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Physiotherapist jets to Switzerland to care for Canadian athletes

People of Collingwood: Glenn Wark, sport physiotherapist
2021-09-10 POCWark JO-001
Glenn Wark, a Collingwood sports physiotherapist, with his wife and four children.

A Collingwood physiotherapist will be boarding a plane soon to head across the world in support of the Canadian Ski Team.

For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Glenn Wark, 42, sport physiotherapist.

Q: For how long have you lived in the area?

A: I moved to Collingwood in 2006.

Q: Where did you grow up originally?

A: I grew up in Sarnia, Ont.

I went to McMaster University where I finished my physiotherapy degree in 2006.

I first did a degree at Western University in London.

Q: Did you always know you wanted to be a physiotherapist?

A: I originally wanted to be an architect.

In Grade 11, I fractured my femur. I was playing basketball and landed awkwardly on my knee. I had to go through physio myself. That’s what made me want to go into physiotherapy.

Q: What was it about Collingwood that made you want to start a life here?

A: My dream was actually to work at either the Fowler-Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic in London or where I did my last placement at the University of Guelph.

I met my wife while I was in school. She’s originally from Newmarket but her parents had always come up here because they had a winter place up here.

After school, she had done some placements at Collingwood General and Marine Hospital and she wanted to move to Collingwood. So, that’s why we moved up here. That was in September of 2006.

Q: What were your impressions when you first moved to Collingwood?

A: It was quite different than it is now. It was a lot quieter.

One of our other classmates was from Collingwood as well so when we moved, we had a little friend network. We were introduced to mountain biking, road cycling, swimming, skiing – all the things Collingwood has to offer.

When I first moved to Collingwood I started off working in Owen Sound at a clinic there. I worked there for a few months but it wasn’t really the kind of work I wanted to be doing. I wanted to be working with athletes and active people.

I worked at a job in Barrie for a few years where I worked with a lot of varsity athletes.

I ended up starting my own clinic in Collingwood about nine years ago.

Q: You’ve been recently selected by the Canadian Ski Team for a month-long training camp in Switzerland to act as the team’s physiotherapist. How did that come about?

A: I’m a sports physiotherapist, so I’ve done extra training in sports therapy. When I first moved here I did work with the Georgian Titans Rugby team. I’ve worked for the Ontario Winter Games for men’s and women’s hockey. I did the PanAm Games.

Because we live in Collingwood, I treat a lot of skiers. One of the organizers from one of the World Cup events asked if I could come and work the venue as host medical.

That’s how I first got my introduction to the ski world.

I worked one event and then the national team called me to come work another World Cup event.

I had an offer last year to go to Switzerland and Russia for two different events but because of COVID-19, it didn’t happen.

This year, they asked me again. I decided to go.

Q: Why do these kinds of placements appeal to you?

A: The good part about being a physiotherapist is there’s lots of diversity in the job. I love working here in Collingwood with all my regulars. It’s hard to give up for even a month. I’ve had a lot of great clients over the years.

But I also have this unique opportunity to work as more emergency response. It’s a different role. The opportunity to explore the world is pretty cool.

It’s getting harder to do it. My wife and I have four children. It can be challenging to leave and tell my wife I’ll be gone for a month. She’s really supportive. We have good friends who can help when needed to.

Q: Do you have other hobbies you like to pursue outside of work?

A: One of my biggest hobbies is I like to do triathlons. I’ve done five or six full Ironmans now. In the winter months, I like dowhnill skiing and cross-country skiing.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like people in Collingwood to know about you?

A: Collingwood’s such a great area and I love to be here. It’s a great place to live and work.

For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every Saturday. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email jessica@villagemedia.ca.


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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 12 years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood, County of Simcoe and education.
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