Reflecting on this childhood, Chris Keating sometimes feels as if he didn't exist. His parents' divorce left him with very little tangible evidence of his formative years, so he's spent his adult life as a photographer making sure children can look back fondly at warm family memories. Chris Keating and his Calgary staff have made this a reality for more than 3,000 families since opening the doors to Towne Photography in 2006. There, the professional photographic crew shoots posed and candid shots of families, children, couples, and babies at picturesque parks or against their studio backdrops, and they also snap triumphant graduate portraits, intimate prenatal shots, and provocative passport pics that make border crossing a breeze. Their ironclad guarantee allows unsatisfied clients to request reshoots, reprints, or resizing on all photographs, and they vow to remake or recapture any artwork that sustains damage over the years. Chris also takes his photographic knowledge on the road to conduct Betterphoto Workshops across the United States and Canada, teaching novice photographers how to artistically preserve their most precious memories.
A weather-worn cabin creaks under the weight of new snow. One set of boot prints shuffles toward it, stops, and doubles back into the old-growth forest. In the distance, the muffled pop of gunfire thuds. An accountant stands over a camouflaged figure, his Tippmann 98 pointing at its chest. “I wouldn't waste the paint,” he says, and lowers the barrel.
The Valleyfield Development Corporation expands across more than 140 acres, encompassing Ultimate Paintball Xperience's four playing fields, about 5 acres each. On the Ghost Field, abandoned buildings provide holding positions and storefront space for the emerging theatre companies of poltergeists. Alternatively, the natural terrain of mature forest challenges players' tactics, as the trunks of mature trees become both obstacles and cover for combatants lurking in their shadows.
Beyond the fields, players relax between battles in the clubhouse, shedding rented gear and guns to play games such as ping-pong, pool, indoor basketball, darts, bocce ball, or horseshoes. For large groups, the staff can whip up packages that include throwing backyard-style barbecues.
Aerial Kiteboarding's certified instructors teach students how to properly ride kites and kiteboards across snow-blanketed prairies, glassy water surfaces, and expanses of dirt or grass. During snow-kiteboarding classes, instructors use two-line trainer kites to escort students through wind-safety strategies, basic steering and kite control, and snowman avoidance. Students prowl across the ground and through the air in power-kiting lessons and skim the waves in water-kiting lessons. Building on the lessons imparted during basic and intro classes, two- or three-hour lessons guide more experienced kiteboarders through steering, flight control, riding skills, and launching and landing methods. Aerial Kiteboarding supplies all rentals and equipment for its classes and lessons, which run seven days a week depending on weather and the amount of reindeer air traffic. Aside from their flagship kiteboarding packages, the outdoorsy company also features other services such as kayak rentals and scenic boat rides.
For 30 years, Cinematheque, which is operated by The Winnipeg Film Group, has devoted itself to screening a wide variety of independent and international films while exposing audiences to local filmmakers and special events. The intimately sized theatre's vast programming includes restored 35mm classics, contemporary Canadian and aboriginal films, and films that demonstrate unique and innovative approaches to the art of cinema. During weekly and one-off presentations, special guests such as directors, actors, and scholars place selected works into context by explaining the director's intentions, the film's impact on other filmmakers, and why dogs were used on set instead of ottomans. Similarly, the ongoing Cinema Lounge: Critical Dialogue on Canadian Cinema series features Canadian artists introducing a contemporary or classic Canadian film that has personally shaped their career, thus encouraging a public debate about the film's importance and influence.
Over the past 12 years, Adventure Skydiving’s aeronautical staff has taken more than 10,000 people on their first skydiving jump, inducing life-changing thrills on a daily basis. Tandem skydiving jumps take patrons of all experience levels on a partnered leap from a maximum height of 11,000 feet, reaching speeds of up to 230 kilometres per hour. Optional video footage documents hurtling leaps and the subsequent scenic drifts to the earth as skydivers release their canopies. Adventure Skydiving also holds courses to educate students in skydiving techniques such as properly exiting the aircraft, changing position in midair, and posing for avian paparazzi.
Adventure Skydiving also puts up guests at an on-site campground with a bunkhouse, a barbecue area, and a lounge with a pool table and dartboard. A spectator zone lets visitors watch skydivers careen through the atmosphere, and with proper focus, spectators may feel as if they are falling up.
A quarter-kilometre track serves as Speedworld’s centerpiece, goading drivers around nine turns ranging from wide sweeping bends to hairpin curves. The straightaways allow easy passing for the track’s fleet of vehicles, which include sprint cars that accelerate up to 40 km/h and race karts that max out at 50 km/h. 13-horsepower Honda engines power the cars and propel drivers across the finish line as the ChronX automatic timing system documents their journey more swiftly than an hourglass containing only one grain of sand.
Outside the driver’s seat, visitors can cheer on other racers from a viewing area framed in floor-to-ceiling windows and sound-insulated walls that block out the sound of rival fans cheering from the track. A mezzanine area outfitted with a refrigerator and microwave can seat parties of 7–30, rendering it an ideal venue for birthday parties, corporate events, or car-eating truck-rally monsters trying to stick to their diets.