The Distillery District opened in 2003 on the eastern side of Downtown Toronto in the buildings formerly housing the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, and quickly became the spot to be in summertime Toronto.
The complex of monumental stone and brick buildings were constructed between about 1857 and 1900 and are among the finest examples of Victorian Industrial Design in existence. While the site has been used for many film and TV projects, recently the District opened as a venue for independent artists and designer shops.
Among the studios you will find offerings like handmade furniture, clothing, jewelry, paper products, calligraphic artists, painters and sculptors. Be aware that becuase some of these shops are so small, many do not accept credit cards or checks, so bring cash. Have fun wandering from space to space, and enjoy the opportunity to engage the artists themselves about their work!
Several retail shops are scattered about. One offers funky, Euro designed housewares, another high-end audio/visual home theatre equipment. There is also a coffee shop, pastry shop and several large restaurants -- The Boiler House, Pure Spirits and Perigree (which I hope to visit in the near future . . . ).
Along the brick-lined walkways in warm weather, the restaurants have large outdoor patio eating and drinking areas, many featuring live music!
Parking can be tight on the streets, but on-site parking can be had for CN$5, a steal for the parking aggravation you'll be saving yourself.
Did I mention that other than parking, admission is free? That's a very good deal! Let's hope this is one new Toronto attraction that sticks around for a while -- it's a great addition to the scene!