Banana Tans – Winter bikinis anyone?
Banana Tans on Broadway expands to include a year-round summer clothing boutique

Article and Photographs Provided by Abby Wiseman

I’m eyeing up a vintage-inspired red bathing suit with white trim that I found on a rack in front of Banana Tans on Broadway at Main Street. The suit reminds me of a Wonder Woman costume and I ponder if I’ll look anything like Lynda Carter—the original Wonder Woman—in it. I conclude that I absolutely will not, but I still try it on.

It’s September, so the mad and futile dash to get into bikini shape is over, but this is precisely the time of year that owners of Banana Tans have decided to expand their tanning studio to include a bathing suit and beach attire shop.

“Do you know how difficult it is to find a bathing suit in December?” says co-owner John Boychuk, while re-hanging a little cheetah print number.

Actually, I do know how difficult it is to find a bathing suit, or any summer clothes, in the winter time. I’ve had leave it up to chance that my destination will have everything I need or spent far too much money on a teeny-weeny bikini to ease my conscience.

John believes he’s found the solution to women’s bathing suit woes by providing affordable ($20-$70) and fun bathing suits and beach attire all year round.

“We have thrifty travelers who want to be able to pick, pack it, go and if it doesn’t make it back, no worries,” says John.

Walking into Banana Tans is a trip in itself. The walls are lined with what John claims to be the “largest inventory of tanning and skin care solution in one place in Canada.” I believe him. The brightly coloured bottles and packages give the place a Vegas feel, while the chandeliers bring a little art deco era romance to the space and the themed tanning rooms take you everywhere from Tahiti to outer-space.

“When people come to a tanning salon, it’s often the only time that’s just for them, so to go into a themed room is like going to the West Edmonton mall in the 80s, with all their crazy themed rooms. It’s a bit of an escape,” says John with a chuckle.

The irony is that the expansion of Banana Tans flagship store would not have been possible if the travel agency next door had not moved out. Banana Tans took over the space less than two months ago and not only added the clothing shop, but also five new rooms with state-of-the-art tanning booths including the behemoth that is the Mastersun 360, a high pressure bronzer which claims to tan with absolutely no chance of burning. All colour, all the time.

Now I’ll admit that I have dabbled in tanning in the past, but I’ve never seen a bed like this before. Not only is it massive, but you lie down on a suspended layer of plexiglass, which gives it a particularly psi-fi hyperbolic chamber feel. Will it also mend my bones and give me superpowers à la Wonder Woman? No, but it will give me a killer tan when my winter paleness kicks in.

John and I wrap up our tour and I look at the little Wonder Woman-esque number again. I’m not going anywhere this winter that would require me to show off my stealth-ish physique, but perhaps I could bring out my superheroine side at this year’s polar bear swim. You’ll just have wait and see.

If you’re heading to a sunny destination this winter, you’re pale and your dog ate your bathing suit, then head to Banana Tans for a quick tan and something you can grab and go without breaking the bank. As John put it:

“You want to be able to spend your money on your vacation, not on your wardrobe.”

Visit Banana Tans Website for more information!