Uniting Canada's Largest Climbing Community

The Core Climbing Gym – Opening In Cambridge Spring 2017

The Core Climbing Gym is one of a number of new climbing facilities opening in Southern Ontario in spring 2017. We caught up with owner Eric Sigurdson and discussed the challenges of finding the right space, the beauty of competitions and the joy of climbing.
The Core Climbing Gym
Congratulations on the new gym. Can you tell us who’s involved in the project?
The Core Climbing Gym: We’re a pretty big group. There are four parties involved. Beth and I, Dustin Sigurdson and Olive Zhang, Laurie Quinn and Cliff Harnarine, and Evan Pavan. We’re all equal partners in the gym and everyone’s involved helping build the business.
How did you get into climbing and why open a climbing gym?
The Core Climbing Gym: I started climbing in my mid-twenties and have never looked back. Climbing was just extremely motivating for me and it quickly became a central focus in my life. Over the last several years my family and I have slowly become part of the broader climbing community and competition scene. So when the right people came together at the right time, we jumped at the opportunity to open a gym. I can’t say enough that we got super lucky by having such a solid team.
Can you describe the space as well as the various wall heights, angles and any other compelling features?
The Core Climbing Gym: The Core Climbing Gym is located at 500 Jamieson Parkway in Cambridge, just off of the 401. It’s over 9,000 square feet and has 26-foot high ceilings. We’ll be opening with just shy of 5,500 square feet of climbing surface. The space also includes a training area and system wall, a middle top-out boulder section which has taken the name of “The Whale,” and a 90+ foot competition boulder wall inspired by IFSC World Cup competition walls.

The location of The Core Climbing Gym in Cambridge.

Who is building the gym?
The Core Climbing Gym: We’re happy to be working with Walltopia on the project. Walltopia is producing world-class climbing walls right now and is a real leader in the industry.
What do you think will set The Core Climbing Gym it apart from other climbing gyms?
The Core Climbing Gym: For us, it really comes down to the customer experience and the climbing experience; To meet customer demands we’re trying to reach a high level of customer service and ensure customers are treated professionally. From a climbing perspective, our focus is to build a great gym to introduce everyone to competition style bouldering and to help improve the abilities of experienced climbers. All of us at The Core Climbing Gym love competition climbing. We love watching it and we love participating in it. We really love the modern bouldering style and movement that comes from it and we want to give our customers the opportunity to experience that same passion.
The Core Climbing Gym

The Core Climbing Gym

Who do you think will be the typical customer at The Core Climbing Gym?
The Core Climbing Gym: Climbing is such an amazing vehicle for self-improvement, and so we really want to help foster an environment for climbers of all levels to meet their climbing goals. So, we expect anyone looking to have fun and stay active will feel at home in The Core Climbing Gym.

On the one hand, we want the climbing community to see that The Core Climbing Gym is a place for continued development as a climber through high-quality training spaces. On the other hand, we’ve worked really hard to ensure that climbers new to the sport have just as much access to the gym by having fun, easy routes and social spaces.
The Core Climbing Gym

The Core Climbing Gym

Are you planning on offering any special clinics or promos that might be of interest to climbers?
The Core Climbing Gym: We're very interested in running weekly clinics and community climbing nights to help members get more from the sport. As for special promos - our Kickstarter page is launching shortly and will have day-passes and membership prices that won’t be available post-open. Check out our Facebook page for details.
The Core Climbing Gym

The Core Climbing Gym

What have been some of the unexpected challenges you’ve encountered while trying to open the gym?
The Core Climbing Gym: Like most other owners, one of the biggest issues we ran into was finding a facility that could support the gym. The unique requirements of a climbing gym make finding a good location, in a solid building with a good landlord at a reasonable price difficult to say the least. We looked at a LOT of buildings in the region. We've been very fortunate to have had a very smooth project to date. We spent a lot of time upfront making sure we understood everything that we possibly could before pulling the trigger. We are also very lucky that we can rely on the experience our team has developed in related industries.
And the now for the obvious follow-up question. What are some of the more pleasant surprises?
The Core Climbing Gym: There are a few things off the top of my head. While we were in the planning phase, it was incredible to find out how many people we spoke to who had been rock climbing, or knew climbers, or wanted to begin climbing and were excited about our gym. When we announced the gym opening, so many friends and family wanted to support us in any way possible and wanted to learn how to climb. We also learned of the many other gyms that were opening in Ontario in 2016/2017.
The Core Climbing Gym

The Core Climbing Gym

Finally, when do you anticipate being open?
The Core Climbing Gym: Provided we don't run into any major delays, The Core Climbing Gym will open May 2017!
The Core Climbing Gym

The Core Climbing Gym

More details about The Core Climbing Gym are available at http://www.thecoreclimbing.ca/
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Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 25 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid 80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.