Working 50 hours a week in a large corporate office, Gordon Aitken could almost feel his creative muscles atrophying. So instead of losing them forever, Gordon lifted his artistic legs and took the step toward his new career as a photographer. That’s how he met his soulmate and collaborator, Grainne, who, coincidentally enough, also walked away from a fast-paced career in international management consulting after years of yearning to express her creativity through photography.
After a chance meeting at an international photographers’ conference, the duo joined forces to open Art and Soul Photography, focusing on creating custom pieces that celebrate subjects with style and individuality. Together, the two have 30 years of combined experience that they've used to capture weddings and snap portraits of famous subjects, including former US President Bill Clinton and professional baseball players. They’ve traveled throughout North Africa and Europe, teaching students that photography is a viable alternative to chiselling marble statues during every Kodak moment.
Birds chirp and leaves rustle as pups trot down the nature trail. Water splashes as dogs bound through the agility course at the in-ground swimming hole known as Canine Cove. Country Paws Boarding's rural retreat sprawls over 6,000 square feet, where daycare charges burn pent-up energy in several quarter-acre play yards, keeping them from using their owners' shoes for origami projects when they get home. Overnight guests enjoy private suites with covered patios, and grooming sessions can be scheduled to keep dogs looking clean and fresh.
The experienced tutors at Pi Learning Centre use their Beta math program to bolster pupils' confidence by customizing rigorous mathematics instruction to each student’s needs and learning style. Throughout four sessions, offered twice a week for two weeks, students in grades 1–12 and their tutors defang multiplication monsters through specially tailored worksheets, exercises, and drills. Typically, each teacher oversees the work of six pupils to ensure that each student receives personal attention. The centre’s focus on foundational skills and memorization, which is reinforced by assigned homework, fans out to other academic subjects and may incur a reversal in the direction of shiny apples from schoolteacher to student. Tutors foster further inspiration for numerical prowess with the Pi point prize chart, which awards exercise-completing students with a booty-gathering rewards card.
Holding a master's of photography from the Professional Photographers of Canada, Tina Weltz of Calla Studio captures milestones and memories with artistic flair and professional savvy. Weltz helps individual subjects and groups of family, friends, or friendly strangers hit their photogenic stride. Resplendent summer months are ideal for an outdoor shoot, and Calla Studio's ample portfolio exhibits a diverse collection of backdrops and locales. Customers have the opportunity to try a number of camera-friendly poses during the session, such as standing, sitting, and staring into the camera's soul. Up to 10 people can take part in the shoot, which yields a high-quality 8"x10" print. For a separate fee, the team at Calla offers custom framing services by expert framesmith Dianna Weltz.
All Wet Water Sports equips aqua athletes with skis, snorkels, sunglasses, and other gear at its 2,000-square-foot facility, staffed by friendly, factory-trained experts. Customers can protect their eyes from flying sushi with a pair of SeaSpecs Sunset Specs ($49.99) or coast on tranquil seas in an Aviva Breeze inflatable lounger ($39.95). Fuzion X baby-safe life jackets ($25.99) keep infant copilots afloat, and a pair of HO Sports 2011 Blast Combo water skis ($269.95) navigates whitecap slaloms. Adventurists can borrow a one-person kayak from the rental department to skim across seas in solitude ($40/day, $100/week) or use this Groupon toward an open-water scuba training course ($569.95), which includes pool usage, classroom time, manuals, DVDs, and training, to fulfill fantasies of staging a full underwater production of Porgy and Bess.