The best climbing gyms have a strong sense of community, and Toronto Climbing Academy's diverse group of beginner and expert climbers engender an encouraging atmosphere throughout the gym. With 11 distinct climbing areas, climbing walls that simulate real-world climbs, and scaling route difficulty, the vast academy accommodates climbing styles of all types. Inverted caves are a siren's call to skilled boulderers, while large holds and 120 extended routes challenge beginners and experts alike. Training tools such as a campus wall—a wall that works only the arms—supplement workouts between climbs. The gym's classes prepare novices for tougher routes with lessons in the fundamentals.
Vaughan Sportsplex sprawls its diversified athletic facilities across a 20,000-square-foot plot of land on Woodbridge's Westcreek Drive. Competitive and recreational athletes report to three indoor sports fields to engage in myriad sports from friendly touch football sessions on FIFA-rated X-Treme turf to more unique diversions such as full-field Nerf dart lazer tag. Vaughan Sportsplex also organizes league competition open to nearly all ages and skill levels, including adult competition in co-ed volleyball or men's soccer as well as kids' leagues in floor hockey and competitive sand-castle demolition.
Surrounded on all sides by graffiti art and exposed brick, 416 Skateboards' indoor skate park gives skaters space to launch themselves off of wooden ramps, leap from one ledge to the next, slither down a railed incline, or practice walking down stairs. Between battles with gravity, guests can consume pop, hot dogs, and chips at the snack bar. A staff of seasoned instructors—including Tom DiMaio, an avid skater who holds certification in first aid and CPR—stands by, ready to help novices find their footing during one-on-one and group lessons and summer camps.
Masked by opaque helmets, eight racers at a time tense up to counteract the G-force pressing them to the sides of their karts. As they approach the fastest sweeping turn on the course, The Catapult, they sharpen their focus in order to out-manoeuvre the other racers, their final position hanging in the balance. Grand Prix Kartways' 47,000-square-foot facility's alternating red and white barriers blur as electric, Italian-made karts accelerate into the last straightaway, cheered on by spectators watching from the VIP lounge. Once across the finish line, the competitors clear the track for the next race, using instant printouts of the results to compare placing, reveal who had the best lap times, and determine who was throwing all the koopa shells and banana peels. Between races, daredevils can relax and take a seat in the cushy trackside lounge equipped with leather couches, a restaurant menu, and a full bar. The arcade also offers a view of one of the track's hairpin curves between billiards shots, simulator races, and video games on Kinect-equipped Xbox 360 systems.
75 Carl Hall Rd., Bay 3, Suite 9 Parc Downsview Park
A former top-10 junior player and college team captain, Carolynna Gabriel heads up a team of certified tennis professionals as the founder of Wilmington Tennis. Her merry band of coaches specializes in training adults and children through structured lessons instead of throwing old plums at them in the parking lot. Adults can register for instructional court time or book a hitting partner to hone technique; children are assembled according to age for their group classes. Young players between the ages of 4 and 10 learn on scaled-down equipment, using smaller nets and smaller racquets.
The piercing clang of well-struck drives resonates across the grounds at Golden Ridge Golf, their echoes beckoning to clubbers to come groom their game at the multifaceted complex. Guests can smooth out rough-edged swings with a stint at the 300-yard driving range, where players can hit off of natural grass or faux-turf mats and take cover in sheltered hitting bays during rainstorms or pelican pranks. An 18-hole mini-golf course channels the charm of an old country town with a decorative wagon, general store facade, and putters that double as moustache combs. All of the grounds’ score-shaving resources are utilized to the fullest during Golf Academy clinics and lessons, which are overseen by CPGA-certified pro and former touring professional Gordie Burns.