Distillery District Photoessay - Rediscover Toronto Week 9

Monday, August 25, 2014

For week nine of my Rediscover Toronto Challenge I went east of Parliament  to the Distillery District -  home of the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, countless art galleries, great restaurants and cafes, and unique shops. But the Distillery District  wasn't always this way.

Gooderham and Worts

After 158 years of uninterrupted operations, the Gooderham & Worts Distillery closed its doors for good in June of 1990. Even though the complex of 40 Victorian era Industrial buildings had been recently designated a national historic site, its future was unclear. 

Almost ten years later, while I was studying at the University of Toronto, the area of Mill St and Parliament wasn’t a place to spend the afternoon and you certainly didn’t want to be there after dark.

It wasn’t until 2001 that the historic property found a suitable owner to undertake the rehabilitation and reimagine the area as the historic and cultural hub it is today.

Distillery District in Photos

Distillery District Toronto, Stone Distillery c. 1860, Gooderham and Worts, Local Recommendations, Toronto Local GuideThe Stone Distillery was contructed c. 1860

In its day, Gooderham and Worts was the largest distillery in the world, delivering its whisky to major ports all over the world.

Designated a Canadian National Historic Site  in 1988

Gooderham and Worts Distillery, Distillery District Toronto, Toronto local recommendation, Victorian Industrial ArchitectureFine Example of Victorian Industrial Architecture

Victorian industrial Architecture, Gooderham and Worts Distillery, Distillery District Toronto, Local recommendations, Toronto Travel GuideThe Rectifying House on Grist Mill Lane

Pedestrian Thoroughfares

There are no vehicles within the Distillery District which leaves pleaty of room to take a stroll.

Tank House Lane, Distillery District, Ontario Heritage Site, Local recommendations, Toronto Travel GuideTank House Lane

Gristmill Lane, Distillery District, Toronto heritage Site, Local recommendations, Toronto Travel GuideGriist Mill Lane

Trinity Street, Distillery District, Ontario Heritage Site, Gooderham and Worts Distillery, Local recommendations, Toronto Travel GuideTrinity Street

Art Installations

Gooderham and Worts Distillery, Distillery District Art installation, Dennis Oppenheim, Still Dancing, Toronto Travel Guide, Local recommendationStill Dancing by Dennis OppenheimDistillery District art installation, Distillery Love, Love Locks in Toronto, Toronto Travel Guide, Local recommendation, Tank House LaneLove Locks on Tank House LaneDistillery District art installation, #DistilleryLove, Love Locks in Toronto, Tank House Lane, Toronto local recommendation, Toronto Travel GuideThis temporary installation finishes on August 31, 2014

Pieces of  the Distillery's History

Antique Dodge Truck, Grist Mill Lane, Distillery District, Gooderham and Worts, Ontario Heritage Site, Toronto travel guide, local recommendationAntique Dodge Truck in front of the Fermenting CellarOriginal millstone for Gooderham and Worts Grist Mill, Distillery District, Ontario Heritage Site, Toronto travel guide, local recommendationsOriginal Millstone from the Historic Gooderham and Worts Windmill

Malthouse beams, Victorian Industrial Architecture, Gooderham and Worts Distillery, Distillery District, Toronto local recommendations, Toronto travel guideExposed Beams in the Malthouse

Continuing the Tradition

There are two brewers located within the Distillery District continuing the grand tradition of producing fine alcoholic beverages - Ontario Spring Water Sake Company and Mill St. Brewery.

Mill ST. Brewery on Tank House LaneMill Street Brewing, Tank House Lane, Brewing in the Distillery District, Toronto travel guide, local recommendationQuick Break with Brigid and Andrew from Mill St Brewery

Distillery Treats

Too early in the day to sample an alcoholic beverage? Perhaps one of these indulgent  pieces of heaven may be more to your liking.

Cluny Boulangerie Bakery, Distillery District, Raspberry Truffle Bar, Toronto travel guide, local recommendationsCluny Boulangerie SOMA Chocolate. Distillery District , Toronto Recommednations, Toronto Travel guideThe Gelato LAboratory at SOMA ChocolatemakerTrinity Street, Brick Street Bakery, Distillery District, Gooderham and Worts, Toronto travel guide, local recomendationsBrick Street Bakery

Learning the History

There are Heritage Toronto plaques on each historic building  indicating the original use. In addition, QR codes can be used  to find out more.

Distillery District, Tank Houses, Toronto travel guide, local Toronto recommendationCorkin Gallery on Tank House Lane

The End of  My Challenge

Although this is the end of  my Rediscover Toronto Challenge,  I'm far from done with discovering all that my city has to offer. 

I'd like to leave you with  a final thought, that I  found written on brick wall in the Distillery District.  We are lucky to have such treasures restored to usefulness and need to be vigilant in the preservation of our past for future generations to enjoy.

For more Distillery District Photos, visit our our Pinterest board.

Distillery District, Heart

Think about what you throw away




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