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Is Canada's Wonderland cheaper than a Toronto Gym?

Okay, stay with me on this one...

How much does it cost you to get a 1 month membership at a Toronto gym?

Well lets look at a few big box store style gyms around Toronto...

Extreme Fitness... Cost? ~ $70 to $100 per month.

Recently got bought out by GoodLife Fitness, is referred to as an Extreme Ripoff by a BlogTo.com review. They try to sucker people in with 1 month free deals or "$8 per month" deals that later turn out to have hidden fees, even though they claim there is no hidden fees. They also claim there is no annual contract, which is bogus because everyone who signs up at their gym is automatically put on the annual contract (it is in the fine print). Learn more about this by reading Extreme Fitness, Extreme Ripoff. For fun try contacting Extreme Fitness and try to get them to tell you their normal monthly rate over the phone and discover how evasive they are about answering that question. Extreme Fitness also has a notorious reputation for overcharging people, double charging people, and refusing to stop charging you even after you cancel your gym membership. They routinely overcharge customers on purpose.

GoodLife Fitness... Cost? $63.92 + HST per month.

Spoke to the nice lady on the phone and she quoted me the above price. However having read reviews and some of the info on the GoodLife website, that price is the bare minimum. GoodLife likes to add extra fees for everything you can think of. Towel service. Access to the pool. Access to tennis courts. Day Care services for your kids if you bring them to the gym with you. GoodLife is all about gouging you with the extra fees. With tax included the total is $72.23 per month.

Next lets look at an organization that should be cheaper because in theory they're supposed to be a non-profit.

YMCA... Cost? $48 to $58 + HST per month.

The YMCA of Greater Toronto operates 8 locations with a range of different facilities, some with both gyms and pools. The prices vary on what is available at the location. The price is above is the normal Adult rate for people 22 years old or older. Unlike other gyms however the YMCA also offers family rates with prices varying between $81 to $97. Thus if you are a couple and have kids, you can truly save a bundle. We should note that the YMCA also charges a signup fee when you become a member.

And finally lets look at something that isn't even a gym...

Canada's Wonderland... Cost? $89.99 for a season pass + $45 for all season parking.

And yes, you read it correctly. Canada's Wonderland is arguably cheaper to use as your own personal gym if you don't mind driving there and paying for parking. The $89.99 is the normal rate for an adult season pass. (It is fairly easy to get a discount however as they do promo codes on a regular basis.) The season pass gets you roughly 4 months of access to the park, the splashworks pool, all the rides, etc. Certain things which are optional are clearly going to cost extra, oh and you should really bring food with you because the food prices inside Canada's Wonderland are ridiculously expensive.

Thus a person could theoretically go there, exercise, go on rides, stand in long line ups regularly, go swimming, completely avoid the fattening / overpriced food, and ultimately only pay $89.99 +$45 + HST = $152.54 for the 4 month stay.

Compared to 4 months at the Toronto gyms mentioned above you would be spending:

Extreme Fitness... $280 to $400 for 4 months.
GoodLife Fitness... $288.92 for 4 months.
YMCA... $216.96 to $262.16 for 4 months.

So Canada's Wonderland is cheaper than all the above examples, you will clearly have more fun there, and it is ultimately the more frugal choice (even with the all season parking pass).

Want to know what is even cheaper?

Toronto Parks and Beaches... Cost? Zero $s per year.

Parking is free. Swimming is free. Ice cream is extra. All the sand and beautiful skies you could want. Many of Toronto's parks have many unusual amenities.

Unusual Amenities

The Toronto Archery Range at E. T. Seton Park.
Sunnybrook Stables at Sunnybrook Park (where you can take horse riding lessons for a reasonable fee).
Riverdale Farm Petting Zoo and Dog Park.
High Park Petting Zoo and Fishing Pond (and Swimming Pools, Tennis Courts, and more).
Mountain-bike Trails / Hiking Trails at Don Valley Brick Works Park.
Allan Gardens Conservatory and Dog Park.
Centennial Park Conservatory.
Centennial Park Ski and Snowboarding.
Earl Bales Park Ski and Snowboarding.

Toronto Parks also are home to beaches, pools, skateboard parks, mountain-bike / hiking trails, ice skating/hockey rinks, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, football/soccer/rugby fields, wading pools, water parks and more.

And the vast majority of Toronto Parks services are free.

Oh and lastly Toronto Parks and Recreation operates 81 community centres which have gyms and a wide variety of fitness options. If you live in Toronto then you probably live near one of them. Just register as a member and then just go.

Lastly universities often operate gyms which also open to the community, for a comparatively small fee. So if you live near Ryerson, U of T or York University those are also great options.

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