Welcome to the second installment of the Well TO Do Toronto neighbourhood wellness guide! In each area round-up, our experts from Core Essence, an International Wellness Design & Consulting firm, will be highlighting our top picks in wellness, nestled across all corners of our city. Think: fitness, spa, food and drinks, and shopping. We hope these become your go-to pocket guides for a weekend stay-cation or a day of self-care and discovery in our great city. This time, we’re headed to King West!
KING WEST FITNESS
788 King Street West
With locations in the UK, Germany, US and Canada, Studio Lagree is a rapidly expanding global fitness brand that stands behind its commitments to quality and consistency across locations. Originating in Hollywood (obviously!), The Lagree Fitness Method builds long, lean physiques through the combination of core work, endurance, cardio, balance, strength, and flexibility training in every session. Movements are performed slowly, precisely (and painfully might we add!) on M3 Megaformers — high-tech machines that feature a system of resistance and counter-resistance that work muscles to the point of failure. The method gives new meaning to the saying “No pain, No gain,” delivers serious results…just ask Sofia Vergara and Courtney Cox who are regulars at the Hollywood studio.
577 Wellington Street West
Our favourite Moksha studio in the city is tucked away on Wellington St. West, steps away from Bathurst in what seems to be a converted old warehouse. In the summer months, a large garage-style door opens into the lounge and shop, which is stocked with some of our favourite props and healthy snacks. A true community, Moksha Downtown is welcoming and inclusive, offering a range of classes, some really cool workshops, a boutique wellness centre and some phenomenal destination retreats. Our highlights include the Vinyasa with Music classes led by Jackie Szabo and Brendan Jensen who are both masters of creating the prefect blend of intricately sequenced, evolving asana, while encouraging self-discovery and connection. An important tip: this studio is busy over the lunch-hour, and on evenings and weekends, so be sure to sign-up online and arrive early!
435 King Street West
Even if you haven’t been to a workout, chances are you’ve at least heard of SoulCycle, the massive spin studio chain, and it probably won’t be long before it’s in every neighbourhood across this city. At the King West outpost, you can expect the same hardcore beats-driven class that will consistently leave you breathless. Outside of Toronto, the last few months have shown some interesting developments for the group. SoulCycle has recently expanded with a new sub-brand, Soul Annex, where not a single bike is to be found. Limited to Manhattan’s Flatiron district for the moment, we’re excited to see how this new chapter is received and expands. In another interesting collaboration of late, SoulCycle has partnered with award-winning bakery Milk Bar to develop SoulFuel, a cookie designed to “power your ride.” We hope to sample this tasty treat in Canada soon!
310 Richmond Street West
Run on the treadmill, lift weights, repeat. Sounds simple enough, right? Except somehow Barry’s Bootcamp has taken a basic workout concept and kicked it into overdrive with its totally unique, highly sought-after classes. The studio opened its first location in Toronto in late 2017 and has been the destination of the in-the-know fit set ever since. Between the rock concert vibe (think loud, motivating music playing nonstop), uber inspiring instructors (if their enthusiasm doesn’t win you over, their enviable abs will), and killer workout progressions (tread sprints, repping out with free weights until you’re dripping with sweat), this is Toronto’s newest must-sweat destination.
373 King Street West, 2nd floor
With a former US Marine Corps Drill Instructor at the helm, you know there’s going to be no chance to bring anything less than your A-game to Fit Factory. Voted Best Boot Camp by BlogTO and Best Gym/Fitness Club by NOW, it’s no wonder Fit Factory has such a dedicated (obsessed?) clientele. With classes ranging from Boot Camp, to Strength & Conditioning, to Abs Assault and even Technical Boxing, this King West studio has found a tough-as-nails workout for everyone. Oh and did we mention they say you’ll burn up to 1200 calories in a single class? Come for the ass-kicking, stay for the post-sweat smoothies.
