A Daytime Date in the Distillery District

gooderham and worts historic distillery district toronto

A scan through all that I've written here this summer indicates that this site has morphed into one dedicated to places to go and things to do in Toronto. This being so, I must apologize to readers from afar, who might not be as interested in this concentration on localized goings-on as they would be about the more universal topics that I used to also include, such as thrift store shopping, decorating, entertaining, cooking and making things.

This change was unintentional and can be chalked up to two things :

One - the loss of our dear cat Eddie at the beginning of the summer. We miss that fellow terribly and, to be honest, simply hanging out at home on the weekends has lost much of its appeal, since his passing. He was a very social cat and was never far from us. Even when asleep, he'd often be doing so in one of our laps. Home was where our cat was, for sure, and everything reminds us of him.

In the past, he would have been right there "helping" me when I made things. As for photographing vintage finds and home decor, there was nothing he loved more than a good opportunity to photobomb. He made "doing nothing" feel like more, and so, we were happy homebodies, spending long summer afternoons in the garden. Now, we've found ourselves going out much more than we used to, and therefore I have many more "out and about" things to write about.

Two - I've had a nice bike that Nick bought me for my birthday about 6 years ago, that I'd hardly ridden. I was afraid to ride on the city streets, which were decidedly not very welcoming to cyclists. However, since city planners have made a concerted effort to get people riding, Toronto is teaming with bike riders. There are safe dedicated lanes for people to ride on throughout the downtown core and riding has become the best way to go. It's awesome, and I love it.

Now I can get Nick to come pretty well anywhere with me if I'm willing to ride there. He's begun asking me "So, where are we riding this weekend" and I've been prepared with a list of interesting places to go.

Which brings me to today's topic -- our visit to The Distillery District, a week ago Saturday.

While I've taken the streetcar there in the wintertime, for the Christmas Market (previously written about here and here), I'd never visited in the summer before. It's located to the east of the city core, while we're over here on the west, so it just wasn't a place that we would previously have driven to, or taken public transit to, in the past. But biking over was a breeze.

Admittedly, I'm extremely tardy to The Distillery District party, but better late than never. What a pretty place it is!

gooderham and worts distillery district sign

↑ "The seeds of Canada's largest 19th-century distilling firm were sown in 1837 when a still was set up on this site to convert surplus grain from an 1832 grist mill into whisky. Exploiting new technologies and commercial opportunities, Gooderham and Worts grew steadily, parallelling Toronto's rise as a manufacturing centre.  With the large stone distillery erected in 1859-61 and brick malthouse, kilns, warehouses, shops and offices built before 1900, this complex is an outstanding example of Victorian industrial design in terms of integrity historical associations and aesthetic qualities." ↑

old grain shaft in distillery district toronto

red brick green trim in toronto distillery district historic site

walking around distillery district toronto


flower box distillery district toronto

in the distillery district toronto

musicians in distillery district toronto

We had lunch at The Mill Street Brewery. I had an original twist on Eggs Benedict, which I see on their menu, is not their usual way of making it. The version I had included wilted greens, a cheese biscuit and a light touch with the Hollandaise Sauce, and was really good. Maybe it was a Daily special? Nick had the burger and fries, which he said were very nice. we also each had a glass of beer that had been brewed right there

me 1

nick at restaurant

at mill street brewery restaurant distillery district toronto

Their calendar indicates that, in addition to having the opportunity to walk the cobblestone pathways, admire the beautiful old buildings, shop in the local independent shops, and enjoy the bars and restaurants, there is something special going on in The Distillery District pretty well all the time!

While we were there, there was an artist/artisan festival on. Drawing from talent from all over Ontario, ArtFest Ontario travels to different locations within the province. It is clearly a well-curated market featuring high quality art and handmade things.

in distillery district toronto during artfest ontario

artfest ontario at distillery district toronto

toronto distillery district historic buildings


toronto distillery district during artfest ontario

farrucas duo performing distillery district toronto

farrucas duo performing in distillery district toronto

↑ We very much enjoyed the Latin music skillfully performed by Farrucas Duo. ↑

photography printed on reclaimed wood by melissa kristensen smith at artfest ontario in distillery district toronto

photographer melissa kristensen smith with her work printed on reclaimed wood at artfest ontario in distillery district toronto

↑ Photographer, Melissa of Kristensen Smith with some of her pieces, many printed on reclaimed wood, giving them such an interesting and unique look. ↑

handmade leather wallets by philamain at artfest ontario distillery district toronto

handmade leather pieces by philamain at artfest ontario in distillery district toronto

↑ This artisan from Philamain made these beautiful bags. ↑

artwork by tony taylor at artfest ontario in distillery district toronto

↑ By Toronto artist, Tony Taylor. ↑

cooks gourmet at artfest ontario in distillery district toronto

↑ Nick was drawn to this booth of gourmet condiments by Cook's Gourmet as though a magnet had pulled him over. ↑

art by ivan stone hide art fest ontario in distillery district toronto

↑ "Stone and Hide" is the booth of multi-talented artist Ivan. ↑

historic buildings in old toronto near distillery district

↑ There are more historic buildings just beyond the boundaries of The Distillery District that are yet to be restored. I wonder what they'll become. ↑

As for getting back to posting about other types of things, I plan to get there and certainly have stuff to show you, including a bunch of thrifted things that I love, a crocheted piece, and a couple of recipes. But before those make an appearance, I do still have a bit of a backlog of "outs and abouts" to report on. I hope you'll stick with me!

Thank you very much for reading. I hope you have a great weekend.
xo loulou
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4 Responses to A Daytime Date in the Distillery District

  1. Donna Yuzwalk says:

    I’m new to your blog and I love the Toronto content. As a Winnipeg-born New Zealander, I managed to live and work in Toronto for a few years ten years ago and loved it: the old neighbourhoods, the multicultural atmosphere, the hot summers, the great public transport to name a few. I felt I had to return to NZ for family reasons but I still miss my life in Toronto. Your wonderful photographs and commentary enable me to continue the explorations from a distance so thanks so much for your work.

    • Loulou says:

      Hi Donna :) Thanks very much for your note. I was born in Winnipeg too!

      I’m glad you’re enjoying what I’m doing here. If there’s a specific place in Toronto you’d like me to write about, let me know and I’ll try to get there!

      I’ve never been, but imagine that New Zealand is also a good place to live.

      With regards,

  2. I love the Distillery District, looks like you and Nick had a great daytime date there! The summer is a great time to go, but I find getting there a little challenging – especially living so far west. But definitely worth the trip!

    • Loulou says:

      It is a challenging place to get to from the west side of the city, for sure. I met a friend up at the subway once and we took the bus down, to go to the Christmas Market. It took ages and I remember we were so hot all bundled up for a winter afternoon outdoors, stuck inside a crowded bus! But it was gorgeous when we got there.

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