From tiny seeds an entire city neighbourhood has emerged. The history of the Distillery District began in 1832 when brothers-in-law James Worts and William Gooderham founded the Gooderham and Worts Distillery. In its heyday Gooderham and Worts was acclaimed as the largest distillery in the world. In 1859 rapid growth in the business led to the building of the present day distillery, which has survived intact as the largest and best preserved colection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America.
Despite The Distillery's early success, World War 1 together with Prohibition took a terrible toll on business. This ultimately led to the sale of the Gooderham and Worts distillery in 1923 to Harry C. Hatch who would eventually rename the distillery Hiram Walker - Gooderham and Worts Ltd. In 1990, after 153 years in business the Distillery ceased operations. However, it would quickly find a new life as the number one film location in Canada with more than 1700 films using this magnificent collection of buildings as the perfect backdrop for scenes in many hit films including: Cinderella Man, Chicago, The Recruit, and X-men.
In 2001 Cityscape Holdings Inc., purchased The Distillery later partnering with Dundee Realty Corporation. Their incredible vision for this magnificent 13 acre site encompassing more than 40 historical buildings was to transform The Distillery into a destination place dedicated to arts, culture, and entertainment. In 2003, after an extensive restoration The Distillery opened for business and instantly became a Toronto landmark.
In 2008 a residential component was added to The Distillery for the first time in its history, with the building of the Pure Spirit Condos and Lofts condominium on Mill Street. Two more condominium towers have since been added: Clear Spirit and The Gooderham adding a new vibrancy and new life to this neighbourhood. The Distillery Historic District is an outstanding example of how history and architecture preservation can be achieved while at the same time incorporating new elements that together benefit the entire community.
Set amidst the backdrop of the largest and best preserved Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America The Distillery Historic District is one of Toronto's hottest neighbourhoods. This unique pedestrian only neighbourhood charms you from the moment you step foot on one of the over 600,000 historic red brick pavers purchased from Cleveland to complete the Distillery's pedestrian walkways. No matter how many times you visit The Distillery it's hard not to be in awe of the beautifully restored iconic brick buildings that define this neighbourhood.
The Distillery Historic District is a neighbourhood where you can live, work and play. Right from the start the identity of this neighbourhood has been focused on arts, culture, and entertainment. The many artisans, theatres, restaurants, galleries, cafes and boutique retailers that call this area home all share a passion for their neighbourhood. The Distillery Historic District is a neighbourhood that is clearly proud of its history and has drawn inspiration from its past to help make this one of Toronto's most vibrant places to live, work and play.