It doesn't take long for a visitor to realize that most of Toronto's activities focus around eating and drinking. A visitor may also notice the stark architecture that competes for space in the sky. Many of Toronto's older buildings aren't showcased like in Vancouver or Quebec City and are hidden in the towering shadows.
It was a relief to discover Toronto's Distillery District with the use of my Afar.com app, which also helped me weave myself from my Westin Harbour Castle Hotel to unique Toronto spots highlighted on Afar.com.
At the Distillery District within these reclaimed industrial buildings, you'll find vintage shops, many patios serving beer and wine in the sun, and specialty stores featuring chocolate, coffee, housewares and even a leather-shaped rhino that can be used as a stool or makeshift desk. Each building also has the year it was built written on a plaque hung on the exterior and an explanation of what the building's original purpose was.
Wander around or go for a distillery tour. Be sure to walk in any door you're unsure of; you'll be pleasantly surprised.
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Toronto Christmas Markets in the Distillery District
Over the past few years, the historic Distillery District has become as known for its Christmas Markets as it has for its cobblestoned, pedestrian laneways.
Browse through artisan booths for that handcrafted Christmas present, sip on mulled wine or warm up in one of the beer gardens (heated, of course).
Throughout the first two weeks of December, there are a multitude of events including choir sing-a-longs, pet photos and even a world caroling challenge.
I recommend going during the week as crowds swell in evenings and weekends.
I'm not one to reinvent the wheel, so I'll keep this short, and then you can use the link below to learn more. The Distillery District is a place to visit in Toronto if you want a taste of the past. No cars are allowed, the food and drink is eclectic and fun, there are boutiques to satisfy all desires, and the cafes and art galleries pretty much round out the experience. Just go, you will enjoy the experience. :)
Wander over to The Distillery Historic District of Toronto to enjoy some of the best preserved Victorian-era industrial architecture. Also scattered about are some relics of the Distillery's past. While you are there try out Balzac's Coffee or enjoy shopping and a meal at one of the several restaurants in the old renovated buildings.
Stroll through 19th century Toronto in the Distillery District
In Toronto’s pedestrian-only Distillery District the continent’s best-preserved collection of Victorian industrial architecture has been brilliantly restored. The district offers visitors a glimpse into the 19th century amongst modern-day boutiques, art galleries and restaurants.
Located just east of the city’s downtown area, the Distillery District was once home to Gooderham & Worts, the largest distillery in the British Empire. Though the distillery eventually stopped making whisky in the late 1950s, it carried on producing rum and industrial grade alcohol until 1990. During the ’90s, the Distillery found a second life as the number one film location in Canada, and the second largest film location outside of Hollywood.
The Distillery District was officially reopened to the public as an entertainment and historical district in 2003, and soon became one of Canada’s top tourist attractions. More than 80 independent design shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and art galleries found homes inside the former distillery buildings, which were carefully restored by hundreds of tradesman. A traditional outdoor European Christmas market attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each holiday season. Unique street sculptures and fresh greenery decorate the old cobblestone streets.
What was once the site of The Gooderham and Worts Distillery representing the largest and best preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America, is now a dramatic fusion of old and new. The Distillery District is now home to some of Toronto's best restaurants and retail shops including Cluny Bistro, El Catrin Mexican Resto, Jacob & Sebastian Beauty Boutique, Menswear powerhouse boutique Gotstyle and Soulpepper Theatre company to name a few.