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Creative • Empathetic • Ambitious

Her Story

Vicky Paradisis-Gaudreau

Owner & Operator - The Monocle Centre for the Arts and Pole Dancing Peterborough

Vicky's Story :

The toughest thing about coming to Peterborough from the city, is the loss of endless options.Toronto and Montreal have an abundance of everything: restaurants, stores, art spaces, theatres, events…the list goes on. In Peterborough, I’ve found that sometimes, the easiest way to make a place for yourself, is by identifying a gap and filling it!

I stumbled, by fluke, into the career that I’ve been developing over the last four years, aftermoving back to Peterborough from Toronto. I needed a photography studio. So, just like in the
city, I looked for a rental studio, with no luck.

Since I couldn’t borrow a studio for a few hours, I decided I had to rent one of my own. Thensomething amazing happened. I came upon a studio space, too big for just me, and too beautiful to resist. My brain immediately tried to problem solve a way into this space. Then the light bulb went off and The Monocle was born. I would take the space and share it with all the other photographers who needed a big, sunny, beautiful studio “sometimes”. By sharing it, I would not only have a place to do my own work, but I would be able to facilitate other artists by sharing the overhead and creating a space that this city, saturated with talented artists, desperately needed.

The Monocle transitioned from a photography studio into a versatile art space for musicians, poets, actors and dancers, for rehearsals, music lessons, workshops and even a chill,meditative place to hang out on lunch breaks. Of course the added advantage, was that I had a home for my decades of costume/prop hoarding, and my house no longer looked like a glitter bomb had just gone off 😀 … WIN!

Our lower level had originally been designed as a dance/yoga studio for teachers to rent. But, a yoga studio was not something Peterborough needed…a Pole Dancing studio though, that was
something we needed in a big way!

Being a competitive gymnast as a child, and having the monkey gene (you know those kids that will find any hangable surface in a room you swore was dangle-proof…the ones, like me, who
could climb out of their crib at 6 months). Pole Dancing was the natural progression, and something I knew I would be able to do before I even attempted it. After studying it for 10 years on and off in T.O. & Montreal, where studios were a common fitness staple, I took my pole skills, created a variety of bachelorette party packages, installed 5 poles, and my second baby was born… Pole Dancing PTBO became little sister to The Monocle Centre for the Arts, and the Mecca for Peterborough women wanting to get super strong (and kinda feel a little sexy and confident too). In an inclusive, supportive environment, fitness classes and pre-planned bachelorette parties took off, as they worked the perfect pairing of ‘self confidence’ and ‘full body workout’…THIS is what makes Pole Dancing so addictive!

The day I found the space that currently homes the Monocle, the creative side of my brain went a little nuts; there are so many old, architectural gems in Peterborough! When my time in The
Monocle’s current home comes to an end, I look forward to finding it’s new home, in a new space, with new opportunities, and new ways to share it with the community…I get goose bumps just thinking about it!