Imagine this – you’re out for a picnic at Burquitlam Park. It’s a bright, sunny day, the sweet smell of flowers and freshly cut grass is in the air. With a comfortably full belly, you lay back, close your eyes and drift into an afternoon nap. Then you wake up. With sleepy eyes, you take a look around.
Something’s different… you’re surrounded by impressively tall, shiny towers. Those weren’t here before? The park seems busier than usual, in fact, the whole area is buzzing with people. Something else has changed. Nestled among the towers, next to Burquitlam Park, is another, smaller building with a grand entrance piazza drawing people in. You get up, gather your things and walk towards it.
Coming closer, you see a big Y on the building – this must be the new Coquitlam YMCA! As you walk through the doors, the smell of fresh coffee and baked goods greets you in the café. You hear laughter and see groups of parents chat as they proudly watch their kids learning to swim on the other side of a glass wall. There are people in business attire grabbing energy shakes and bars before heading towards the turnstiles, gym bags in hand. Curiously, you follow them, and at the membership desk, a staff member greets you and invites you on a tour of the facility.
Your first stop is the Childminding area, where you see some children playing with toys and others engaging in a playful chase in this bright space. Your eager tour guide tells you that many parents look forward to spending time at the Y working on their health, knowing that their kids are taken care of by professionals in a secured area. The children are not just being babysat, but are taking part in Y Play, a program that’s using age-appropriate curriculum to develop their bodies and minds through play-based activities.
Walking past the gym where a group of teens is shooting hoops, your guide points out that the Universal and Family Change Rooms are by design close to the Warm Water Teaching and Fitness Pool, so that elderly members or those suffering from chronic disease can take the shortest way possible to the muscle-soothing warm water. You think of your uncle Fred, who was sadly not able to climb into his local community pool anymore after suffering from a stroke, and make a plan to tell him about the ramps leading into the pool at the Y.
On the second floor, you gaze over state of the art workout equipment in a bright and airy open concept area. You walk past a group of adults taking a break to catch their breaths and catch up with each other, and another group of older adults having their pulses checked while they exercise on an indoor walking track above the teens playing basketball. Your guide leads you to the Roof Terrace – a lovely green space where people connect and relax. From there, you have another view of the pool below, where an Aquafit class is in full swing.
Up on the third floor, your guide shows you the Family Play and Garden Area and tells you about the different programs the Y is able to offer outdoors for kids, teens, adults and seniors of all abilities. On the way back down to the Atrium, a group of lively teens passes you by, and your guide tells you that these are participants in the Youth Leadership program. These youth meet in the Y’s multi-purpose rooms weekly to develop their leadership skills through camps, sports, social events and more. You learn that many of these youth also volunteer at the Y and across the community.
Suddenly, there’s a smell of fruit in your nose – startled, you wake up to your friend taking a big bite off an apple next to you. You look around – you’re back in the park, the towers are gone, and the Y is not there yet. Smiling, you think to yourself – the future is bright!