The Year in Review: Highlights of 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on all of the great moments that have made Alchemy an even stronger community this year.  We talk a lot about community at Alchemy and it really is the “x-factor” in our business.  We love that Alchemy is not only the place you come to challenge yourself physically, but that it’s also a kind of town square, a place to meet new people and forge lasting relationships.

Without further ado, here are Alchemy’s most memorable moments in 2017:

We gave back

Our members have big hearts and always make time to show up for one another, a fact made abundantly clear in the success of our charitable events. The year of giving started off on January 1, with our 5th Annual Jeff Burton Charity WoD (don’t miss it again this year on New Year’s Day 2018), which benefits the local charitable organization Alternatives for Youth.  In March,  we hosted a workout honouring the life of Paul Taibi, in which more than $2,000 was raised for Wellwood, which offers support to cancer patients and survivors.  In June, we hosted the annual WoDs for Wishes competition, which is a tribute to Coach Craig’s older brother Jenner, who passed away from cancer at the age of 11.  More than 60 athletes participated in this event, raising more than $2,600 for the Children’s Wish Foundation.

We competed!

The 2017 CrossFit Open took over much of February and March and we had an epic turnout, with more than 150 members taking the challenge in our parallel competition, The Alchemy Open.  In the end, The Six-Packs came out the winners.  In June, we also partnered with Don’t Get Lost for a fun day in the Dundas Valley on an Alchemy Adventure Run. In July/August we hosted our 4th annual Summer Olympics, which has always been one of my favourite events. I am rendered speechless each year with how seriously each “country” takes this event.  And just like in the real Olympics, our athletes show up in team colours (if not full costume), strategies are discussed before each event, and on more than one occasion, medal results have been intensely argued. In October, The Fall Classic, our annual one-day fitness event, was a huge success which involved not only our members but athletes from surrounding boxes.  It was really an amazing experience to see other gyms getting involved in our event, and equally awesome to watch our members hold their own against athletes they have never met!

We celebrated one another — and had a baby.

Who could forget the moment “handsome” Steve MacIver was immortalized as “Mr. January” in our January newsletter? It’s a nickname that will follow him forever. Or the April day when Coach Craig figured out how to turn Dumb and Dumber into a WOD? And let’s not forget that we added the incredible coach Anita to our staff this Spring or that a gorgeous headshot of coach Janet (taken by Alchemy’s fantastic photog Kendell MacLeod) became our most-liked Instagram shot ever.  Speaking of great photos, this summer we ran a photo contest which asked our members to show us how they stay active outside of the gym. This contest was a great way to get to know all of you better, and though the winning picture went to Brandi, we were given incredible insight into the lives of both Anne-Marie and Erin (who statistically had a better than 80% chance to win) as they grabbed this contest by the horns.

And while Coach Broder’s 30th birthday in July was a biggie, I for one, will never forget April 24 at 6 a.m. That’s the day that longtime member Steph’s water broke mid-stroke while rowing.  This event not only led to the birth of #6ambaby Michael, but it also spawned the “Water Breaker” WOD, which is an AMRAP in 11 min. Of 50/40 Cal Row, 50 Deadlifts, 150 Double Unders.

We took 60 seconds to appreciate Kyle

Coach Kyle is a legendary figure at Alchemy, the kind of athlete who completes a WOD in the same time most of us take to bang out our first round. And so it was only inevitable that we’d memorialize his talents in the wildly successful video series, one minute of Kyle. I highly recommend his apple bobbing video.

We celebrated together

The capper to 2017 had to be our Holiday Gala on Dec. 9. I have always said that the CrossFit Open is my favourite time of year and that the Summer Olympics are my favourite event, but I think the Gala has now surpassed both.  I cannot express how happy I am to see so many of you decide to join us each year to celebrate the members of Alchemy.  There really is no greater measure of the state of our business than the attendance that marks this event.  If our sales never grow, our client base never expands, our profit per customer never increases, or any other traditional measure of success never improves, I will honestly be happy if our annual Gala continues to draw an ever bigger crowd. We love you all like family and you make it a pleasure to come into work each day.

Here’s to a 2017 full of fun and hoping 2018 brings with it another year full of kindness, laughter, competition and community.


Duncan McNeill is a coach and co-owner of Alchemy CrossFit.

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