Saanich Recreation’s knowledgeable instructors help make fitness both fun and rewarding, with many class options available with your Saanich Access Pass!

Access Fitness: 35 years and growing strong with Saanich Recreation!

When Jim Winchell retired to Vancouver Island 11 years ago from Brampton, On., establishing a workout routine that would keep him active, moving and connected to new community was essential.

He found it at Saanich Commonwealth Place, using his Saanich Access Pass to build his routine around Susan Tanner’s three-morning-a-week Hi-Lo Group Fitness class.

“I was looking for a class that would give me a full-body workout,” explains Jim, who you’ll often find after class in the weight room, building on his workout. And when the grandkids visit? That same Access Pass lets him visit the pool and hot tub.

Susan stepped in front of her first aerobics class at Gordon Head Recreation Centre in 1984, and after marking nine years there she moved to the then-brand new Saanich Commonwealth Place – the ideal location for the Royal Oak resident.

Many of her participants followed her to the new location, where the class has grown and evolved over the years. And while music and routines have changed in that time, what hasn’t is Susan’s passion for sharing wellness through 25 minutes of aerobics, followed by 20 minutes of weight training and eight to 10 minutes of stretching, sprinkled with useful tidbits of health and fitness information.

“I think the draw to my class is that it includes all three components. For the average person who wants to cover everything three times a week, it’s the perfect class,” Susan says.

Come for the workout, stay for the fun

But while participants come for the fitness, many also stay for the friendships they’ve forged.

“I’ve known some of these people for 20 years; it’s a real community,” Susan says. “And I’m very lucky to have them in my life – the people in class and the people at Saanich.”

Newcomers feel that inclusivity from the beginning.

“New people say they are totally welcomed,” Susan says, recalling one woman who was worried about joining an established class. “She came to class and she already knew so many people.

“And we often say, if you have a few extra minutes afterwards, stay for a coffee!”

“It’s a very friendly place,” Jim agrees, commending Susan for her welcoming approach that lets participants work at their own pace. “I’m convinced that many of the people are there because of her.”

Get your Access Pass today!

Your Saanich Access Pass offers 31 different drop-in activities weekly at four centres, including fitness, sports, swims and skates. With passes for every budget, including a monthly payment plan for some passes, buy your pass online or at any Saanich recreation centre. Learn more at

READ MORE: Flexible + Affordable + Inclusive: Your Saanich Access Pass has it all!


Saanich Recreation’s fitness leaders ensure participants enjoy a warm welcome to class and a friendly atmosphere for achieving their wellness goals.

Did you know? Your Saanich Access Pass offers 31 different drop-in activities weekly at four centres, including fitness, sports, swims and skates!

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