Welcome to the third installment of the Well TO Do Toronto Neighbourhood Wellness Guide (check out King West and Yorkville)! 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 Queen West!
No trip to Vogue’s coolest neighbourhood is complete without dropping in on some of the locals’ all-time favourite wellness studios, healthy eateries and fitness apparel hotspots. In this guide, we share our all time favourite destinations when it comes to wellness along Queen West. From fitness to food to spa to shopping, follow our recommendations and you will be rested and rejuvenated in no time.
Queen West Fitness
333 Queen Street West
Imported from Vancouver, YYOGA is the corporate giant of yoga in Toronto. With twelve studios and 900 classes per week across British Colombia and Toronto, they have mastered the art of providing a yoga experience that is easy, accessible, and desirable.
The sleek, white, modern design boasts a simplicity that reflects the lessons of yoga itself. YYOGA takes care of every small detail, offering purified water, huge change rooms, free lockers, a heated and non-heated studio, a spin/fitness studio, an infrared sauna, and a spacious tea lounge.
Check out their one-of-a-kind Aromatherapy Yin Yoga class on Sunday night for the most blissful experience in the city. [Editors Note: YYOGA is currently undergoing some renovations and will reopen in September 2018.]
761 Queen Street West
Arguably downtown Toronto’s coolest fitness space, MISFITSTUDIO is not to be missed on your Queen West wellness tour. Located inside of a bright and breathtaking church, classes are led by a sisterhood of edgy, inspiring, and fascinating women.
Amber Joliat, the mastermind behind the MISFIT brand, personifies grace and beauty when she moves, teaches, and preaches movement as medicine to the soundtrack of songs you forgot were your all time favourites. Don’t miss Amber’s fusion class every Friday at noon.
735 Queen Street West
Downward Dog is the original yoga community in Toronto. Founded in 1997, Downward Dog pays respect to the Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga lineage, attracting an audience that is both serious and genuinely curious about their yoga practice. Oft-referred to as the go-to yoga studio for yoga teachers in the city, you will discover impeccably taught traditional alignment cues, renowned teacher training programs, and the sweatiest unheated yoga practices of your life. Check out Cecily Milne’s Move Well class for a new look at your practice or treat yourself to a vinyasa session with Ron Reid, the studio owner, to see what all the hype is really about.
721 Queen Street West #202
Sexy, scandalous and proud of it, Brass Vixens has inspired and empowered men and women of all shapes and sizes to move, groove and flaunt what their mama gave them. Choose from a wild selection of classes including pole dancing, Aerial Fitness, A$$ & Abs, Burlesque, Erotic Chair Dancing and more. Check out the introductory pole dancing class to let your inner Cardi B emerge. Our favourite part about this studio? Brass Vixens has created a market (and become the go-to destination on Queen West) for a wellness inspired girls night out, bachelorette, or birthday party.
STRIVE LIFE ATHLETICS
849 Adelaide Street West
Strive Life is known for its high intensity group fitness classes, held at their studio known as the Athletic House. Class styles range from Energy Circuits, to Tabata Style, to Hybrid Style, and each features a movement focused warm-up, HIIT conditioning, and recovery/core work.
Big Hit Studios
66 Sudbury Street
Toronto has firmly leaned into the boutique boxing trend and Big Hit, with its four locations (and a fifth on the way) provides a way to get your one-two fix wherever you are in the GTA. The studio, which opened its first location in 2014, offers classes in kickboxing and Muay Thai, plus the chance to land punches on a “manlike” punching bag named Bob.
Queen West Beauty & Apparel
318 Queen Street West
The lululemon store on Queen Street West has spent decades in the community supporting local fitness teachers, hosting epic events and offering free yoga classes every Tuesday night. More recently, they integrated a full fitness studio called “The Attic” with an-ever changing menu of classes and teachers, while offering cold brew, juice and other local treats in their store entrance.
Set up your laptop in the free coworking space in the back of the store, labeled “The Hustle,” then head into the main part of the showroom to pick up some of their always innovative apparel. The Queen West location is often the only Toronto store to carry limited edition lulu collaborations.
THE TEN SPOT
749 Queen Street West
If you haven’t stopped into the Queen West outpost of The Ten Spot, you most certainly have noticed it’s clean, sharp and white design juxtaposing the grimy streets outside. Celebrated as Toronto’s first “facial bar,” The Ten Spot also offers waxing, mani-pedis, brow tinting and threading, and has recently launched pay-as-you-go laser services.
361 Queen Street West
RYU (Respect Your Universe) was born in Vancouver and opened its first Toronto store in 2017. The brand is loved for its marriage of quality and style, eschewing flashy patterns for tough but beautiful athleisure with an edge. The Queen West store is known to host fitness events as well.
719 Queen Street West
Small but mighty, this natural beauty store packs an impressive number of natural products into a compact space. The store, which exclusively carries natural or organic products, aims to showcase Canadian brands and artisanal products, with additional items from brands using resources from the U.S., New Zealand, and Sweden.
Queen West Spa
LAYA SPA & YOGA
986 Queen Street West
When you step through the doors of this self-proclaimed healing sanctuary, you instantly feel transported into a Moroccan healing space. This Ayurveda-inspired spa dissolves stress and tension with its focus on sacred medicine, slow healing, spirituality, and deep self love. Daily yoga classes, a full spa menu, a co-ed steam room and workshops unlike anything else you will find in the city (i.e. Womb Healing Belly Dance, New Moon Tea Ceremony and Ecstatic Dance Rituals). Treat yourself to one of their day-long retreats
269 Queen Street West
Civello is a destination for the all-natural beauty seeker on Queen West, using pure flower and plant-based products for their nourishing treatments. The spa itself is beautifully maintained, with a hair salon, treatment rooms for massage, facials, body wraps, waxing, and a manicure-pedicure station.
Every guest is invited to begin their experience at the in-house coffee, tea and juice bar, and bask in the famous (and complimentary) Aveda sensory rituals. Therapists will happily share a short but priceless aromatherapy experience, relaxing scalp and shoulder massage, hand treatment, skin care ritual or makeup touchup.
1159 Queen Street West
Introduced to Toronto by Jesse and Sean, two kind-hearted and inspiring West-Coast yogis, Float Toronto has become an integral part of the Queen West community, offering busy urbanites a chance to slow down, reset, and reflect.
Through REST Therapy (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique), otherwise known as Sensory Deprivation, floaters spend up to two hours in a private, enclosed tank filled with 900 pounds of salt water, where sight, sound, touch and everyone around you are blocked out.
In this dark solitude, miraculous healing happens for both the mind, the body and the spirit. From lowering the stress hormone to increasing blood circulation and immune function, floating is an unusual, albeit incredible wellness tool.
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.