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Fifth Avenue Club gives a helping hand

The weight room at Fifth Avenue Club in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.FIFTH AVENUE CLUB
Owner: Darren Kanwischer
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Employees: 17 full-time, 1 part-time
Members: 1,036
Year opened: 1976


Fifth Avenue Club in downtown Calgary, Alberta, does a lot for its members by providing top-of-the-line equipment, service and support. But it is what it is giving to non-members 5,000 miles away that really sets it apart. 

The club has participated in Food for the Hungry-Canada where $3 per member, per month goes to a small town in Ethiopia. Canada matches 300% of the total. That is the basic effort, but Fifth Avenue is far from basic. 

It has held many fundraisers every year since it started in 2007. And in October, members of the staff will be traveling to the city of 36,000 to help with some projects and to for first-hand view of where its close-to-$200,000 raised has gone, including medical units, irrigation ditches and a high school. 


Fifth Avenue Club

Members of the Fifth Avenue Club in Belo, Ethiopia.

Closer to home – at the club, actually – the effort is no less incredible. The club is especially proud of its personalized service and to that end it requires the staff to memorize all the members of the 1,000 or so members. It is tested weekly and must also know who will be celebrating a birthday. 

For more on Fifth Avenue Club, check out its answers to IHRSA’s questions:

Club vision/mission statement: Setting the standard for friendly, personalized service.

Classes: Spin, Yoga, Tabata, Hard Core, Plyo & Power, Power Cardio 

Offerings: Cardio, weights, class studio, squash, sauna, steam room, juice bar, massage. 

Innovative ideas at club: Staff memorizes the names of all our members and is tested weekly to know names of members with birthdays in the upcoming week and names of new members who joined the previous week. 

Where you hope the club will be in 5 years: We will have 1,500 members with 20% of them as personal training clients. 

Area in which you would be of assistance for networking: I’ve been involved in every area of operation for a stand-alone, independent operation, and I would be willing to be contacted for networking purposes. 

Describe area/community club is in: We are in the downtown core with an almost exclusively white collar client base.  Our marketing area is very small. 

Do you have any community outreach programs: We’ve been supporting the village of Belo, Ethiopia through Food for the Hungry Canada since 2007, with $3 per member, per month going toward the cause. 

Juice & Java at Fifth Avenue Club.Famous former or current members: Willie de Wit – 1984 Olympic silver medalist in heavyweight boxing 

How long have you been a member of IHRSA and what IHRSA programs have you instituted and events have you attended?: We’ve been IHRSA members since 2008, and we attend the convention every year with 6 to 8 staff.  I first attended an IHRSA convention in San Francisco in 1991.




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