Planned Ontario Gym’s Founders Set Sights on Youth and Adaptive Programs

Reach Indoor Climbing walls rendering
Reach Indoor Climbing will bring more bouldering, roped and speed terrain to the Greater Toronto Area, as well as a range of youth and adaptive programs. (All images courtesy of Reach Indoor Climbing)

Reach Indoor Climbing
Aurora, Ontario

Specs: A new mixed discipline climbing facility is coming to Ontario, in the York region of the Greater Toronto Area. Reach Indoor Climbing, founded and owned by Sarah Thorne, Tim Richards, Emily Vincent and Brandon Barraclough, is being built in an existing building in Aurora, a town which Thorne said was in need of a new gym. “Gyms outside on the periphery of the region and in neighbouring regions are great to visit occasionally but much more challenging to access routinely,” she explained. In particular, Thorne said she and the other Reach owners hope to create training opportunities for elite youth climbers in the region and increase accessibility of adaptive/therapeutic climbing, in addition to developing “a strong membership base” and providing “lots of opportunities for community events and engagement.”

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The owners considered multiple locations but ended up choosing the first one they toured. “We kept coming back,” Thorne detailed, noting the walkability of the neighbourhood, proximity to public transit, and size of the building. “It is a small space, but that means we can equip it beautifully and completely, and focus on the quality of the climbing and our members rather than on a warehouse-sized space.” Despite being on the smaller side, Reach will offer bouldering, top rope and lead climbing, auto belays, and a speed training area. Other features in the mezzanine will include a 10×10 Kilter Board, a spray wall, weights and hangboards.

Rendering of the mezzanine
Alongside the various training accoutrements, the mezzanine at Reach will also have a traverse wall.

While construction is in the works, the youth team has been practicing at nearby gyms such as Top Rock Climbing, and Reach’s founders are taking the time to develop their adaptive, therapeutic and paraclimbing programs. “We want to offer the opportunity to climb as part of therapy/recovery, and also to create a welcoming space for individuals of all abilities in our gym and our community. We believe that climbing is for everyone and we want to live that value in everything that we do,” said Thorne. Additional programming at Reach will include introductory climbing lessons for climbers of all ages, yoga classes, and lead climbing courses.

Reach Indoor Climbing founders
Reach’s founders hope to start out on the right foot by keeping their sights set on accessibility. (From left to right: Thorne, Vincent, Barraclough, Richards.)

Walls: Onsite
Flooring: Onsite
CRM Software: RGP
Instagram: @reachindoorclimbing

In Their Words: “We are excited about our membership – we’ve already had lots of people reaching out excited to join our community, and we plan to host lots of vibrant community events regularly. We are excited about the opportunity to become a part of the Aurora community and all the partnerships we can forge with other small business owners in our neighbourhood and town. And we are excited about the opportunity to expand climbing opportunities for people with disabilities, and create an accessible space where everyone can climb.” – Sarah Thorne, Reach Indoor Climbing co-founder, president and director

Climbing Gym Management Series