The Distillery Historic District Toronto is a place to hang out around artisan shops, boutique bakeries and restaurants, art galleries and entertainment venues. The webpage for the Distillery District promotes the area as ‘the place to see and be seen’.
National Geographic called The Distillery “Hip new neighbourhood within the best preserved collection of Victorian Industrial architecture in Canada.”
Toronto is a case study for urban renewal of formerly heavy industrial districts along the lakefront of Lake Ontario. Toronto is the largest city by population in Canada and by some accounts, recently surpassed Chicago to become the fourth largest city in North America behind New York, Mexico City and Los Angeles. The economic activity of the region makes Toronto a magnet for immigrants and there is great ethnic diversity in the city.
Gooderham & Worts was for a time in the 19th century the world’s largest distillery for making whiskies and producing over two million gallons per year in the 1870s, more than half of Canada’s production. The distillery located here was built between 1859-1861 and was finally closed in 1990. The Province of Ontario legislated Prohibition in 1916 prior to U.S. Prohibition. The distillery continued to manufacture whiskey for export to Quebec. Harry Hatch purchased the distillery from Gooderham in 1923 and amassed a fortune selling whiskies to resellers who smuggled the alcohol into the USA. Harry Hatch was also one of the early visionaries of the wine industry around Lake Ontario.
Distillery Historic District, Toronto
Windmills lined this area in the 1830s to power equipment. The millstone used for grinding grain at Gooderham & Worts in 1832 was transported from England on the schooner ‘Kingston’ to the frontier town of York, the early name for Toronto.
The Distillery Historic District of Toronto is touristy, yet entertaining as a waterfront place for a visitor with restaurants and bars.
St. Lawrence Market, Toronto
St. Lawrence Market, about 15 minutes walk from The Distillery, is the place that captured my interest for food shopping in downtown Toronto. Whole 1.25 to 1.50 lb. lobsters were being sold for $4.99 CAD a piece. I went back to the market a few days later for lobster and learned it closes at 6:00pm Tuesday to Thursday, and is not open on Sunday and Monday.
Fresh lobster from Nova Scotia at Mike’s Fish Market, St. Lawrence Market.
During my one week June 2013 stay in Toronto, I resided at the InterContinental Yorkville Toronto (my review), InterContinental Toronto Centre (my review) and Radisson Admiral Toronto Harbourfront (my review).
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
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