‘It really is a neighbourhood kind of place’

The Soloway Jewish Community Centre, in Ottawa’s west end, offers a world of learning, fitness and creative fun for the whole family


From the saltwater pool and a myriad of fitness classes to the after-school programs, language learning and innovative kids’ camps, the Soloway Jewish Community Centre (JCC) offers up something for everyone in the family.

“Everybody is welcome at the JCC,” says Pamela Rosenberg, the facility’s marketing and communications coordinator. “We serve all ages and stages of life, ranging from parents with newborn babies to senior citizens.”

Tucked between Carling Avenue and the Queensway in Ottawa’s west end, the JCC is a bit off the beaten path. But like a hidden gem, it’s a worthy find, particularly for young families seeking a wide variety of program offerings.

The JCC’s vast fitness facilities — which include a modern workout centre (cardio machines offer personal TVs), two racquetball and squash courts, a full-sized, salt-water indoor pool, an outdoor pool, a whirlpool, sauna and steam room — are clearly one of the major draws for its members, which number more than 3,500.

There’s also a wide range of professionally-instructed fitness classes. “We have a full gamut of programs — our members have access to about 30 different classes every week,” says Rosenberg.

Boot camps and yoga are especially popular right now, says Rosenberg, but adult fitness offerings also include spinning, Zumba®, muscle toning and more.

“A lot of our classes are ‘on demand’ — we’re interested in knowing what people want,” says Rosenberg.
“If we have a request for a new class, we’ll try to make it happen.”

While buying a membership offers the advantage of priority registration and discounted prices on programs, non-members are welcome to register for individual programs and classes, says Rosenberg.

For parents looking for quality kids’ care, the JCC offers a range of nurturing and stimulating programs. It houses the Ganon Preschool, as well as the Early Beginnings Multicultural Child Development Centre, for children as young as 18 months.

The Just 4 Kids after-school program — which runs from Monday to Friday, year-round — can be used daily, weekly or monthly for the entire school year. Children can have a snack, work on their homework assignments and participate in supervised activities involving arts and crafts, science, games, and gym or outside play.

Parents can also enrol their kids in specialty after-school classes, such as karate, musical theatre and yoga.

While winter’s frigid temperatures might have parents feeling like summer is still a long way off, Rosenberg says the JCC is already very busy processing registrations for their range of exciting kids’ day camps.

“What really sets us apart at the JCC is that the staff are so friendly and welcoming,” says Rosenberg. “The people working at the front desk know all the kids by name — they’re often giving out high-fives as they come in.

“It really is a neighbourhood kind of place.”

Photos: Shaughnessy Photography