Fuel Training Club
45 Camden Street
With three locations (find them in the King East and Roncesvalles neighborhoods as well) and some of the most loyal members of any club in the city, Fuel Training Club is a major force in the Toronto fitness scene. Featuring small group training led by seriously credentialed instructors, Fuel Training Club is known for emphasizing form and function over anything else – no round-back deadlifts or knee-knocking squats here. One of the truly impressive things about Fuel (beyond the quality of their strength and HIIT-focused classes) is the community they have built; spot the camaraderie at any of their many special events and classes that bring together members from all locations. They even offer a special Fuel Moms series for postpartum moms who want something a little more challenging than yoga.
129 Spadina Avenue
Boasting one of the most impressive expansion plans we’ve ever seen from a small chain, SPINCO recently opened the doors to their seventh studio in the King West hood. The new space features the same “beats high/lights low” and “ride as one” concept they produce seamlessly in all of their locations, plus brand new bikes, a massive change room, and an exclusive clothing line.
128 Peter Street
Currently in a temporary space shared with our friends at Knixwear, BOLO is the newest addition to Toronto’s growing boxing obsession. Intimate classes give the instructors an opportunity to correct form and encourage each athlete individually, and a cozy lounge area makes for a great pre- and post-workout hangout spot to mentally prepare for the super tough workout ahead or commiserate over sore legs/arms/abs after a hard sweat. When the studio closes its doors at this temporary pop-up, they will open shortly directly across the street.
KING WEST BEAUTY & APPAREL
Her Majesty’s Pleasure
556 King Street West
Champagne Hotline?! Say no more. Her Majesty’s Pleasure, a salon, spa and cocktail bar, located in the trendy King West Village Fashion House, was designed by the legendary Toronto design firm +tongtong. We love this award-winning space, which is cleverly designed and a major step up from your typical salon vibe. With millennial pink, pops of greenery, and yes, a direct phone line that results in champagne delivery, this gem of a location offers some phenomenal beauty services including mani’s, pedi’s, blow-outs, facials, and body bronzing. An ideal location for a group or private event, we know Her Majesty’s Pleasure must be doing well as its second location is slated to open in Yorkville this summer.
571 Wellington Street West
A favourite amongst locals, Ritual sits next door to Moksha Yoga Downtown, making for the perfect Saturday morning reset ritual. We love this place for all the right reasons, most notably the staff who are true experts in their craft and so genuine and authentic in their delivery. In all our years in the wellness industry, we have never come across a salon or spa with such low staff turn-over, which can only be a testament to management and the environment they have created. Our hit list here includes the Brow Wow treatment with Heather, the Ritual Facial with Patti, and the Ritual Pedicure (no therapist request necessary). We have truly never had a better pedicure than the one at Ritual. A great bonus is the reasonable price point, made even more manageable if you make the commitment to a monthly visit, as rates are further discounted.
105 Portland Street
What began as a two-day pop-up shop during this year’s holiday season, is now a permanent, albeit hidden, fixture on the King West scene. We cannot begin to tell you how excited we were when we stumbled across this gem, which features some beautiful ceramics, home and lifestyle goods, vegan artisan chocolates from their very own 100-acre farm, and a stunning collection of terrariums. Our favourite finds however are the most beautiful, hand-woven Dream Makers, custom created by the shop’s wonderful owner, Irene. We’ve just purchased our first Dream Maker for our office, and are already hatching plans for integrating them into our next spa project!
The Detox Market
420 King Street West
Our love for detoxed, natural beauty products is no secret and The Detox Market is the OG spot to find all of the best products. The skincare destination, which started in 2010 as a pop-up in Venice, California and now boasts seven locations in SoCal plus three in Toronto, carries a dizzying array of local and international products, all produced with natural ingredients that you can feel good about slathering on your skin. When they’re not busy educating visitors on the best products for their skin type and goals, the Detox team is curating a fantastic blog, hosting master classes, and shipping out their brand new The Detox Box, a green beauty kit delivered to your door each month featuring seasonally supportive products and best sellers.
Whole Life Balance
793 King Street West
Whole Life Balance with Drip IV Therapy, has its roots as a nutritional consulting firm. In its first Canadian location, however, it has evolved into a holistic wellness centre that prides itself on being a one-stop-shop for all things wellness. A dedicated and collaborative team of practitioners provide an array of modalities from vitamin IV therapy, aerial yoga and silks training, osteopathic manipulation, massage, acupuncture, fascial stretch therapy, and of course nutritional consulting. The space itself is trendy and fun, perfectly matched to the vibrant King West neighbourhood that it calls home and a great fit for the young and hip clientele that frequents the location. We are obsessed on many levels, yet have a particular affinity for massage with Katie and cosmetic acupuncture with Amrit. These two healers in this magical place are truly something special.
