Drinking at Toronto’s Distillery District

The Distillery District is a pedestrian village with boutiques, art galleries, ateliers, cafes, and restaurants. It’s the largest and best-preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America. The area is compact, with 10 brick-paved streets and 40 heritage buildings of the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery. It’s a great place to visit on a sunny afternoon. Stroll around the streets, admire the art installations, visit the shops, drink some coffee or maybe a craft beer. Throughout the year, the district has special celebrations and events such as the artisans in the Distillery Craft Shows, Contact Photography Festival, the Luminato Festival, and the Distillery Christmas Market.

The Gooderham and Worts Distillery was founded in 1832. It grew from a small windmill to the largest distillery of the British Empire. The oldest building in the complex is the Stone Distillery built in 1861. Other buildings soon followed as business expanded. The district grew larger each year until the beginning of the World War One and the prohibition legislation in 1916. After that, it began its gradual downfall until the site was abandoned in 1990. After 158 years of industrial activity, the magnificent industrial complex was shut down. More than a decade later the area was revitalized to become an art and cultural centre. The revitalization process resulted in a pleasant location that kept the original industrial aspect while at the same time gained a creative focus.

Trinity Street at the Distillery District
Trinity Street at the Distillery District
Trinity Street at the Distillery District
Trinity Street at the Distillery District
Tank House Lanet at the Distillery District
Tank House Lane at the Distillery District
Tank House Lane at the Distillery District
Tank House Lane at the Distillery District
Public art installation at the Distillery District
Public art installation at the Distillery District
Trinity Street at the Distillery District
Trinity Street at the Distillery District
Old truck at the Distillery District
Old truck at the Distillery District

Mill Street Brew Pub

The Mill Street Brewery received many awards for its craft beer. The microbrewery was founded in the Distillery District, and it was named after its original location at 55 Mill Street. The Mill Street Brew Pub is the perfect place to relax after wandering around the village. The pub offers a choice of 54 especial beers plus 6 seasonal beers. What I loved most about the pub was the beer flight sampler that comes with 4 different beers of your choice. My favorite beer was the Tankhouse Ale. The service is fantastic. As soon as I arrived, the waiter offered me a free sample of one of the seasonal beers. The food is great and cheap. I had the Brewers Platter and the loaded nachos. The size of the loaded nachos is insane!

The area is a little far from downtown. The best way to get there is by bus or by tram. Don’t worry if you’re too tipsy to take the bus home afterwards. There’s taxi service at the entrance.

Mill Street Brew Pub
Mill Street Brew Pub
Mill Street Brew Pub
Mill Street Brew Pub
6oz beer sample at Mill Street Brew Pub
6oz beer sample at Mill Street Brew Pub
Brewers Platter at Mill Street Brew Pub
Brewers Platter at Mill Street Brew Pub
Loaded nachos at Mill Street Brew Pub
Loaded nachos at Mill Street Brew Pub
8oz beer sample at Mill Street Brew Pub
8oz beer sample at Mill Street Brew Pub

When I left at night, the place was illuminated, and I walked around once more to take more pictures. The stores were closed, but the place gained a new life. People were starting to arrive to enjoy their after work happy hours with their friends.

The Distillery District at night
The Distillery District at night
The Distillery District at night
The Distillery District at night

Other places to visit

SOMA Chocolatemaker

SOMA transformed the former whisky-aging tank house into an artisan chocolate factory. It offers chocolate truffles with creative flavors on the menu. Try the Spicy Mayan hot chocolate or the Balsamic Vinegar chocolate truffle. The place also serves a delicious gelato with authentic flavors.

Balzac’s Coffee
Balzac’s has transformed the circa 1895 Pump House into a Parisian style café. The exposed brick walls contrast with the burlesque decor and the giant vintage chandelier. Most people go there because of the cool atmosphere rather than for the coffee. During the summer there are tables outside. Try something different from your everyday plain black coffee like the organic hot chocolate or the almond milk little. While you drink your coffee, take advantage of the free charging areas.
The Distillery Sunday Market

Every Sunday from June to  September the Distillery District houses the Farmers Market. Shop for fresh, locally-grown, artisanal products. Buy maple syrup from local families and help support the local economy.

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