Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Distillery District

For years, I've looked at The Distillery District from the GO train and have wanted to explore this niche of The Big City so today Skip and I finally ventured there. We thought it would be a nice way to spend our anniversary of 15 years together and 12 years married.

Gooderham and Worts Distillery was started in the 1830s and operated continuously until the 1990s when a conglomerate bought the company and ceased the operations at this site. The area then found new life as the number one film location in Canada and the second largest film location outside of Hollywood. More than 1700 films have used this site.

About 10 years ago some 'visionary' developers took a derelict collection of Victorian Industrial buildings east of downtown Toronto that had been pronounced a national historic site and transformed it into a place that would excite and inspire the senses -- here people could experience new ideas, new foods, new designs and new ways of living and working.

One of the first things we saw was some art work displayed out on the sidewalk outside a studio.

On closer inspection I noted that it was made entirely of puzzle (Rubik's-like)  cubes!

I say 'Rubik's-like' because these cubes are a Chinese replica which not surprisingly are much less expensive but are indeed more durable. Rather than using stick-on squares of coloured paper used in the Rubik's cubes, the plastic in Chinese models are permanently coloured – meaning they won’t wear away or come off and ruin the amazing effect.

We ventured into the Cube Works
studio where there were many more similar artworks on display.

Wouldn't they be great to knit?

One of Cube Works' big claims to fame was their Guiness Book of World Records setting 'Sistine Chapel' which was constructed from over 250,000 cubes. It wasn't on display there but the details were featured on a poster.
Other interesting pieces were these mesh figures which, when lit properly, cast a very realistic shadow on the wall behind them.
They were even 'signed' by the artist with wire woven into the thigh.

I am always so fascinated by how artists conceptualize pieces and render them using different materials. CubeWorks is definitely a place to visit on any trip to this neighbourhood.

Being retirees, Skip and I can explore some of these downtown areas on weekdays thus avoiding a lot of crowds and traffic congestion. There is a big open area with tables and chairs.

The CN Tower can be seen in the distance from where we're enjoying a coffee before lunch.

This group of people was doing the Segway tour of The Distillery District as Segway Ontario is based there.

How fun! I think I'll put that on my 'bucket list'.

For lunch, we ate at Café Uno.

which very much reminded us of Zeste, a favourite restaurant of ours on South Padre Island. 

Here, I was eagerly awaiting my turkey meatloaf with sides of roasted sweet potato, penne alfredo and salad greens. Yum!

After lunch did some more wandering around, making note of some other eateries we'd like to try next time we visit the area.
 Soon it was time to start making our way back to Union Station. We found the Esplanade by going through a little park directly west of Mill Street. This easternmost part of the Esplanade was quiet and shady and had lots of places for dogs to run, children to play and grassy spots to sit.
What a nice way to spend the day together.

Happy anniversary, Honey. I'm sure glad we found each other. ♥


  1. Happy Anniversary Geri! DH and I have never done anything in TO but I would luv to check out the St Lawrence Market sometime,

  2. I would also recommend the Mill Street Brewery, as it's got great atmosphere, good food and of course, good beer. (They make my favourite, the Mill St. Organic Lager.)

    Oh, and Happy Anniversary!