Founded in 1832 by Gooderham & Worts, the Distillery District located just east of downtown Toronto began as a windmill in the wilderness and later grew to become the largest distillery in the world by 1860. It once provided over 2 million gallons of whisky for export. Today the National Geographic magazine list it as a “top pick” in Canada for Travellers. Situated on 13 acres, the district is the largest collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture in North America which includes over forty heritage buildings.
Purchased by Cityscape Holdings Inc. in 2001, the Distillery was renovated and transformed into a vibrant destination for culture, art, music, food and entertainment. It reopened to the public in 2003 as a pedestrian-oriented area with a bike lane. The District is a fusion of the old and new, it has the feel of Europe’s walking and patio districts but with the excitement of creativity as New York City’s SoHo.
The new owners has refused to lease any of the retail and restaurant space to chains or franchises rather they have opened their doors to artists and tenants with a “creative focus”. It’s cobbled streets date back to the early 19th century and lined with more than 80 shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. The area is a combination of commercial, residential, entertainment facilities and art galleries. It also houses the well-known Mill Street Brewery.
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