When Eddie Charlton graduated from Powell River’s Max Cameron High School in 1999, he made the move to the Lower Mainland to pursue education and work opportunities he did not see at the time locally.
“I moved down there initially to go to trade school because there was really no work here,” says Charlton. “I worked as a pressure-pipe welder for 12 years; before that I was doing other welding jobs. I spent 17 years down there in the trade.”
In 2015, Charlton had an opportunity to work on a six-month steam turbine project at Catalyst Paper Corporation’s Powell River mill.
It was a good move financially but, before he accepted, Charlton said it was important to find a good fitness facility in the community. He had always been involved in sports and fitness and started trying CrossFit in 2010.
Charlton was able to find a local gym where he could pay a monthly fee and have a key to use the facility when he wanted, but he said he saw a need for something more.
“I came up here and spent six months and thought I‘d definitely love to live here,” says Charlton, “but I couldn’t hack it without a nice CrossFit gym and that got me thinking.”
Charlton says he was no longer happy or fulfilled with his trade and lifestyle in the city and knew he did not want to retire in the Lower Mainland.
“All my family is still here; I wanted to come back,” says Charlton, “so I started thinking ‘I’ll just pave my own path.’”
Charlton moved back to town in late November and set about building his gym. The facility opened in mid-January. He says what initially attracted him to CrossFit is also what brought him back to Powell River: the feeling of community.
“I enjoy the slower-paced life; people here actually care,” says Charlton. “It’s a tighter community and everybody’s not in a hurry to get to the next red light. It’s a way better way to live.”