From the Toronto Marathon to Lululemon workout videos at hotels, Canada's funkiest city has a lot to offer for the fit traveler
Toronto, Ontario might not possess the beauty of Vancouver or the charm of Montreal, but it has a funky vibe and hip factor you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in Canada. Take, for instance, the cultural heartbeat of Toronto located on West Queens West, once an industrial neighborhood that has gentrified into an arts district teeming with galleries, boutiques, coffee shops, and quirky hotels. (Don't miss our 2015 Healthy Travel Awards!)
Beyond the city's cool factor, there's an abundance of nature among the concrete streets. Almost 13 percent of the city's land is home to parks (over 1,500 parks in total!) and there are miles upon miles of running trails. During the summer months, you'll find runners and bikers out for an early morning workout along Lake Ontario's shoreline. Others flock to one of the many beaches that grace the lake. In winter months, skiing and snowboarding are less than an hour's drive away. Visit in the fall and you may catch the International Film Festival, when the city comes alive with an international crowd and the likes of George Clooney and Johnny Depp can be seen roaming the streets. No matter when you go, though—and thanks to a favorable currency exchange!—you'll save big on everything from running shoes to that must-have winter coat.
Splurge on a room at the sophisticated Shangri-La (pictured above, left), one of the newest hotels in the city. Located in the entertainment district, you'll never be far from any of the action. Avid runners will love the hotel's "Running is Shangri-la" package offering running concierge services to accompany you on early morning jogs, a post-workout spa treatment, and unlimited access to fitness classes—all topped off with healthy menu options. Yogis, you can even practice in the privacy of your room! The hotel provides mats along with a 25-minute workout video produced in partnership with Lululemon (sign us up!). In the evening, burn calories dancing to live music in the hotel's lobby, where the city's beautiful crowd comes to mingle.
Looking for something more bohemian? Check into the 19-room Drake Hotel (pictured above, right) in Toronto's art and design district. Filled with contemporary art exhibits, a popular rooftop bar scene, and a live music venue that goes all night, you'll be in the center of local culture with a stay here—and just a quick walk from museums and shopping. Looking to ignite a sexy evening with your partner? Order up a few items from their "pleasure amenity menu"—from feather ticklers to silk blindfolds!
Stay in Shape
When visiting in the warmer weather, rent a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard and take to the lake. You'll also find day-trippers catching a ferry over to Centre Island, one of the many islands located on Lake Ontario, where you can bike along the trails. Runners have a variety of options too—either pounding the pavement or becoming one with nature along the many running routes in nearby parks. There are running races throughout the summer season, and the springtime brings the Toronto Marathon.
During those harsh winter months, bundle up and head to the mountains just outside the city, where downhill skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing cater to everyone from beginners to advanced snow bunnies. Ice skating rinks are located throughout the city for a great leisurely day of skating in the crisp Canadian winter air.
Indoor activities more your thing? Drop in for a boot camp class at Fit Factory Fitness—a seriously disciplined workout courtesy of a former U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor. And if you're looking for an even more unique way sweat, book an axe throwing session at BATL (really). It's the perfect way to flex your muscles in a killer workout.
Fuel Your Trip
From food trucks to fine dining, Toronto offers everything you'll need to pump energy into your days.
Momofuku Daisho (pictured above, left), one of the hottest restaurants in town, offers an evening of scrumptious Asian-themed small bites while simultaneously allowing you to experience Toronto dining at its best (reservations required!). Nourish your belly at one of the city's tastiest vegetarian restaurants, Hibiscus Cafe (above, center) in Kensington Market, and try their 42-ingredient salad. Be sure to grab an afternoon cup of java at Dark Horse Espresso Bar (above, right) and stroll the galleries along Queens Street West to take in all the hip culture of the city.
After a long day of fitness, food, and fun rejuvenate at the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris, a sprawling 9,000 square foot spa using ancient rituals of the Middle East. Relax with a facial or body scrub and take a steam in their Hammam. Your body will thank you, especially during those cold winter days. After your treatment, lounge around in the Arabian-inspired relaxation room where you'll snack on grapes, baklava, and mint tea.