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Wellness in Toronto

by Erica Metzger

Wellness in toronto

Wellness is about balance, after all, and Toronto delivers on both. Between its major inroads towards sustainability, a plant-based culinary scene, thriving spa culture and proximity to Lake Ontario, the diverse city’s wellness activities are as plentiful as its tourist attractions.

Put an urban spin on your next health-focused getaway.

When you imagine the perfect health and wellness getaway, what comes to mind? Most likely a destination resort tucked in a dreamy setting near the ocean or woods or maybe an intensive or immersive escape with restrictive rules to jumpstart a self-transformation. Here’s a third, less conventional, and more flexible idea: An urban-centered destination. A trip to a big city provides the unique opportunity to load up on therapies, leafy greens, and culture all while staying at restorative accommodations and rejuvenating with mind body experiences. Unlike an at all-inclusive property, you have more freedom—either to accumulate your steps while taking in a museum exhibit or satisfy a classic craving like ordering fries or another off-menu indulgence at midnight.

Wellness is about balance, after all, and Toronto delivers on both. Between its major inroads towards sustainability, a plant-based culinary scene, thriving spa culture and proximity to Lake Ontario, the diverse city’s wellness activities are as plentiful as its tourist attractions. From sauna to sightseeing, Canada’s largest metropolitan provides endless options to slip in and out of the wellness bubble so you get the best of both worlds. Also, the gift of discovering selfcare in a fast-paced environment is an exercise that keeps on giving. Once you learn how to seek out selfcare in one city, you have more ideas and tools to discover it at home.

Read on for the best places to unwind, recharge, and pamper yourself in Toronto.


After checking into 1 Hotel Toronto, you could enjoy a full wellness retreat—complete with farm-to-table cuisine, rooftop pool, and yoga classes—without ever leaving the property. With over 3,000 local plants, repurposed wood and reclaimed materials, and in-room water filtration system, the hotel’s biophilic design touches everything from the lobby to the guest rooms, which is thoughtfully accessed with a recycled, wooden keycard. 1 Kitchen, the hotel’s signature restaurant, is a zero-waste operation that serves up local fresh ingredients, including produce grown in their on-site garden. Though you’ll want to get out and about; this eco-conscious sanctuary is set in the city’s Fashion District, primely located near landmarks, Queen Street West shopping district, and nearby Lake Ontario waterfront.


The healthy eats in Toronto are vast and impressive, and range from plant-rich meals you’d find on a holistic spa-resort menu to more indulgent, vegetarian eats. 

Plant adaptogens are main attraction at Beatrice Society Café, footsteps away from photogenic Graffiti Alley. You can enhance coffee, vegan smoothies and toasts with herbs and functional mushrooms like lion’s mane for cognition and reishi for relaxation, or buy them to-go in the form of tinctures, capsules, and powders. Bonus: They also have an alcohol-optional bar menu that features just as many alcohol-free options as regular cocktails. 

The Goods, a local lunch spot in Roncesvalles, adheres to a “food-as-medicine” philosophy and serves up organic, vegan, gluten- and nut- free fare like salad bowls, soups, and sandwiches. Their tasty Nori Bowl with crunchy veggies, ginger miso-dressing, brown rice, shredded nori, and edamame is a crowd pleaser. 

The 100 percent plant-based menu at Planta Queen, is a vegan’s dream—and ultimate challenge to decide between flavorful dumpling and noodle dishes, and fun meatless variations like “chick’n” fried mushrooms and spicy tuna roll with ahi watermelon. 

At neighborhood favorite Actinolite, the seasonally-inspired, locally sourced and foraged menu is ever changing (and can accommodate vegetarians). In warm months, the  outdoor dining areas is surrounded by the restaurant’s own garden, where if you aren’t completely absorbed by the tasting menu (or natural wine pairing), you may spy one of the cooks snipping a sprig of herbs before heading back to the kitchen. 


Does the idea of a full body workout while experiencing the calming effect of water speaks to your spirit? Oceah Oceah SUP X Yoga approaches stand up paddling, or SUP, with a personal passion for the Hawaiian sport originally known as canoe paddling and building the Lake Ontario community. The Indigenous-owned business offers SUP classes, along with paddleboard yoga, at Budapest Beach, where a break wall ensures calm waters, which first timers or anyone in need of extra balance will especially appreciate.


Othership, a modern bathhouse offers sauna and cold plunge combined with breathwork, music, and sound bath geared for a young, like-minded crowd seeking sports recovery or a natural high. On weekends, their popular evening socials look more like a party scene with a DJ, bustling tea lounge, impromptu aromatherapy, and all-around good vibes. You could hit the nightlife King’s Street afterwards but why bother with such a great non-booze buzz?

For a traditional sauna experience, Vetta Nordic Spa in Horseshoe Valley, is worth the two-hour drive from Toronto. The spa provides an authentic Finnish hydrotherapy cycle of heat, cold, and relaxation with saunas, pools, and hammocks surrounded by woods. Book a massage and lunch at the bistro for a complete day trip. 

At a sound bath session, good vibrations are quite literally the goal. Once you settle into a cushion or mat, Toronto Sound Therapy founder Phil Jacobs guides guests through a mediative concert with drums, singing bowls, and other instruments designed to calm and deeply relax the body—and quite possibly induce a catnap

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