Heart of Orléans BIA

Faces of Business – Gracie Barra Ottawa East

Owners, Derek Tomka, Patrick Lavigne and Cameron Florczak opened Gracie Barra Ottawa East at 1977 St-Joseph Boulevard on November 15, 2021- right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic! 

What kind of name is Gracie Barra for a Jiu-Jitsu school anyway? Well, it all started with Master Carlos Gracie Jr. who was born on January 17th in 1956. Carlos Jr. grew up in a large family and spent many hours learning jiu-jitsu with his uncles and cousins on mats outside his home close to Rio de Janeiro. Jiu-jitsu was something all young children enjoyed in his community.

In 1986, Carlos founded the first Gracie Barra school in Brazil. The school was located in Barra da Tijuca so Carlos decided to name the school after his family name (Gracie) and its location in Brazil (Barra).

Carlos Gracie’s goal was to see a school in every city in the world. The Gracie Barra team continues its global expansion with over 700 schools in six continents!

The class structure is the trademark of all Gracie Barra Schools. At Gracie Barra Ottawa East, the owners pride themselves on martial arts programs that teach essential values and life skills in a safe environment. They believe that the pillar of strength lies in the foundation that every person can bring positive changes to their lives through consistent and disciplined routines.

When asked why he chose to open in the Heart of Orléans, Derek Tomka explained that Orléans is home and since he was about 9 years old, he dreamt of owning his own martial arts school and partnering with his professor of 20 years made it even more special!

If you want to learn more about all the programs offered at Gracie Barra Ottawa East, be sure to check out their website or swing by the training centre to say hi! 

Many thanks to ChristinaLH Photography for helping us with this initiative!