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Distillery District: Discover the Charm of Toronto in 2024

Distillery District: Discover the Charm of Toronto in 2024

Your trip to Toronto will not be complete without visiting the Distillery District, the small area east of downtown. Mostly known for its restaurants and cuisines, this pedestrian-only district is also one of the city’s historic sites.

Let’s explore this historic area and uncover its secrets.

History of Distillery District Toronto

The story of this district dates back to 1832 when two British immigrants (James Wort and William Gooderham) decided to construct a 22-meter brick windmill next to the Toronto Bay. That was the first moment that changed the destiny of this area and made it into what it is now known as the historic Distillery District.

The windmill was just the beginning. In 1837, Goodman, a businessman, built a distillery in the area and produced his first spirit, whisky. It took almost 10 years for the family to grow this business, but in 1850, the distillery became fully functional.

Now, we can uncover the secret behind this area’s name. When the business grew, the area became known as Distillery District.

You may wonder what happened to the old windmill. Unfortunately, it was demolished in the early 1960s, and new buildings took its place. However, these red-brick buildings are also considered part of the history of this area, giving it a Victorian look.

The Gooderham and Worts distillery complex finished its story in 1990 when it was closed after 153 years of production. However, the area is still known after its name, and the complex is preserved as one of Canada’s National Historic Sites.

Things to Do in Distillery District Toronto

Carrying an incredible history, the Distillery District offers many enjoyable things to do. Let’s check out some of the top activities you can do in this charming area.

1. Walk Down Trinity Street

You can find many great places on Trinity Street; the wonderful cobblestone street spans between Distillery Lane and Mill Street. Most of the great restaurants, cafes, and galleries are located on this street, so you won’t miss anything if you start your journey from this spot.

Besides that, the Victorian homes on the sides of the street and the old historic clock on this street can take you back in time and help you feel the history of the area. 

2.Enjoy a Meal at its Restaurants 

Distillery District is home to many great restaurants, from Italian to French. Even if you are a fan of seafood, Pure Spirits is a 4-star seafood restaurant located on Tank House Lane. El Catrin Destileria offers Mexican food, and BOKU cooks delicious Japanese foods and drinks. 

As you can see, there are plenty of restaurants in this area; you can feed your appetite with foods from around the world. Furthermore, since the area is known for its distillery, there are also many great bars. Therefore, you can also enjoy Toronto’s nightlife at Distillery District bars.

Distillery District

3. Visit an Art Gallery 

The number of art galleries and theaters in the district is remarkable, and it is definitely one of the most fascinating things to do in the Distillery District. Plenty of art galleries are available here to visit. So, if you are a fan of modern art, take your time and visit one of the art galleries in the area. Here are some of the most popular galleries: 

  • Eskimo Art Gallery,
  • Arta Gallery, 
  • Proof Studio Gallery,
  • Gallery Indigeno,
  • Thompson Landry Gallery. 

You can check out the list of all galleries in this area on the official website of the Distillery District.

4. Take a Picture with Artworks 

When you walk down the streets of Distillery District, you can see how artistic this area is. There are many sculptures and artworks on your way, so you can capture wonderful photos in this area.

Distillery District

5. Shop Gifts 

Do some retail therapy! Like every other district in this city, you can find great street shops selling clothes, jewelry, bags, accessories, and anything else you imagine. But handmade products are more popular. You can buy them as a gift from this area or just for something to remember from your journey through history. 

6. Join an Event 

No matter in which season you visit Distillery District, you always have a chance to find an interesting event or festival to join. Don’t miss the Christmas market. The streets will be glittering with vivid designs and colorful lights. 

If you want to learn more about the available events in the area, check out the events calendar on the official website of Distillery District. 

7. Enjoy Live Performances 

Music players always add a great vibe to the area. Wherever you go, you can hear the sound of music, adding charm to the area. Apart from music, you may find live performances occasionally. These artistic performances usually take place in front of the theatres. 

Street performances are free to watch. People usually pay as much as they want. So, you can enjoy it as one of the free things to do in Toronto

8. Take a Ghost Tour 

Are you a fan of night crawls and ghost movies? You can join the Haunted Walk tour in the Distillery District. It is one of the fun tours in Toronto that takes place at night. It will always be exciting to explore the area at night and discover the dark side of the city.

9. Taste Ice Cream Distillery District

Do you have a sweet tooth? Then, you can find delicious ice creams in this area. Don’t forget SOMA chocolate maker, the famous chocolate shop on Tank House Lane, which offers wonderful chocolate ice creams. Scooped by Demetres is another place to enjoy mouthwatering ice cream.

10. Visit St. Lawrence Market 

Dating back to the early 19th century, St. Lawrence Market is one of the oldest markets in Toronto. It is a bustling marketplace where locals and tourists alike can find a wide variety of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and artisanal products.

The Farmer’s Market is open on Saturdays from 5 am to 3 pm. So, if you want to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t miss this opportunity to visit St. Lawrence Market, which is a tourist attraction and a local shop. 

You should also note that this market is not held exactly inside the Distillery District. It’s almost 850 meters to the west, which may take a 10-minute walk. 

How to Get to Distillery District Toronto?

The Distillery District is considered part of downtown Toronto, which is one of the best neighborhoods in Toronto. It takes up to 30 minutes to take from Adelaide Street, where you can find some of the best studio apartments in Toronto, to the Distillery District.

Therefore, if you stay in downtown Toronto, you can walk to this enjoyable district. If you happen to be in another area, you can take the buses of the 121D line, which has a stop at Mill Street, right at the beginning of the Trinity cobblestone street. 

Other buses that have stops close to this area are 65 and 365. 

Furthermore, if you want to go to this district with your own car, you should note that the area is pedestrian-only. So, you should find parking outside this area and take a short walk.

Bottom Line 

The Distillery District is an icon in Toronto and a perfect choice for those trying to break from the boring everyday grind. Treat yourself to a great dinner or a good night out at the theatre–you never know what sort of fun you’ll get before you get out and see for yourself!


1. Why is it Called Distillery District?

As the name indicates, the area was once home to the largest distillery in the world. It was years before the area became a residential district. Now, this historic area is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Toronto. People come to visit the historical buildings and enjoy great meals and bears. 

2. How Big is the Distillery District?

The Distillery District in Toronto covers an area of approximately 13 acres, making it a sizable and immersive destination for visitors to explore. 

3. Is the Distillery District a Good Place to Live?

If you want to find distillery district condos for rent, you should consider that the houses in this district are considered expensive. Furthermore, the area is a tourist attraction, so you should consider it to be crowded and noisy at certain events or even seasons. However, the area has a lot of charm and safety, too. So, it’s all dependent on your preferences to choose this area for living.

Want to Stay in a Short Term Rental Near Distillery District?

Moreover, if you are going to stay in Toronto for a short time, you can try one of our affordable and yet luxury stays:

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