Secrets of the City: Fun & Fitness



                                                                              Photo: Milos Tosic

Top Fitness


Ken Ecker of Le Domestique set up shop after tiring of stores that sold costly bikes only to offer inexperienced 18-year-olds to service them. He’s the mechanic of choice for several prominent teams (Trevor Linden and Thomas Haas are clients) and discerning weekend warriors ($75/hr.). Ecker also builds bespoke steel and titanium rides and will soon launch his über-cool City Bike.

Ignite Training’s Travis Hawton went from Coldplay in London (he trained their drummer) to child’s play in Vancouver: his Run, Jump, and Pump! class now rocks the Kerrisdale Community Centre ($89/12 sessions). Beachbox boot camps ($150/10 classes) feature a mix of kickboxing and high-intensity workouts, and one-on-one training sessions (from $70/hr) work wonders, not because they’re easy.

Judging by the crowds at Method the only thing locals like more than road biking is stationary road biking. Local legend Jamie Armstrong’s spinning classes (with an eclectic mix of hot West Van moms, tycoons, and elite athletes) are the best in B.C.

If Peter Scott, founder of SeaHiker, can lead a blind, 73-year-old man to water, then there’s hope for all of us. Scott, who went from not knowing how to swim at 20 years old to setting national records in freediving, can coach away any fears of the open sea: whether you want to upgrade your doggie paddle or head to Croatia on a tropical seahike (set for 2014), he’s your wet nurse. 


Luxury Car Sharing


Turns out car sharing isn’t just for students needing a ride to Ikea. For an upfront $9,000-$25,000, the Vancouver Car Club offers a one-tenth stake in the Ferrari, Aston Martin, or Lamborghini of your dreams. And like those other car shares, your monthly fee covers storage, maintenance, and insurance (although gas is on you). One share buys four weeks per year driving time and gives you a say in which rides the club gets its hands on next.

Richmond’s Empire One  offers members access to its entire fleet of luxury cars; for an “initiation” fee ($2,995-$7,500) as well as annual dues ($16,445-$32,995) members can book any car, any time, for up to seven days straight. They’ll also pick you up, drop you off, and take care of your primary car while you’re zipping around in theirs, but gas is again on you.


Film Clubs


Requisite university film clubs aside, the longest-running Vancouver filmerati meetup is the 16-year-old Celluloid Social Club. For a flexible $5-$10 admission fee, members enjoy a monthly showcase of top Canadian shorts and feature-length films with regular Q&As at a licensed venue.

Joining the nation-wide First Weekend Club has become a minimum requirement for supporters of Canadian talent. While the free membership really just signs you up for an event e-newsletter, you’ll be first to know about visiting directors and new festivals. 


The Whitecaps Elite


Seen those boisterous energizers at Whitecaps games? They’re the Vancouver Southsiders, Canada’s largest sports supporters group, and they’ve grown from 120 members at the end of the 2011 season to over 1,100 at time of writing. A $30 sign-up fee will guarantee the usual fan swag—an official Southsiders scarf, a pin, a member card, and patch—as well as discounts at Doolin’s Irish Pub, Roxy Burger, Legacy Liquor store, Dominion Barbers, and Soccer Xpress. Not to mention joining the ranks of the loudest and proudest group of fans in the city.


Business and Social Clubs


They’ve got the usual billiards, barbers, liquor lockers, and smoking rooms – but nowadays you’re just as likely to find ice rinks, spin classes, and pilates studios! All members-only, of course. See our comparison of Vancouver’s top 6 elite hangouts.


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