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Distillery Historic District

Hot Shopping: Rice-y Proposition

photo by Gizelle Lau

Just a few months ago, Toronto’s first sake brewery, the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, opened shop in the Distillery Historic District. Using fresh spring water from northern Ontario, the brewery distills a variety of sakes on-site, including a Junmai-style blend—an unpasteurized “pure rice” version of the Japanese beverage that’s not widely available in North America. Drop in to see the distillation process in action and sample the freshly pressed or aged sakes at the tasting bar. Should you like what you sip, the retail shop offers up the company’s sake and related ephemera.

Weekend Roundup: Canada Day Edition

Our national pride soars on Canada Day (photo by Will Spaetzle)

We’re all-Canadian for this edition of the roundup, as Canada’s 144th birthday is celebrated throughout the city (and nation-wide). On Friday, July 1, check out these fun-for-the-whole-family events and activities.

> Get up early and head north to Downsview Park for a special Canada Day breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. If you’re lucky enough to have tickets, you’ll be certain to return in the afternoon for a much-anticipated concert by the Tragically Hip, with special guests Broken Social Scene, Buck 65 and others.

> Harbourfront Centre is always busy on summer weekends, and this one is no exception, with Canada Day festivities—everything from a strawberry “culinary marathon” to a performance by Esthero—happening all day long.

> A favourite long weekend event, the annual Toronto Ribfest takes over Centennial Park. Live music and kid-friendly attractions keep the whole family entertained, but the real draw, of course, are the meaty barbecue offerings from some of North America’s best “ribbers.”

> Head to Yonge-Dundas Square for something a little different—the downtown venue hosts the fifth annual Multicultural Canada Day Celebration, presented by the Community Folk Art Council of Toronto. Starting at noon, this spirited party features music, dancing and more from a variety of cultures. Be sure to be hanging around at 7 p.m., when the special Bollywood dance party kicks off.

> And, of course, Canada Day wouldn’t be complete without a colourful fireworks display. The city’s biggest show takes place over Lake Ontario’s shore at Ontario Place, where free grounds admission makes finding an ideal viewing spot even easier this year. There are also crowd-pleasing fireworks displays occurring to the east (at Ashbridges Bay), the west (at Centennial Park), the north (at Mel Lastman Square) and even further north (at Canada’s Wonderland).

If you have any energy remaining, the rest of the weekend provides ample opportunity for entertainment, too!

> The TD Toronto Jazz Festival continues through to the end of the weekend, with headline performances by the likes of The Roots (on Friday night), Bootsy Collins (Saturday) and vocal powerhouse Nikki Yanofsky (Sunday)

> A distinctive culinary event comes to the Distillery Historic District on Saturday—Food Truck Eats gathers mobile fare purveyors from Toronto and elsewhere in southern Ontario, all offering samples of street fare such as tacos, poutine, smoked meat and more.

> One of Toronto’s biggest parties, the world-famous Pride Parade, marches down Church Street on Sunday afternoon, in a vibrant celebration of diversity and acceptance.

Contact Curated: Distillery Historic District

This year’s Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival features exhibitions at more than 200 venues across the city. Make the most of your festival experience by concentrating your gallery-hopping within specific Toronto neighbourhoods, such as the Distillery Historic District.

Shai Kremer's Turkish Railroad Station

Julie M. Gallery
Shai Kremer: Fallen Empires (May 5 to June 12)

Monumental ruins document the effect of imperial dominance on Israel’s architectural landscape in this series of images at Julie M. Gallery. Kremer explores the scarred terrain’s representation of cultural conflict, physical manifestations of power and resistance, and the normalization of violence.

Arta Gallery
Laura Carnie, Bob Carnie, Mark Freedman and Dennis Lalonde: Land Escapes (April 29 to May 15)

An examination of the power of perspective, and how the landscape can be viewed differently depending on varying attitudes and perceptions, which are constantly changing. This collection at Arta Gallery transitions from the natural beauty of the landscape to a haunting post-apocalyptic vision.

Ozant Kamaci, Salina Kassam, Marilyn Lightstone, Misha Masek, Mehraban Mehrabani, Atossa Nami, Kimia Rahgozar, Sue Russell, Reza Ta and Dave Todon: The Idea of Nature (May 18 to 31)

Ten artists come together to share perspective on the beautiful and tragic relationship between humanity and nature, by expressing his or her daily, personal interaction with our fragile planet.

