnership between Cuban dancer and So You Think You Can Dance Canada finalist Arassay Reyes and fitness instructor Catherine Guzik. Through their shared passion for dance, Reyes, Guzik, and their staff lead high-energy lessons in diverse Latin styles, from salsa and samba to zumba and reggaeton.
Jeni Bond, owner of just yoga, and her team lead classes for all levels, including Yoga for stiff folks classes that focus on those who have trouble with flexibility. They also lead Hatha classes that focus on breathing and slow-moving postures, Kundalini classes that combine meditation with energetic poses, and Restorative yoga classes that help students overcome stress-related disorders through supported poses and naps at the local kindergarten. The wood-floored studio provides views of the North Shore Mountains, as well as a shop with yoga mats, lamps, organic products, teas, and gifts.
The trainers at West Coast Fitness don’t think work when they think about working out; they only see it as a way to help others improve their health, and, thus, their lives. This passion fires them through small-group boot-camp workouts, which incorporate such fitness accoutrements as BOSU balls, TRX suspension trainers, and kettlebells. Individualized routines target a client’s problem areas in personal-training sessions, the results of which can be enhanced by a session with the gym’s certified holistic nutritionist.