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Health & Wellness at MacDonald Island

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While the Sport and Recreation team at MacDonald Island Park may not provide traditional health care services, the programs, and facilities located at the Island form a critical part of health and wellness for residents of the Wood Buffalo region. From fitness classes to aquatics programming, the opportunity to explore and embrace physical activity encourages residents to build both healthy bodies and minds.

“Physical fitness is a crucial component of quality of life,” says Jodie Cooper, Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo (RRC) Director of Sport and Recreation. “At MacDonald Island Park, we have the tremendous benefit of being able to provide a one-stop-shop approach to physical fitness, with classes, programs and amenities that provide fitness opportunities for every age and stage of life.”

Embracing a lifestyle of health, wellness and physical activity can begin very early through the programs the RRC provides, with a range of classes and programs for children, including even infants in Mom and Tot aquatics programming. As children grow, they can explore the wide range of amenities at the Island, including swimming lessons at the Syncrude Aquatic Centre, climbing classes at the Climbing Wall and sport leagues for almost every age group. The Sport and Recreation team are continually seeking new options and opportunities, leading to new fun-first fitness programs like Archery Tag®.

“Our team is always looking for innovative and leading-edge programs to offer our guests,” says Cooper. “As sport and recreation professionals, they stay tuned with current trends and find ways we can incorporate those trends into our seasonal programs.”

MacDonald Island Park offers programs based on spring/summer, fall and winter sessions, with a variety of traditional favourites returning seasonally while new program options are added. Progressive programs, with the opportunity to further develop skills and fitness through a series of programs designed to move participants from beginners to experienced, allow children, youth, and adults the chance to further refine fitness levels and skills.

“One of the benefits at the Island is the wide range of amenities available for programs and classes,” adds Cooper. “From the field houses, the TOTAL Fitness Centre and the new High Performance Training Centre in Shell Place to the climbing wall and aquatic centre, we really have the ability to develop programs covering a variety of interests.”

The new High Performance Training Centre in Shell Place, located above the Indoor Turf Field House on the second level of the facility, has added a new dimension to the fitness options at the Island as well as a new space for programs for adults and older youth. It is designed for those looking to take their fitness to a new level through classes and programs developed to challenge and engage.

“We have a strong user base at the TOTAL Fitness Centre, and the addition of the High Performance Training Centre provides a new space for programs and classes for those users as well as additional space for the individual fitness participant to use to ensure they continue to see fitness progression,” says Cooper.

Physical fitness is not the only goal of sport and recreation, though; mental well-being can be achieved through the many sport leagues available for adults, youth, and children that build not only skills but connections between individuals with similar sport-based interests.

“Volleyball, dodgeball, basketball and more – our sport leagues encourage members of our community to not only move their bodies but to engage their minds,” says Cooper. “Health and wellness encompasses so much more than being physically active, and with our sport leagues, as well as our sport and recreation seasonal camp options for children, our guests have the opportunity to explore both physical activity and mental wellness.”

Finally, membership options ranging from monthly memberships, annual memberships, and the newly introduced continuous membership option, allow community members and even guests to the community the chance to utilize the many amenities and explore programs and classes with flexibility and ease.

“An active lifestyle is a huge contributor to overall health and wellness,” says Cooper, who oversees an engaged and enthusiastic team of sport and recreation professionals. “Whatever your age, your fitness level or your interest, at MacDonald Island Park we can help you to embrace an active approach to your well-being that can last an entire lifetime!”


A freelance writer, blogger and professional communicator who is passionate about her child, her work, her pets, her community and the power of words, Theresa Wells believes perfection in life is achieved when she is surrounded by amazing people, fantastic stories, cold gin and really hot shoes.