Distillery District, Toronto

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 Reviews

55 Mill Street (416) 364-1177

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  • Paul2001's Profile Photo

    The Distillery Historical District

    by Paul2001 Updated Jan 16, 2007

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    The Distillery Historical District

    The Distillery Historical District has become one of my favourite places in Toronto to hangout and I know that I am not alone in this fact. What the Distillery Historical District is, is a collection of buildings that were at one time occupied by the Gooderham and Worts Distillery and was constructed in 1832. The district is spread out over 13 acres and is considered the finest example of Victorian industrial architecture in North America.
    The buildings have been handsomely resorted and in 2003, they were turned into an outstanding arts and entertainment district. Today the buildings that were once used as the distillery and accompanying warehouses now are the locations of several restaurants, cafes and art galleries. There are frequent art and entertainment exhibitions held here throughout the year. For me its best in the summer when patios are opened up throughout the complex where you can see outdoor music performances. The Distillery Historical District is still not quite complete in its rebirth and there will be more restaurants and galleries opening up once the buildings have all been restored.
    The opening times of the Distillery depends on what events are being held on the premises. Most of the time entry is free but for some events there is a admission price. Check the website posted below for any events that might be occuring during your visit to Toronto.
    An interesting fact about the Distillery is that many notable movies have been filmed here. You might recognize the building pictured here as being the exterior of the prison in "Chicago".

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    From Canadian Club to Dale Chihuly

    by tpal Updated Jul 25, 2005

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    The Distillery

    Here in western New York we've had an old saying that encourages folks to "have a little anti-freeze", meaning...naturally, an alcoholic beverage, to ward off the the winter cold. We now know, of course, that this is really not that great an idea, but I may have discovered the real source of the saying.

    In the early 19th century a couple of enterprising Britons emmigrated to Canada and started one of the young country's most successful businesses...the Gooderham and Worts Distillery. Eventually, the facility covered 13 acres and had buildings with over 300,000 square feet of space. By 1871 they were producing more than 2 million gallons of whiskey and spirits. By 1957, however, (now for the "saying's" origin) "Gooderham and Worts stopped producing rye whiskey and ANTIFREEZE..."! I guess there is a relationship after all. ;-)

    Today the huge industrial complex has gone retail. Housed within the great hulking buildings you will find a wide array of galeries, shops, restaurants, theaters and offices. It provides a terrific example of creative architectural re-use. If you're into high-end artwork you'll find plenty of opportunities. In our case, looking rather than buying seemed the more prudent approach.

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    Soma Chocolatier

    by Wendy67 Written Oct 10, 2006

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    Located in the Distillery District, Soma is a place not to be missed if you're a chocolate fan. They specialize in Venezuelan dark chocolate and make everything from truffles to gelato with it. There's also a "chocolate laboratory" onsite where you can sit and enjoy your treat and watch the chocolate being made. Yummy stuff!

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    Our Distant Past

    by lohki Updated May 21, 2007

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    Heading out to the Distillery District is a great way to spend the afternoon in Toronto, especially if it is sunny out.

    Though kind of in an odd ball location walking from King and Yonge Street will take about
    15 - 20 minutes.

    The whole complex covers about 13 acres and had 40 buildings. Once the Gooderham and Worts Distillery this area is the largest and best preserved Victorian industrial architecture in North America.

    Filled with galleries and artist studios beside chic restaurants and cafes even if you don't spend a penny this is a great place to check out when your in town.

    My favorites are Soma- Chocolate Maker, Mill Street Brewery, Bergo and Found Objects.

    Take a look at "Visions of Toronto Past" my Distillery District travelogue.

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    Free Beer

    by RSRaz Written Jun 5, 2005

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    The Distillery historic district is Toronto newest oldest entertainment complex. With many art galleries, crafts and art studios, shops and restaurants with live music it is well worth the a visit. The Mill Street on-site brewery serves free samples of their product!

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    THE DISTILLERY JAZZ FESTIVAL

    by RACCOON1 Updated Dec 16, 2005

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    THE  DISTILLERY

    If you are in Toronto on the last week of May ( second last weekend to last weekend) and are looking for something to do you might go to The Distillery District to take in the Jazz Festival. Entrance fee is $ 30 but there are five afternoons which are free ( both wekends) .
    Even if you are not interested in Jazz , the atmosphere is worth a visit .
    The Distillery Disitrict as the name implies was a distillery . From 1859 to 1990 the Gooderham & Worts Company made whiskey here. After that various developer have been rebuilding the site to create a pedestrian only village . It has taken a while but they are getting close

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  • Distillery District: Toronto's Best Kept Secret

    by BoringOldMike4554 Written Feb 15, 2008

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    This is one of my favorite spots in Toronto. The fully pedestrianized Distillery District features some incredible historic properties with some interesting shops and awesome restaurants. My biggest complaint with the neighbourhood is it's location. It's rather out of the way with respect to the rest of downtown Toronto and one must trek through the all too gritty east side of downtown Toronto to get there. But once you get there, it's like being in another world.

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    Segway of Ontario

    by lohki Written Mar 17, 2008

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    These two buildings, built 1859-60, are the oldest

    In addition to their Segway tours this small company also runs 60 minute walking tours of the area for a whopping 15.37, including tax.

    If you are interested in the history of this area and the amazing architecture this tour is actually pretty informative. In addition to the local history, your guide also takes you inside Mill Street Brewery for a taste (ot two) of beer and inside Soma for a taste of their Mayan Hot Chocolate.

