The Distillery District Neighbourhood contains the largest and finest preservation of Victorian Industrial Architecture within North America. Originating back to the 1800’s, the area began as the James Worts and William Gooderham Distillery. At its prime, this distillery was the largest in the world. However, with the impacts of World War 1 and the prohibition, the distillery went under, being sold to another company until 1990 when the business ceased operations all together.
21 of the buildings that were the original distillery have remained intact and preserved within the 13 acres of original property. In 1988 the area was designated a historical site of Canada, however without operations, these buildings, surrounded by warehouses and demolished lots were used only for by the film industry. The area turned into the top film location in Canada, offering film locations to movies such as Chicago, Cinderella Man, X-men and the Recruit. In 2001 the distillery was re-purchased with the end result entailing the restoration and development of the area with a local and tourist destination in mind. In 2003 the Distillery District officially opened and instantly became a Toronto landmark, so much so that the destination has been coined as a top pick in Canada to visit by National Geographic Magazine. In 2008, the surrounding area became a focal point for many people as residential development began to take place.
This pedestrian and bicycle only neighbourhood offers historic brick streets throughout the walkways of the restored buildings. Located just east of downtown, within the streets of Parliament, Mill Street and Cherry Street, the area offers a blended neighbourhood that offers non-franchised boutiques with art, culture and entertainment in mind. With over 70 micro and locally owned establishments, the distillery district offers space for many cultural, entertainment and educational venues, as well as markets to take place.
Outdoor artwork can be seen scattered throughout the neighbourhood, coined as ‘Sculpture Park’. Surrounded by many local artists’ development space as well as 22 galleries of these local artists, many tourists and locals walk the streets enjoying the neighbourhood through all seasons. Education is key within the framework of the development of the neighbourhood. Offering the George Brown School for Performing Arts, a Voice Integrative School for grades 1-8, the Deaf Culture Centre and the Distillery District Early Learning Centre, many families find this neighbourhood ideal.
Thus far, 8 new high-rise condominium buildings have been constructed within the neighbourhood of the Distillery District. The square footage ranges based on the building, all offering amenities such as a gym, sauna and public entertainment space. Current demographics of the area include young and middle aged individuals and couples, with a large European decent population.
New to the neighbourhood is the Pan Am games athlete’s village, offering the neighbourhood and their local BIA the unique opportunity to host many of the worlds’ greatest athletes. The continual growth and demand for this neighbourhood entices many residents to have this neighbourhood as their ideal residential destination.