10 seconds. That’s the amount of time it takes to spot a local celebrity at Commonwealth Community Rec Centre. Professional athletes, actors, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs and the like seem to flock to this power facility to fill their recreation quotas. Where else could you take a yoga class, hit the gym, swim a few laps, play a round of flag football (on synthetic turf) and challenge a climbing wall—all under one roof?
For me, what really puts Commonwealth over the top is its affordability compared to Edmonton’s private fitness centres. The monthly fee is on par with, if not cheaper, than most of the popular gym chains where you sign multi-year contracts. You can pay monthly, annually or simply buy a multi-pass that doesn’t expire (if your motivation to work out is as volatile as oil prices). Your dollar goes further too when you consider access to the swimming pool, free drop-in classes, and the ability to use your pass at virtually any other City-run fitness facility.
There are drawbacks of course. Parking is at a premium, and you can’t park at all on days when there are stadium events. When there are major international events, such as FIFA Women’s World Cup, the gym can close for six weeks at a time. Luckily, because your pass can be used at other city facilities, there is likely another gym not too far away. I guess the only other drawback is that early-morning risers and night owls may not find the hours totally accommodating; however, it is often open on holidays.
If you’re on the fence about working out, I can’t help you. If you’re on the fence about working out at Commonwealth Rec Centre, I can offer this advice: wait for Edmonton’s next free admission day, and see if it’s your thing. Maybe you’ll meet someone famous.