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Distillery District – Toronto
If you haven’t already heard, Toronto had a really tough week. On Monday a deranged young man used a rental van to mow down pedestrians on Yonge St., one of Canada’s busiest streets, killing 10 people and injuring 14 others.
Between this and the bus crash that killed 16 members of the Humboldt junior hockey team in Saskatchewan at the beginning of April, a lot of people in Canada are feeling kinda numb at the moment and wondering what the hell’s next.
In fact I seriously thought about pulling this post and maybe taking a week or two off.
No. Instead I’d prefer to focus on all of the good there is to find in one of my favourite Canadian cities.
So let’s take a stroll through the historic distillery district on the south-eastern edge of downtown Toronto.
Designated as a National Historic Site in 1988 this former industrial neighbourhood is now a pedestrian-only attraction encompassing about ten streets worth of the old Gooderham and Worts whiskey distillery.
Containing over 40 heritage status buildings now converted into trendy shops, restaurants, and art galleries, the District is home to the largest collection of Victorian era industrial buildings in North America.
Quite impressive for a city that was known for being ruthless about demolishing its old buildings during construction booms of recent decades.
In later years they were bought out by long-time rival Hiram Walker but it is said that at their peak in the late 1860’s Gooderham and Worts was the largest distillery in the world; producing up to 2,000,000 gallons of their finest annually.
Certainly not unplanned, their proximity to a key railway line and the Toronto harbor on lake Ontario, made it easy to get their product to markets across North America and the rest of the world, and contributed greatly to their success.
Walking around this neighbourhood you can almost imagine that unmistakable sour smell of distilling whiskey lingering over everything on a hot summer day.
If you ever visit Toronto you’ll find the Distillery District to be a beautiful well-preserved part of the city’s history that is well worth checking out.
And of course there are lots of lovely doors and other interesting features to discover.
As always, thanks so much for dropping by 🙂
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