    The great thing about this little company is that during the summer they run their tours at 11:30 and 3:30 except for Monday's (double check times since the website lists 11:15/3:15) and during the off season all you need to do is call and make a reservation. AND there is no MINIUM number of people needed for a tour. So today I got to take a private tour which I thought was pretty neat for my &15.00!

    The customer service from this company was spot on, and if you are interested in historical information the walking tour is a great way to start of your day in Toronto's Distillery District.

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    Worth a visit for the craft beer and shops!

    by clareabee Written Dec 6, 2011

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    The distillary district is a short walk from St. Lawrence market. My husband likes his craft beer so we took ourselves to the distillary district - a great move especially as the weather was not great this day!
    There are a range of good bars offering locally brewed, or brewed on site craft beer - please don't go here and order a Coors or Bud - not even sure whether you can get them but seems a bit of a waste going if that is what you are going to do!
    I don't particularly like the dark beers but loved the white or wheat beers, and the menus were huge with all the choices.
    It is also a good place to look at the shops. You won't find any chains here they are all independents.
    I think this place would be fantastic during the summer and will probably be buzzing then, but it is certainly a cool place to go with the girls, your husband/wife etc or a group of friends or couples.

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    Busk This!

    by paulbrec Updated Jul 24, 2005

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    Distillery District at dusk.

    Free Festivals: Toronto Street Circus/International Buskers Festival
    Street performers from all over the world are invited to this festival. Magicians, Circus Acts, Street Comedy Acts, Music, and more! This year Team Ryouko performed a remarkable Star Wars parody complete with light sabres, sound effects and music. Fantastic! Admission to the festival is free, but the performers "pass the hat" after each performance. The street circus is held every year on the second-last weekend in July.
    Toronto Street Circus Official Site

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  • RB_Oakes's Profile Photo

    Distillery District

    by RB_Oakes Written May 5, 2004

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    Built on the grounds of the Victorian-era Gooderham & Worts distillery, not far from downtown, the Distillery District is in the process of becoming revitalized. 2003 was really the first year that it became a public draw. The host a lot of events down here, and in the summer you can be sure that something is going on each weekend. These include art shows, farmer’s markets, a Jazz festival, a world music festival, a dog weekend and other themes.

    The architecture is of great interest – the structure of a Victorian factory was quite different than those of today. All the various buildings in the complex served a function in the distillery and it’s interesting to see how it’s all been transformed. The brickwork also adds a lot of atmosphere to the area, and combined with the gates marks quite specifically what is and what isn’t part of the district. That sense of clearly-definable area gives you an immediate sense of being in a distinct neighbourhood.

    The weekends are bustling, especially in the summer. There’s a couple of restaurants on-site, a wonderful chocolate shop (Soma Chocolates) where luxurious chocolates of the highest calibre are hand-crafted. The only beer you’ll find on tap is from the on-site Mill Street Brewery – the Tankhouse Ale and Denison’s Weissbier are two of Canada’s finest beers. Too bad about the plastic cups and fenced in drinking areas.

    Sunny weekends it’s well worth it to go down there – very happening place.

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  • AlekToronto's Profile Photo

    The Distillery District

    by AlekToronto Written Nov 27, 2003

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    This is a relatively new area that was opened to much press in the spring of 2003.
    The DISTILLERY DISTRICT is a small enclave of buildings that used to house the Gooderham and Worts Distilleries.
    Erected in 1859 this qualifies as a very historic area (for Toronto anyways). The buildings were empty for many years until an enterprising tream of developers came in to clean up the area and the buildings house a motley crew of gallerys, shops and restaurants.
    This is a great area to explore on a weekend or perhaps a weekday evening when it is less crowded and the cobblestone streets lend a slightly romantic ambience.

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    Stop by for a dram

    by Orchid Written Aug 16, 2013
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    The Gooderman & Worts Company supplied the rest of North America and the world with whiskey from this site for over 160 years until operations ceased in the 1990s.

    Fortunately, the red brick Victorian era Industrial buildings and cobbled lanes were preserved and re-birthed as a arts and commerce district, with boutiques, galleries and artists studios and workshops, restaurants and a microbrewery. A policy of 'no franchises' keeps the Starbucks, the McDonalds other blights of commercial homogeneity from from suffocating commerce, keeping the area lively and eclectic.

    We browsed the shops for an hour or so before adjourning to the terrace of the aforesaid microbrewery (Mill Street Brewery) for a refreshing ale or two, and a light lunch.

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    Great for Everyone

    by nelro Written Jan 4, 2008

    the distillery district has something for everyone. it has historic buildings for history buffs, art shoppes for those who lie art, delicoius food for those who like food, and there are often concerts going on.
    the distilery district is a group of industrial buildings, dating from the 1860s. there were owned by Gooderham and Worts, and used to make whiskey. in the 1860s this was the largest distillery in the world. you can still see people make whisky, the old fashioned way.

    it is fun to explore the historic buildings

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    • Beer Tasting
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    Segway Tours

    by kirsty_lamb Written May 14, 2007

    Segways are two wheeled platforms that use gyros to stay upright. Here they have segway tours that teach you how to use the segway, and then take you on a tour of the district. This was a lot of fun!

    They are reasonably easy to use and the tour we took lasted about an hour, but there were different lengths of tours.

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