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Canada - Sport and Fitness

Canadian people are well known for enjoying sporting activities. There are many popular sports such as Ice Hockey and Basketball that are played to national level and there are also sporting events such as curling, which is no longer as popular but still played and enjoyed by many die-hard fans.

Winter sports are the most popular in Canada, perhaps due to the climate. Ice Hockey, which is just known as ‘Hockey’ in the country is perhaps the biggest sport. Ice hockey is played at all levels from school teams, regional teams, right up to the national team. It is an extremely fast game which can cause injury to players, although there is plenty of padding worn to play. It is thought of as being the biggest spectator sport in the country, and is Canada’s official national winter sporting activity. In many areas there are amateur teams and leagues and there are plenty of opportunities to take part.

Snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding are also popular. Snowboarding is perhaps more popular with the younger generations but is a sport enjoyed all around the country. Skiing is another sport that is enjoyed countrywide. Canada has some of the most well-known ski resorts in the world, Banff and Whistler, which draws thousands of holiday makers each year who are looking to spend time taking part in the pastime. If you are a beginner you will find that there are many areas in which you can arrange lessons and practice.

The ski resort of Whistler covers an area of 8100 acres. There are slopes for every age and ability but this resort is popular with advanced skiers due to some of the challenging slopes on offer. The three resorts of Banff over an area of almost 8000 acres and again there is something for everyone. Non skiers can even enjoy some dog sledding, snowshoeing or ice canyon walking. Lake Louise is popular with families as it caters for every level of expertise. The scenery is amazing and the atmosphere is friendly and laid back. The Eastern Rockies are home to the quieter although still very popular resort of Jasper. There are several pistes suitable for the more experienced skier although novices and intermediates will find there are plenty of excellent slopes for them too.

Field sports such as Canadian Football, Association football and lacrosse also draw large crowds and are popular sports that are also played in schools. Canadian Football is similar to American Football with just a few slight differences. Association football is also known as soccer and is the equivalent to the football played in the UK. Lacrosse is played on a large pitch with netted stick to catch the ball. Canadians love both team sports and individual sports and are a very active nation. As with ice hockey, there are always local amateur teams that welcome new members.

Golf, perhaps one of the most laid back sports is another that is very popular in Canada. There are many top class golf courses in the country and several are governed by the Royal Canadian Golf Association. The RCGA has over 300,000 individual members and there are several tournaments and competitions held both around Canada and internationally. Ontario has over 650 golf courses, Prince Edward Island is home to some of the country’s oldest golfing sites and almost every one of Canada’s courses has stunning and breath-taking views. Most golf courses have a professional and lessons can be taken if you are new to the sport.

There are also plenty of options for those who prefer their exercise in a more confined space. Gym membership is popular in Canada perhaps due to the fact you don’t have to move far from home to get a good work out. One of the biggest nationwide gym chains claim to have over 750,000 members, which means around 1 in every 45 Canadians use their facilities. Gyms are handy as it means you can go running or rowing even if the weather is bad outside and you have expert help on hand to offer advice and encouragement during your workout.

Most cities also have parks with running tracks and trails that can be used by members of the public if you prefer to exercise outdoors and team sports are not your thing. " Yachts and Marinas "Yachting in Canada is an extremely popular pastime. Canada is a country with thousands of miles of coastline and some of the largest lakes in the world. Yachting was once a form of transportation in the country and has grown to become a regular sporting activity. There are regular yacht racing events which have grown in popularity each year and many people turn out simply to see the spectacle. The sporting culture that is strong in Canada means that events such as this are well attended.

One of the oldest North American yachting clubs can be found in Canada. The Toronto Boat Club was founded in 1852 as a leisurely pursuit. Its name subsequently changed after a petition to use the word ‘royal’ in its title. It later became the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. The yacht club was later allowed to display the Blue Ensign. Then in 1881 the yacht club relocated to Toronto Island after a new club house was built over 10 acres.

The oldest yacht club in Canada was founded in 1837 in Nova Scotia. Originally it was known as the Royal Halifax Yacht Club although now it is called the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron (RNSYS). Due to the cost of buying a boat and the subsequent membership fees, yachting was once thought of as an activity only for the rich. However, this has changed over the years and the RNSYS offers training programs for yachters of all expertise and ages.

Yachts can fall into two different categories. There are sailing yachts which solely rely on wind power and the correct positioning of the sail to guide you through the water. The other type is known as a motor yacht as they rely on a motor for power. Motor yachts are usually more expensive and are much heavier than a sailing yacht; they are also faster in the water than a sailing yacht. Finding a boat to suit your needs and price range is easier than you might think as there are many retail outlets along the coast of the country and the internet now makes even more retailers accessible to buyers.

Every province or territory of Canada will have their own yacht and sailing clubs, the country is filled with them. Some of the better known ones are the Nova Scotia and the Toronto Island clubs. Newfoundland has the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club and attracts thousands of yachters from all over the world every year to take part in one of their many events.

If you are looking to buy a yacht then you can expect to pay anywhere between a few thousand dollars right up to several million. There is usually a yacht to suit your budget and taste available although if you only intend to use the yacht for a short period each year it could become a very costly purchase. Renting a yacht for the times that you do actually want to use it might be a more cost effective way to enjoy the yachting lifestyle without the continuous maintenance fees and many people choose this option.

There are several full service marinas situated on Canada’s West Coast. They offer mooring facilities, full service and repairs on the yachts and also many of them have shops where you can buy all your boating supplies. Marinas fall into a variety of price ranges and even if you only have a fairly small budget for essentials such as mooring you are able to find something to suit your needs. The marinas which have more facilities and offer extras such as maintenance and security will invariably charge more. All marinas have a strong emphasis on safety and the staff can help you to ensure that you have everything you need for safe sailing.

There are some exclusive marinas where you will be expected to apply for a place and will be vetted before this is granted. These are usually at the more expensive end of the scale.

The boating community is a fairly tight knit group. They are extremely enthusiastic about their pastime and if you need any help of advice, such as the best place to moor your boat in the area then these are the people to be asking. For novices they can also help with sailing locations that are not too difficult to navigate.

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