As the tallest construction project currently underway in Canada, Aura at College Park has seen its fair share of attention from the real estate, development and architecture communities in this city. Now Aura is also garnering the attention of fitness buffs thanks to the opening of Hard Candy Fitness in the building's podium. Co-founded in 2010 by pop icon Madonna, her manager and a venture capitalist firm, Hard Candy Fitness has a few select locations around the globe—Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sydney, Mexico City, Rome, Santiago, Berlin—and now Toronto.

Entrance to Hard Candy Fitness Toronto, photo by Jennifer Toole

Hard Candy Fitness occupies 42,000 square-feet of Aura’s podium, and a look around the gleaming facility quickly reveals that this is far from your average gym. Design elements of the space feature Madonna-themed artwork, classics of modern seating and lighting, pop art details, and a candy-coloured juice bar.

Juice bar at Hard Candy Fitness, photo by Jennifer Toole

As for equipment, Hard Candy Fitness stocks their gyms with high end state-of-the-art equipment, selecting the top fitness equipment from manufacturers around the world and marking it with their trademark candy-red graphics. The facility is equipped with a yoga studio, a unique theatre-style cycling room, steam rooms and saunas and even artificial turf surfaces for athletic training. 

Fitness equipment at Hard Candy Fitness, photo by Jennifer Toole

Hard Candy Fitness offers customized personal training, group exercise programs, and proprietary classes developed specifically by Madonna in preparation for her strenuous stage performances.

Fitness equipment at Hard Candy Fitness, photo by Jennifer Toole

We asked the chairman and co-owner of Hard Candy Fitness Toronto, Leonard Schlemm, why this specific location was chosen over other potential sites in Toronto. “We were approached back in 2008 by the CEO of Canderel, the owner and developer of the Aura building. He was aware of our thirty years of experience in the fitness industry, and ownership interest in over 1,000 fitness centres around the world. He wanted a cutting edge, first class fitness centre to complement the highest condo project in Canada and the crown in Canderel's development in Canada. In 2010 we presented various brand possibilities to Canderel, and a full market analysis was done evaluating the various fitness brands. The Hard Candy Fitness brand was selected by a three to one margin over the next highest ranked brand. Madonna had initially provided a dream list of the first twelve cities where she would like to see Hard Candy Fitness facilities, and Toronto was fortunately on this list.”

Indoor cycling room at Hard Candy Fitness, photo by Jennifer Toole

In a unique arrangement, Hard Candy Fitness is not only a private fitness club, but also functions as the gym amenity for Aura’s residents. Hard Candy Fitness is now offering memberships, and the club is anticipating between 3,500 and 4,000 members.

Hard Candy Fitness's shower stalls, photo by Jennifer Toole

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