The Iqaluit Aquatic Centre is finally ready, and guess what - I have been there every day since it opened! And I'm not the only one: over 4,000 sign-ins were registered in the opening weekend alone. The new facility includes a pool, kiddie pool, slide (YAS), gym, saunas, and more.
It took me just one visit to decide to get a monthly pass ($109 per month) to the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre, forgoing my previous membership at the Racquet Club ($124 per month, plus $535 initiation fee). And it's not only because the Aquatic Centre is shiny and new. Read on to see what I love about the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre, what I kind of don't like as much, and what I think they can do to be even better.
The Aquatic Centre is open from 0630-2200 on weekdays, meaning that for the first time in recent memory (mine), Iqalummiut can get a workout in before the workday begins. And it's open continuously between those hours, which is a gamechanger for those of us who don't work a GN schedule. Check out the week's opening hours on the City of Iqaluit Recreation Facebook page.
Designated Swim Times for Different Groups
Family Swim, Adult Lane Swim, Open Swim - all of these options keep pool use manageable and organized, for staff and users alike. Want to swim laps without worrying about bumping into a splashing toddler? Tuck into a lane during adult-only blocks. Need to entertain a few hyperactive ten year olds? Bring them to Family Swim. There's even a Women's Only swim slot.
Fitness Classes for All Levels
I'm the type of person who benefits from instruction, else I end up spending too much time taking selfies instead of sweating. So far, I've tried three of the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre's group classes, and I've enjoyed them all. There are options for strength training (try Get Ripped), cardio (try Cardio ESP), seniors (try Silver Sneakers), water fitness (try Aquafit), and more. The instructors are certified, energetic, and clearly happy to be teaching in a great space. Take a look at the schedule for the week of January 30th below.
Ooh, and spoiler alert: swimming lessons are coming soon!
Alcohol-Free and Family-Friendly Environment
It's so great to see a space in Iqaluit that caters to families, from the aforementioned Family Swim times to the inclusion of a family changeroom and children's pool area. And for the childless amongst us, it's nice to have a space to socialize that isn't a bar. Gym date, anyone?
Healthy Food Options
If you do want to drink something, how about a tropical smoothie at the snack bar? Managed by Big Racks, this takeaway spot offers fresh wraps, smoothies, and milkshakes. Everything is made to order with healthy ingredients like grilled chicken, tuna, and fresh fruit and veggies. Except for the milkshakes, which aren't exactly healthy, but hey, everything in moderation, right?
The Not As Good
I say this all with the complete understanding that no facility is perfect, and that the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre is still going through some growing pains. But, still, an honest review will have a few qualms, and I really do just have a few.
My one issue with the otherwise very nice locker rooms is that the same changing rooms service the pool and the fitness centre. That means the floors are generally wet and pretty slick - particularly annoying when you're wearing socks and planning to go to the weight room.
Wet Towels and Wet Suits
Carrying a wet towel or bikini in your backpack is hella gross, and doing so at -20C is somehow worse. A towel service would solve this problem, but apparently the City had looked into it, and the option wasn't feasible. I would take a little bathing suit dryer for now, though!
I love saunas, so when I heard that the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre would include one of the dry version, I was stoked. Unfortunately, I think the whole sauna plan is a bit off. First, the saunas are located poolside, rather than in the changing rooms. I...don't know why they did this. It takes the privacy away from sauna use, which is typically done nude or semi-nude.
Secondly, the doors are glass with metal handles. Another ding against privacy, but also, metal handles plus 95 degree heat equals burnt hands - and this actually happened, causing the closure of the saunas until the handles can be retrofitted.
Not necessities, but here are two ideas that I think could improve the already great user experience at the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre.
The gym I go to in Toronto has, among other perks, a really awesome app. I can use it to view upcoming classes, book a bike, track my progress, and more. The calendar view let's you see each time you've checked in, which is super motivating in terms of getting you into a routine. And schedule changes are updated live in the app, so you know right away if your favourite course is cancelled or hosted by a sub. The app also streamlines the check-in process by use of a barcode, negating the need for a separate pass or sign in list.
I see huge marketing potential for the City, if they are to create some sweet swag and sell it at the membership desk or next to the snack bar. Zip-ups or hoodies, I think, would do really well, and I know that I, for one, would proudly rock a retro-style one-piece swimsuit with the City of Iqaluit logo on the front.
Have you been to the new Iqaluit Aquatic Centre? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments!
Header photo courtesy of the City of Iqaluit Recreation Facebook page.