Phil ortwein believes fitness should work every muscle in your body, especially your mind.

Phil Ortwein never imagined that he’d be the owner of a boutique fitness centre, but that’s okay because rolling with the punches has always been part of his grand philosophy.

Before I begin, your business is Philosophy Fitness and your name is Phil. I’m assuming that’s purely coincidental.

[laughs] Yes, well, I used to be a mobile fitness trainer.I travelled around to peoples’ homes and businesses and offered personal training. When I decided that I wanted to set up a bricks and mortar business, I asked my clients what I should call it. They named it Philosophy because I was always telling them about how important it is to have a philosophy when it comes to training. So, yes, it is purely coincidental.

How long have you been in the St. Clair West area?

I opened three years ago.

And how did all of this happen?

Well, I’ve been a personal trainer now for 15 years. I’ve lived in Toronto for 10 years. I’m originally from Horseshoe Valley. I went to University of Western Ontario and did a double major in Health and Psychology.

I originally planned to work in a hospital setting. I didn’t know exactly what I’d do but that’s the world I thought I would be going into. I started training on a part-time basis and just sort of went from there.

When I finished school, I went to work for one of those big-box gyms. Well, it wasn’t a big box then, but it is now. It was much smaller. On the suggestion of my boss, the owner, I took over as the business director and that’s when I knew I found my place.

Running the business side of fitness was perfect for me, and I’d never thought of it before. I always planned to be on the service side of training but it was the business that really spoke to me. And that’s when I started my own business as a mobile trainer. It was great but I reached a point where I couldn’t grow my business any larger.

Working with one client at a time, and when you factor in travelling all over the city, it just became impossible to get any bigger without opening a gym.

Why did you choose St. Clair West?

I didn’t originally plan to open a gym here. I was just looking for a gym for myself, to work out. I looked around and there was nothing that was really working for me, nothing that incorporated a philosophy.

So, I decided to create the kind of gym where I would want to be a member.

What is it about this neighbourhood that makes it so unique?

I’ve never seen a community that supports small businesses like this one. The people who live here really like to stay in the area. That’s why there are so many small businesses along St. Clair.

How would you describe the spirit of St. Clair?

It’s diverse, friendly, warm. There’s such a sense of community here even though everyone is so different. Right now, I’m standing looking out the front window of my business and there are just so many different people, from all walks of life. We’ve got old buildings and new condos, working-class homes and mansions. There’s just so much diversity and that creates such a strong sense of community.

Any final thoughts?

Come and check it out. There are so many cool, new businesses opening. If you’re thinking of moving here, get in now.

“I’ve never seen a community that supports small businesses like this one. The people who live here really like to stay in the area. That’s why there are so many small businesses along St. Clair.”

Philosophy Fitness575 St Clair Ave W.

While calories can be burned criss-crossing the neighbourhood on foot, St. Clair Ave W. is home to some of the city’s most high-energy workouts. From soul-shaking spin to vigorous vinyasa yoga, breaking a sweat has never been more fun – or convenient.

F45 875 St Clair Ave W.
Rocket Cycle688 St Clair Ave W.
Modo Yoga934 St Clair Ave W.
The Pilates Group701A St. Clair Ave W.
Inhabit Pilates and Movement1211 Bathurst St.

Unique boutiques and one-of-a-kind finds. a village with A treasure trove of shops.

Expect the unexpected with pleasant shopping surprises to be found on display throughout the village. Handmade designer home décor pieces, vivacious floral arrangements, authentic mid-century furniture, bookstores, evening and wedding gown boutiques plus hair, nail and wax studios.

Everything you’re looking for, you’ll find along the St. Clair Ave W. strip, from one-of-kind boutique and designer stores to florists and green home goods at EcoExistence. Or enjoy one stop shopping at the Stock Yards Village shopping mall, with banks and over 50 convenient stores for home, pets, sports, fashion, fitness and food.

Vintage Thrift Shop 1028 St Clair Ave W.
Astra Salon1033 St Clair Ave W.
Bees Are Life, Inc. 1265 St Clair Ave W.
Stock Yards Village1980 St Clair Ave W.
Parpar Boutique649 St Clair Ave W.
Nutriviva - Health Food Store1199 St Clair Ave W.
EcoExistence766 St Clair Ave W.
Olive Oil Emporium659 St Clair Ave W.
Loblaws396 St Clair Ave W.