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Pop star Madonna touched down in Toronto Tuesday for the grand opening of her Hard Candy Fitness club.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

"Why not? I love Toronto," Madonna said when asked why the city is getting a Hard Candy Fitness franchise before her home country, the United States.

The 55-year-old Queen of Pop looked tired Tuesday as she sat in a back room at the fitness centre where hundreds of fans lined up to get a glimpse of her.

"I have to divide myself into categories," she said of her life as a mother of four and her career, without elaborating on any plans for a new album in 2014.

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Wearing a black corseted dress by Canadian label dsquared2, she had taken her high heeled shoes off due to a sore left foot, hurt in a dance routine. "I was told to wear sneakers, but they don't look very good with this dress."

The Hard Candy Fitness club in Toronto is the eighth site of the fitness franchise co-owned by Madonna, her manager, Guy Oseary, and Mark Mastrov, the founder and CEO of 24-Hour Fitness, the world's largest privately owned and operated fitness chain. The first Hard Candy Fitness opened in Mexico City in 2010 with others following in Moscow and St. Petersburg, then Rome, Sydney, Australia, Santiago, Chile, and Berlin.

On the top retail floor of the new Aura condominium at College Park, the $99-a-month club features group classes including Strength & Heels, a cardio class in which men and women exercise in heels (the gym rents shoes); Shredded, a body-sculpting class; a flexibility work-out called Morning After, which promises to release toxins; Anti-Gravity Yoga, using fabric ropes attached to the ceiling; and Madonna's signature cardio class, Addicted to Sweat, a dancercize routine developed in collaboration with her trainer, Nicole Winhoffer.

The 42,000-square-foot gym, which has terraces for outdoor classes, is a Madonna theme-park with dumbbells the colour of red lipstick, her music blaring during many classes and photos of the cultural icon plastered on the walls.

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About the Author
Life columnist

Sarah Hampson is an award-winning journalist whose work started appearing in The Globe and Mail in 1998, when she was invited to write a column. Since 1993, when she began her career in journalism, she had been writing for all of Canada's major magazines, including Toronto Life, Saturday Night (now defunct), Chatelaine, Report on Business and Canadian Art, among others. More


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