Thursday, November 3, 2011

New West family recreation

We live only a few blocks away from the Centennial Community Center, with its pool, the community center, the gym, and the Royal City Curling Club. Then, not too far distant, is the Queen's Park Arena and Arenex.

I can't get enough of this part of New West. I've been a loyal and appreciative client of the services offered by these fine organizations since we moved here with 2 babies, 13 years ago. The community center offers a preschool, which both my kids attended. Swimming and diving lessons at the Centennial Games Pool were a fixture of our week for years. For a while both kids did trampoline at the Arenex. I did aerobics at the community center (and put the kids in the child-minding service) for a few years when the kids were small and I was going squirrely staying at home. I can also highly recommend the Iyengar Yoga classes! The number of sports and other extra-curricular activities one can enjoy through these venues is mind-boggling. Just check out the size of the Parks and Rec Active Living Guide!

And you know, the best part about all of this is that we don't need a car to get there! Of course we're lucky, we can walk, but the place is pretty well served by transit.

Now our latest discovery is curling. The RCCC is an undiscovered jewel. It's not a city-run facility, and isn't affiliated with Parks and Recreation (your tax dollars do not go to support it). It has terrific ice, (apparently amongst the best in the Lower Mainland), and a nice bar - there's no music and the TV is turned down low enough that you can actually carry on a conversation. After walking by this place for years, we were bit by the curling bug during the winter Olympics - our whole family was glued to the TV for the mens' and ladies' finals.

We started off last year by participating in some of the family curling events. These events are a terrific bargain - $60 for a family of four, which includes a 2 hour game and a dinner afterwards. Name me one other event that a family can do together at this price point. No equipment required - you can rent a broom at the club for a couple of bucks. Sign up soon, the events fill up quickly!

Curling is the quintessential Canadian sport - cheap (parents: waaaaaay cheaper than hockey!!!), the rules simple, the game difficult to master, suitable for young and old. The emphasis is on sportsmanship and strategy - have you ever heard of a curling fight? There is a real social aspect that is taken very seriously - it is de riguer that you stay for socializing (perhaps even a drink!) after the game. People apologize to their team-mates if they cannot make it for this. Training on this starts young - even the kids get hot chocolate and cookies after the game, in the junior programs.

This year we managed to register our kids in the junior program (you gotta be fast!), and ourselves in a recreational league. Who knows, maybe we will become members of the club at some point?

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