602 King Street West
A staple on the King West wellness scene for over a decade now, Hammam Spa is an urban sanctuary, and one of only a few of its kind in the western world to take its inspiration from the gathering and healing rituals associated with traditional Turkish baths. Re-imagined in modern-day form, Hammam Spa is built around a 500-square-foot steam chamber, where guests can purify, energize or rebalance pre and post treatment. In addition to the 13 treatment rooms (two of which are authentic Turkish suites used for wet treatments such as their Baltic Sea Mud Wrap), the spa features a great boutique that is stocked with some of the best product the skincare world has to offer (Decleor and Skinceuticals being two of our tops).
471 Adelaide Street West
We know of no other downtown Toronto location that maintains the age-old traditional of communal bathing to the same degree that Body Blitz does. A women-only facility, the therapeutic waters circuit includes a warm Dead Sea salt pool, hot epsom salt pool, cold plunge pool, eucalyptus steam room and an infrared sauna. Complemented by a treatment menu that includes an array of body scrubs, muds, glows as well as massage and facial treatments, Body Blitz is truly a respite from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Toronto. We’d love to see more of these urban healing sanctuaries pop-up in the future. They also have a beautiful east-end location in addition to the sanctuary in King West.
KING WEST HEALTHY EATS
Opening soon at Adelaide & Brant
Opening soon at Adelaide & Brant, this King West fast-casual healthy restaurant will be the second location for the brand which has already garnered a phenomenal reputation for its Corktown outpost. The premise behind the entire concept stems from “the belief that food has the power to shape our daily lives and that real, wholesome ingredients, simply prepared with integrity, can provide us with the energy to take on the day with ambition and optimism.” Impact Kitchen is entirely gluten-free, with plenty of paleo and vegan options. We love their Zesty Mexican power bowl and buy their protein bars in bulk to ensure we always have one on the run. We also never leave without one of their Beet Beauty Latte’s in hand —a blend of cold-pressed beet juice, collagen, rose water, cardamom, honey, vanilla and almond milk.
Pop Juice Bar
67 Portland Street
This one was a new King West discovery for us. Tucked away on Portland, just south of King Street, is Pop Juice Bar, “a fresh take on takeaway” that offers an incredible variety of cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and immune boosters along with some yummy salads, soups, and bowls. Our favourites so far are the After-Party Elxr Water (a blend of alkaline water, lemon, activated charcoal and maple syrup) and their Acai Bowl (we’re obsessed with their ginger spread and gluten-free granola). Pop also features a cute little mini-market, meant to function as a healthy convenience store, offering all organic and non-GMO goods. While their retro-inspired lounge is a great space to hang out, they also offer catering service so you can take-away for your next function or event.
613 King Street West
One of six downtown locations, this newly-opened King West outpost is located just east of Bathurst. IQ’s first location opened in 2011, nothing more than a take-out counter, has grown substantially since then. Founded on a mission that is driven by seasonality and sustainability, their vision is forward-thinking, committed to exploring “what’s possible in the world of healthy and sustainable food” (more than half of the food served is sourced from within a 100-km radius). Pop in for a snack, smoothie, coffee or one of their inventive boxes.
367 King Street West
Bringing a slice of California to slightly chillier Toronto is the much-loved Calii Love. Best known for its fresh poke bowls, Calii Love also features some seriously exciting wellness lattes, breakfast bowls packed with colorful fruit and flavor-packed bases like acai, lunch options that marry fresh greens with filling protein options, and superfood smoothies. But what really sets Calii Love apart is the way you place your order. Choose from items like “Hopeful” and “Creative” and the staff will call out your order by telling the team how you feel: “Jennifer is feeling Creative.”
Core Essence is an International Wellness Design & Consulting firm based out of Toronto. We redefine the way that traditional wellness businesses are designed, developed and operated and believe that wellness belongs both within and beyond the spa environment.