Discover the Distillery District: a must-visit destination in downtown Toronto!

Once the home of a large whiskey distillery, Toronto’s Distillery District is now a historic area filled with unique things to do, see, eat and drink! Located a 15-minute drive from the Anndore House, it offers visitors a unique blend of history, culture, and contemporary charm. Here’s a comprehensive guide so that you can make the most of your visit to Toronto’s Distillery District!

History of Toronto’s Distillery District

The Distillery District is steeped in rich history, dating back to the early 19th century. Originally the site of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, it was once the largest distillery in the British Empire and is now a National Historic Site of Canada. Founded in 1832, the distillery produced whisky, and the area soon became a bustling hub of industrial activity.

Photo credit: City of Toronto

Photo credit: City of Toronto

In the early 2000s, the area underwent a significant transformation. Developers turned the abandoned distillery buildings into a pedestrian-only village dedicated to arts, culture, and entertainment. Today, the Distillery District is a vibrant neighbourhood, seamlessly blending its industrial heritage with modern urban living.

Best Food in Toronto’s Distillery District

Foodies will find a culinary paradise in the Distillery District. The area boasts an array of dining options, from cozy cafes to upscale restaurants, all offering a diverse range of cuisines.

Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie

This French-inspired restaurant offers a delightful menu of classic French dishes with a contemporary twist. The stylish interior and exquisite pastry selection make it a must-visit.

El Catrin Destileria

For those craving Mexican cuisine, El Catrin delivers with its vibrant decor and flavourful dishes. The extensive tequila and mezcal menu is perfect for pairing with their authentic tacos and ceviches.

Pure Spirits

Seafood lovers will appreciate the fresh oysters and seafood dishes at Pure Spirits. The rustic charm and extensive wine list make it a popular spot for both locals and tourists.

Mill Street Brew Pub

Located in the heart of the district, Mill Street Brew Pub offers a range of craft beers brewed on-site. Pair your brew with classic pub fare for a relaxed dining experience – and it’s a great place to catch the game!

Things to Do in the Distillery District

Beyond its culinary delights, the Distillery District offers a plethora of activities to enjoy. Art galleries, boutique shops, and historical tours are just a few ways to immerse yourself in the district’s unique atmosphere.

Art Galleries

The district is home to several art galleries showcasing contemporary works by local and international artists. The Corkin Gallery and Arta Gallery are particularly noteworthy. The Illuminarium – part art gallery and part science centre – offers guests a one-of-a-kind, interactive audio-visual experience, and is great for families!


Explore the charming boutiques that line the cobblestone streets. From fashion to home decor, the shops offer unique finds that you won’t see anywhere else – be sure to check out the legendary St. Lawrence Market! 

Historic Tours

Learn more about the Distillery District’s fascinating history through guided tours. The Distillery District Heritage Tour provides an in-depth look at the area’s past and its transformation over the years.

Spirit of York Distillery Co.

Experience the art of distilling firsthand at Spirit of York. Take a tour of the distillery, sample their spirits, and learn about the craft of distillation.

Events in the Distillery District of Old Toronto

The Distillery District is a hub of activity year-round, hosting a variety of events that cater to all interests. Here are some events that you can look forward to:

Artfest Toronto

Held multiple times a year, Artfest Toronto features works by Canadian artists and artisans and is held all over the city, including the Distillery District. It’s a great opportunity to purchase original art, jewelry, and crafts!

Distillery Summer Market

Running from May 18th to September 2nd from 11 AM – 8 PM, this daily market offers fresh local produce, baked goods, and handmade products. It’s the perfect way to spend a leisurely afternoon.

Summer Music in the Distillery District

Enjoy live music performances throughout the summer. The series showcases local talent, adding to the district’s vibrant cultural scene.

The Distillery District is a dynamic blend of history, culture, and modern attractions, making it a must-visit destination for anyone staying at the Anndore House in downtown Toronto. Whether you’re savouring exquisite cuisine, exploring art galleries, shopping at unique boutiques, or enjoying one of the many events, the Distillery District offers something for everyone.

Plan your visit today and discover why this historic area continues to captivate and inspire all who wander its charming streets!

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