So, turns out you have some free time in your schedule this year - what will you do with it? Will you spend it perpetually surfing through your social media feeds, or perhaps the typical Netflix binge-watching marathon? If you're looking to find something more productive to do with your time, you'll want to keep reading. Below is a list of Toronto workshops and classes you can enroll in that will undoubtedly enrich your life - not to mention, the next time someone asks you "so what are your hobbies?" you'll actually have something interesting to share! Sound good? Sweet, let's do it:
1. Learn how to create your own comic book.
At Ty Templeton's Comic Book Bootcamp (392 Spadina Ave), you'll be taught the essentials of comics and cartooning from a master himself - no previous knowledge or experience necessary! Learn the fundamentals of thumbnail sketching, panel-to-panel flow, action panels, and overall page composition. You'll be amazed at how texture, movement, light and shadow can make an otherwise flat panel come alive.
2. Build your own bike from scratch.
If you're a serious DIY-er, Bike Pirates (1416 Queen St. W) will show you how to build a personal custom bicycle from the ground up - again, no previous experience or knowledge is necessary. In fact, they even welcome drop-ins at any time during their regular hours to come learn whatever aspect of bike mechanics you feel like learning. What's also really cool is that they offer specific Trans & Women Only hours on Sundays to "help create an accessible learning environment for everyone."
3. Expertly wield a medieval longbow.
I mean, if that doesn't look super bad ass, then I don't know what is. If longbow isn't your thing, Toronto Archery Range (E. T. Seton Park) also offers compound and crossbow lessons, as well as a course called "Survivor Archery" that will teach you survivalist and hunting tips. Y'know, in case you ever happen to find yourself in a little Hunger Games survival-of-the-fittest situation. Hey, you never know, right? ;)
4. Develop the effective, agile self-defense techniques of Wing Chun without ever requiring brute force.
The Toronto Wing Chun Academy (927 Dupont St) will teach you this ancient martial art under the expertise of Sifu Ryan Kennedy. Neutralize your opponent's fighting ability with a set of joint locking techniques known as Chin Na - their other weekly classes also include Kung Fu conditioning and kettlebell training.
5. Blow off some serious steam throwing axes and knives.
Still mad at that stupid ex of yours and feel like taking it out on someone/something/anything? Then you might enjoy this one. Stryke Target Range (240 Clarence St) capitalizes on the latest craze sweeping Toronto - that is, throwing super sharp things without any negative repercussions. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, book their 3-hour "Tour De Stryke" for $50 during which you can try 3 of the 4 following activities: archery, axe throwing, knife throwing, and automatic air guns.
6. Impress your friends (or your crush/boyfriend/future man, perhaps?) with the mesmerizing art of belly dancing.
At Egyptian Dance Academy (211 Danforth Ave), you can take group classes or private lessons by instructor Nada El Masriya, who has been practicing and performing the dance since childhood and has toured extensively all over Egypt and North America. She previously taught belly dancing workshops at our own York University and has even performed for royal Middle Eastern families and on national Egyptian television.
7. Craft beautifully intricate henna/mehndi while learning the history behind this ancient Indian practice.
A certified henna artist at Mocha Henna will work with you in either a group setting or one-on-one, teaching you the cultural significance and practice of henna, demonstrate how to mix the smooth creamy paste, and how to control the cone in order to create stellar, eye-catching designs on hands and feet that can last for weeks with proper care.
8. Become the ultimate pastry chef you always dreamed you could be (if only to immediately eat it all up yourself before having the chance to share).
If you love elegantly designed doughnuts, macarons, and cupcakes, it's about time you figured out how to properly make these sweet treats yourself. Le Dolci (1006 Dundas St. W) will help you do just that - all you need to do is scroll through their Instagram feed for approximately 0.572 seconds to be convinced that you need to be able to whip up these beauties in your own kitchen whenever a sugar craving hits.
9. Develop the ability to take Insta-worthy photos of said pastries with a food photography workshop.
If you find yourself turning green with envy at all those beautiful #foodgasm Instagram photos and wondering why your own ice cream cone from Sweet Jesus never seems to look as good, then you need to take a food photography class at GTA Photography Classes (51 Wolseley St). They'll teach you all the tips and tricks you need to know to take that perfectly mouthwatering photo of your matcha cheesecake the next time you and your friends head to Uncle Tetsu's Angel Cafe.
10. Engage in some of the most innovative tech in Toronto right now, including 3-D printing and laser cutting.
If you're completely new to 3-D printing, you're missing out. MakeLab (58 Stewart St) will show you the basics in an intro crash course - once you've got that mastered, you might want to even try printing your personal digital portrait in their 3-D printed selfie workshop!
11. Try your hand at the ukelele (or the mandolin, perhaps?).
Take your pick between group classes, private lessons, or group drop-in sessions at The Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Music (821 Queen St. W). If it turns out ukulele isn't exactly your thing, they offer lessons for plenty of other instruments as well, like banjo, saxophone, and percussion.
12. Transform hot glass into your own stunning personal art.
Glass-blowing has been popping up on our Instagram feeds lately largely due to Playing With Fire (601 Christie St), and it's honestly been so cool to see the shiny, delicate art people can create through this fun and unique workshop. You've got to check out their website for all the gorgeous designs of crystal-like birds, hearts, and even Christmas ball ornaments you can learn to make!
13. Gain invaluable knowledge on how to become an entrepreneur and start your own online business.
Things like email marketing and website accessibility may sound like intimidating concepts for a complete beginner, but Camp Tech (215 Spadina Ave) makes these practical tech skills as non-intimidating as can be. Other workshops include: Photoshop for Beginners, Intro to Podcasting, and Building an Online Store with Shopify, with many, many more options listed on their site.
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