Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The History of the Distillery District
Recently I went to the theatre in Toronto’s Distillery District which is a national historic site located on the eastern edge of downtown Toronto. It is a complex consisting of a limestone distillery building and a number of red brick buildings interconnected by lanes of red brick pavement. The red brick buildings seem to surround you and radiate a pleasant feeling of warmth, even on a cold winter day. The Distillery District is the home of theatres, art galleries, shops, restaurants, and a small brewery.
The historic Distillery District, which once housed the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, is North America's largest and best preserved collection of Victorian era industrial architecture.
Gooderham and Worts originally had a wheat processing business in Toronto, and when faced with a surplus of wheat in 1837, Gooderham expanded the company’s operations to include brewing and distilling of alcoholic beverages. Although the company kept its milling operations, the distilling of spirits became its main business. The distillery complex was started in 1859, and by 1862 enough alcohol was produced to serve one quarter of the Canadian consumption. In its time, the Gooderham and Worts Distillery played an important role in the growth and wealth of both the city and nation. In 1877 the Gooderham and Worts Distillery was the largest distillery in the world.
After 153 years of continuous production, the Gooderham & Worts Distillery finally closed its operations in 1990.
During the 1990s, the Distillery area became the number one film location in Canada, and the second largest film location outside of Hollywood. Over the years, more than 1700 films used the site.