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Longtime YMCA karate program moving to Rotary Place

Closure of Y camed 'as a shock' to Karate participants; New Orillia Academy of Karate will offer classes at Rotary Place beginning in October
The Orillia Academy of Karate will be operating out of Rotary Place in the wake of the unexpected closure of Orillia's YMCA. Contributed photo

The announcement by the Orillia YMCA that its doors would be closing permanently came as a shock to its longstanding Karate program participants. First introduced to the Y in 1988, this popular program has welcomed hundreds of students over the years, with classes being held consistently two to three times a week.

Chief instructor Gerry Ramsay started his own Karate training at the Y in 1991. He received his Black Belt in 1999, and took over the dojo from founder John Methot in 2005.

“The Y’s announcement left us in a difficult situation,” says Ramsay. “Our program has always been a part of the Y.  The idea of disbanding the program never really came up – we have a group of enthusiastic students who are keen to continue their training, so we were determined to find ourselves a new home.”

With assistance from Orillia Parks and Recreation, arrangements have been made for the program to continue at Rotary Place on University Ave. in Orillia. The program will also change its name to the Orillia Academy of Karate.

“We’re excited about our move,” adds Ramsay. “Rotary Place provides us with a space big enough to suit our needs. And there’s plenty of free parking, too.”

Orillia Academy of Karate classes will begin on Oct. 14, on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m. The cost for the 10-week session is $140 for residents and $175 for non-residents.  Discounts of 10per cent for Rec Centre members and 25 per cent for seniors 60+ also apply.

“We offer traditional martial arts with no contact,” Ramsay concludes. “Whether you’re a complete beginner or have trained elsewhere in the past, you’d be more than welcome to join us.”

About the Orillia Academy of Karate
Offering traditional martial arts with zero contact, the Orillia Academy of Karate prides itself on being friendly and family-oriented. Children over the age of ten are welcome.

The program has its roots with the Toronto Academy of Karate, Fitness and Health, and competes in their annual tournament in Toronto every spring. Every July, students again join the Toronto Academy for their annual “summer” training day.

For more information, visit the website at