If you’ve ever taken a class at Misfit Studio, you know it’s unlike any other workout spot in town. That one-of-a-kind experience is due entirely to its founder, Amber Joliat, a dance, Pilates and yoga instructor whose unique take on fitness has found a very devoted following in Toronto.
While teaching at another yoga studio, Joliat developed her own style of movement, a melange of her three areas of expertise. “This blending of modalities was really different and foreign,” she says. “And then I played music, which was also so rare. I think people only play music now!” Her unorthodox direction was beloved by her clients, but caused friction with the studio’s owner.
“I remember this one day where I was like, Fuck this. There’s got to be a different way to do this,” Joliat says. “It was my fire and my reactivity and my ferociousness that made me realize there’s got to be a different way than just following what everyone else is doing in this city.”
In 2010, Joliat took over a friend’s tattoo parlour in Parkdale, turning it into her first studio. She named it Misfit after her natural inclination to do things differently in all areas of life, but especially in her classes. “I wanted to do this thing I can see helps people and shifts people, even if it’s just one hour,” she says. It took only six months before Misfit was featured online as one of the top yoga studios in Toronto.
Today, Misfit Studio occupies two bright and airy locations—one in an old church on Queen West (761 Queen Street West, 3rd Floor) and the other above a restaurant on Ossington (88 Ossington Avenue). Both spaces offer a variety of Pilates and Essentrics classes as well as Fusion, Joliat’s signature class, which she describes as “rooted in yoga, informed by Pilates and inspired by dance” (I sign up every Tuesday—it’s cathartic!). At the Queen Street location, there’s a room full of reformers, plus the new Misfit Wellness Collective, where practitioners offer services like physiotherapy, massage, nutrition coaching and more.
Doing things her own way has clearly paid off for Joliat. Misfit was named by BlogTO as one of the best studios for yoga teacher training in Toronto, despite the fact that Misfit’s training program is not for yoga.
To find out what Joliat does when not leading a room full of (mostly) women through an energizing class of cardio, strengthening and flexibility, I asked for her favourite spots in Toronto, including where to find the most beautiful dancewear, pick up some nourishing soup on a cold night, and connect with nature in the middle of downtown.
1255 Dundas Street West, Toronto, 647.340.GOOD, thegoodsisgood.ca
“My gal Lisa is incredible! Her Be Well soup is beyond. It’s full of deliciousness with a medicinal super-food broth made of turmeric, garlic, ginger, miso and chaga, shiitake, portobello and cremini mushrooms and other veggies. So good! Also, her Tricky Tahini dressing is actually dangerous for me—I can drink it, the flavour is sooo good!”
Pinky’s Ca Phe
53 Clinton Street, Toronto, @pinkys_caphe
“I love the decor, I love the vibes. The staff is super sweet and they remember Nik and me whenever we arrive for dinner. I could eat the Tiger’s Milk Ceviche every night!”
Greenhouse Juice Co.
14 locations across the GTA, greenhousejuice.com
“[There’s a juice called] The Misfit. It’s seasonal. Red grapes, celery and lime—organic bliss! I’m honoured to have been the inspiration.”
For stockists, visit fortnightlingerie.com
“Being a dancer, I’ve always worn torn-up tights, bodysuits and old, fun pieces to move in. But I love wearing her lingerie while I teach! I feel held, I feel empowered and I love supporting a local powerhouse female friend [Fortnight designer Christina Remenyi]. At night under clothes, I also wear her.”
1518 Dundas Street West, Toronto, 647.479.4854, provinceapothecary.ca
“I am late to the skincare game, having just discovered facials and serum and oils. I’m a lover of wildflowers and botany, so naturally I was drawn to Julie’s philosophy. Blending the wilderness of Canada into nourishing and balancing skincare feels good—mind, body and soul.”
19 Horticultural Avenue, Toronto, 416.392.7288, toronto.ca
“I’ll ride my bicycle over midday to calm and quiet my mind. I’m constantly blown away by Mother Nature and her gifts of flower and plant and tree and colour and scent. Truly fascinating!”