Community Toronto Run Crew and Fitness Studio Changes its Name to Promote Inclusivity

Toronto Run Crew and Fitness Studio Changes its Name to Promote Inclusivity

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Photo Credits: Jess Baumung

It’s official! This week the Toronto run crew and cycle and yoga studio known as Tribe Fitness changed its name to Kardia. The changes came about due to the realization that the use of the word “tribe” was hurtful to Indigenous people. In June Heather Gardner, the studio founder and her team announced that a name change would be made. After consulting with their community and countless discussions on potential names, the final decision was Kardia.

The name Kardia is a connection to the heart, not only in a physical sense but also in an emotional one. “We loved the idea of crew love, and we wanted that to be encompassed in what we were doing,” says Heather Gardner, studio founder. In 2013, Gardner who had been a part of running groups in the past wanted to continue the community vibe that she had come to enjoy from leading weekly run crews. Sending out an invitation on social media, Gardner invited runners to join a neighbourhood run. The response was tremendous, so much so that this first run quickly grew into one of Toronto’s first run crews.

Drawing up on love for community fitness, Gardner also began offering yoga and cycle classes in a very similar way, growing a fitness community that welcomes all individuals. Fast forward seven years later, Gardner and her team now offer cycling, fitness and yoga classes both in studio and since the pandemic, online. When discussion about the name of the studio came about, it was the collective sense of community that inspired and guided the change. “Our favourite form of cardio is running, and coming back to our roots in running and in community,” she says. In the weeks leading up to the announcement, the studio’s new logo could be seen in select locations in the neighbourhood.

On Wednesday, their community run featured a scavenger hunt with runners searching for hidden letters found in locations around the neighbourhood that collectively spelled the new studio name. With more than 50 runners and members gathering outside the studio anticipating the name reveal, it underscored the significance of the community atmosphere that Gardner and her team continue to cultivate at Kardia.