Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Distillery District's Dark Side

The Distillery District is one of a few places I visited during last weekend's Doors Open Toronto. This heritage area can be found near Parliament and Lakeshore, just off Mill Street.

Down at the Distillery the doors had been thrown open to buildings and secret areas few of us ever get to see inside. Within the dusty Scale Tank Loft we found the tanks and scales used by the government to measure and ultimately tax the booze which flowed out of Gooderham & Worts until the 1990's.

We wandered into the open Rack House where booze was stored for 2 years at a time until it was allowed to be sold, another government intervention.

I was most excited to get into the Kilns Building and Tunnel but regrettably didn't have the time to wait in the long line leading down into these secret catacombs.

Instead, my friends and I wandered through the street level galleries, like my favourite the Monte Clark Gallery, and found some artists on the upper levels who willingly threw their doors open too. Then, a bit thirsty from the dusty air and dry heat, we stopped in at the Mill Strett Brewery for a beverage and a bite. (I had a ceasar but I do love their Organic beer).

I'd gone down with a couple friends since one had told me she'd never seen the Distillery. I'm still amazed when I hear from Torontonians that they've never visited this part of the city which boasts North America's largest example of Victorian Industrial architecture and is a popular spot for filming in Toronto.

It's lovely but packed during the day with pedestrian only sidewalks brimming with people and pooches. Given its eerie history it's fun to wander through the Distillery's dark and empty pathways by moonlight too.

Photos 1, 2 and 4 by blogTO author and photographerMike Rotenberg, photos no. 3 by me/sookie. Story originally posted on blogTO.

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