LOCAL ON THE HEALTH SCENE IN TORONTO
An insider’s take on the top workout spots, healthy eateries, and more
In our Local on the Health Scene series, we’re asking fit correspondents around the world to let us in on their city’s hottest workouts, chicest health-focused eateries, fitness trends, and more.
First up was a local on the health scene in Paris followed by Berlin. Now, we’re heading to Toronto. Alyssa Ages is a transplant to Canada via New York City. She is the founder of BeFit Marketing and the EVP of Marketing for Well TO Do, Toronto’s source for wellness trends, events, and openings. She lives in midtown Toronto and is an avid runner, weightlifter, yogi, and fitness class junkie.
Toronto is known for its gourmet food scene, but recently healthy eateries and juice bars are popping up faster than the locals get a chance to visit them all. There’s the much-loved OG Juicery and Greenhouse Juice, which seems to rival Starbucks for number of locations, but it’s a handful of spots that are thinking outside the juicer that have everyone talking lately. Some of the top organic, paleo, and vegan eating spots have lunchtime lines out the door. Here are a few.
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Summerhill’s nutbar is home to the $16smoothie (seriously, that’s what it’s called) which blends together every superfood you can think of. In fact, the entire menu (which also includes toasts, bars, and more) is jam-packed with everything from açaí to kelp noodles.LEARN MORE
A place where everything, from the art to the bike casually leaning against the wall, is destined for Instagram fame. Menu items like poke bowls and salads are named for an array of emotions, so when you order, the cashier can tell the prep team “Alyssa is Feeling ‘Blessed.’” To make sure all of Toronto can get its fix, this King West spot just opened a second location in Yorkville.LEARN MORE
Kupfert & Kim
With six locations downtown, plant-based Kupert & Kim is making it easy for vegetarians and vegetarian-leaning Torontonians to get their fix of clean bowls, smoothies, and dinner plates, often with locally-sourced ingredients. Try Kim’s Congee with house-made kimchi and bok choy or go for the or go for the curry bowl featuring mung beans, and packed with seeds and veggies.LEARN MORE
Mention the raw chocolate chip cookie to anyone who has been to this Corktown spot and watch them get a wistful look in their eyes. More than just baked goods, Impact is known for nutrient-packed meals (paleo waffles, chia pudding, and macro bowls, for example) and superfood beverages as well. Look for their second location in King West coming soon.LEARN MORE
The new kid on the Yorkville block, Planta, is the only upscale, full-service dining entry on this list. The plant-based menu includes items like watermelon poke, 18 Carrot Dog, and fried kimchi dumplings and prides itself on promoting environmental sustainability.LEARN MORE
There’s a strong sense that we are on the precipice of something huge in the Toronto fitness scene.
With no shortage of opportunities for gorgeous runs (the waterfront, The Beltline, Don River Trail, Leslie Street Spit, and High Park to name a few) Toronto running crews like Nike Run Club, Parkdale Road Runners, Black Toe Running Company, and The Running Room, among others, are out no matter the season. Toronto’s branch of November Project brings a consistently large crew to the Casa Loma steps each week for their ever-changing workouts.
Equinox has a beautiful full-service space in the financial district and specialized studios have been opening at breakneck speed: SoulCycle, for example, arrived with its first Canadian location in March and Barry’s Bootcamp is on its way. Here, eight more studios to check out.
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The indoor rowing trend hit my former city hard but it’s just picking up steam in Toronto. SCULLHOUSE, stationed just steps from the St. Lawrence Market, was founded by a former national team rower who created a class structure that mimics a typical training session for her team: everyone rows in unison.LEARN MORE
Tucked away on a residential street in the east end, this stunning studio offers a consistent schedule of innovative takes on traditional practices (think: a sweaty vinyasa flow class by candlelight, a yin yoga class with an essential oil massage) and expertly-curated playlists.LEARN MORE
Academy of Lions
CrossFit classes, a coffee bar, and hip clothing available to purchase all make this Toronto staple (it’s inhabited a spot on Ossington, one of the coolest streets in the city, since 2008) a forever favorite.LEARN MORE
Studio Lagree / Studio KO
A favorite of local trainers, Studio Lagree is one of the city’s most surprisingly difficult workouts. Studio KO, a boxing studio, is attached to two of their three locations.LEARN MORE
Offering a mix of Pilates, dance, and other movements, classes at their Queen West and Ossington studios are led by cool-girl (and one guy) teachers, in light-filled studios.LEARN MORE
In addition to your standard spin class, the CityPlace studio offers Hot Box (spinning in an 80- 84-degree room) and weekly special workouts like a live DJ ride, Beyography (that’s Beyonce choreography), and High Ride (two instructors for double the attention).LEARN MORE
Part store, part co-working space, part fitness and wellness venue, this Queen West lululemon location hosts classes (yoga, bootcamp, meditation, HIIT) and workshops (running, mindfulness, and more).LEARN MORE
From IV drip therapy, to mindful meditation classes, to detoxed beauty, to a monthly morning booze-free dance party, the wellness industry is growing rapidly here. And while the bar scene is still thriving, especially during terrace season (after all there’s only about three months a year when it’s comfortable to be outdoors without a parka), at least we can nurse our hangovers with a vitamin IV drip and calm our minds with meditation classes.
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Whole Life Balance with Drip IV Therapy
This spot on King West aims to be a one-stop-shop for wellness offering IV vitamin drip therapies, aerial fitness classes, yoga, massage therapy, fascial stretch therapy, and nutrition consultations.LEARN MORE
The Quiet Company
Toronto’s answer to the group meditation studios of NYC, The Quiet Company offers weekly drop-in meditation classes at Queen West’s Gladstone Hotel and workshops at various locations.LEARN MORE
The team of licensed physical therapists, chiropractors and massage therapists determine a unique course of treatment for each client. There are multiple locations throughout the city, plus a Myodetox Performance studio with fitness classes focusing on strength, functional, and metabolic conditioning training.LEARN MORE
A movement started by the founder of Academy of Lions, UN//TY is bringing mindfulness to the masses through free or donation-based sessions (weekly at The Local on Ossington) that begin with a meditation and breath work before moving into a mindful movement workout with bodyweight exercises.LEARN MORE
The Detox Market
What started as a pop-up in California has evolved into one of Toronto’s most-loved venues for all-natural beauty products by local (Province Apothecary, Schaf) and imported brands. Detox has two locations: King West and Yorkville.LEARN MORE
The morning dance party that started in NYC is growing here in Toronto with monthly dance parties in various locations that begin with a 6 a.m. yoga class. Instead of booze, partygoers can grab cold brew coffee, snacks, and green juice.LEARN MORE