An image from Sheila Jonah's La Cloche Mountains series

Proof Studio Gallery
John Drajewicz, Natalie Drajewicz, Sheila Jonah: F&G (April 30 to May 31)

Not just simple, objective representations, photographs can, in fact, destabilize one’s notion of reality. The images on display at Proof Studio Gallery tease the mind and engage thoughts with their ambiguous scale.

Pikto
Carlos Cazalis: Urban Shadows (May 1 to 31)

This pictorial journey through both the vastness of urban landscapes and the interiors of squatter shacks exposes the damaging effects of overpopulation on the environment. Osaka, Japan and Dhaka, Bangladesh are shown as examples of cities that reflect the growing disparity between economically underprivileged classes and the wealthy.

Monte Clark Gallery
Chris Gergley: Field Work (May 5 to June 12)

Large-scale colour photographs by Chris Gergley capture the contrast between man-made subjects and nature. Featured at Monte Clark Gallery, this exhibition investigates landscape and the subject’s relationship to its contemporary environment.


View Contact Photography Festival 2011: Distillery Historic District in a larger map

*All images courtesy of the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival unless otherwise noted.

Yours to Discover: Day Three

Winter’s on its way out; it’s time to get a head start on exploring. Guide yourself with our specialized itineraries, or contact one of Toronto’s many tour operators to delve deeper into this multifaceted metropolis. And don’t forget to check out previous Yours to Discover posts, here: Day One, Day Two.

Thompson Landry Gallery

TAKE A LOOK
Gallery-going made easy.

This city has a reputation as being staid and somewhat conservative, but when it comes to
the creative arts, it’s actually quite adventurous.
For proof, one need but stride down Queen Street—west of Trinity Bellwoods Park are numerous galleries operating on the leading edge
of the contemporary art scene. Among the area’s major denizens are Angell Gallery, conceptualist-leaning Clint Roenisch Gallery and photographic specialist Stephen Bulger Gallery. In recent years, the Museum
of Contemporary Canadian Art
has become a major creative locus, thanks to its consistently well-curated shows and a new partnership with the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Straight in the opposite direction, the Distillery Historic District hosts an equally varied mélange of artists and craftspeople. Within its restored industrial buildings you’ll be introduced to top Quebecois painters at Thompson Landry Gallery, internationally renowned contemporary works at Corkin Gallery and Clark and Faria, and even Israeli artists at Julie M Gallery. Local artisans sell their creative ceramics, jewellery and more at many other boutiques and studios here. You can even print your own images at photography hot spot Pikto.

Gallery Gevik and Feheley Fine Arts

Further north, posh Yorkville hosts many longstanding fine-art houses, the majority of which represent well-established painters and sculptors whose works have gained significant recognition. Keen to see recent pieces by Ed Bartram or Stephen Hutchings? Head to Mira Godard Gallery. Love the imagery crafted by Norval Morrisseau or Haida artist Robert Davidson? Kinsman Robinson Galleries has it in spades. Or find a new favourite at Loch Gallery, Feheley Fine Arts, Gallery Gevik and many more.

For an insider’s view of the West Queen West scene, look no further than an Art InSite tour with effervescent expert Betty Ann Jordan. And partaking in a Yorkville Art Walk offers a great primer of that district’s top galleries.

Weekend Roundup, December 10 to 12

Friday: Help Wintersleep raise money for the Daily Bread Food Bank (photo by Dustin Rabin)

Friday, December 10
Help support the Daily Bread Food Bank by jamming to Jingle Bell Rock. Venerable Canadian indie rockers Wintersleep are one of five bands performing at the Phoenix Concert Theatre for a worthy cause.

The Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre employs eclectic modern dance and ballet to illuminate a tapestry of solstice traditions in its 23rd annual installment of Wintersong— Dances for a Sacred Season. Marvel at the grace of these young performers tonight (and Saturday afternoon) at Harbourfront Centre.

Enjoy the soaring strains of the boys of St.Michael’s Choir School, which presents its 71st annual Christmas Fantasy concert. The holiday harmonies of these talented young singers fill Massey Hall tonight and tomorrow.

Saturday: Cheer on Dion Phaneuf (just back from injury) and the rest of the Maple Leafs

Saturday, December 11
Are you still looking for that special present for someone on your holiday gift list? The 401 Richmond Artisans Marketplace offers truly unique selections from numerous local artists. Browse through the diverse designs to find something that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Let Forte: The Toronto Men’s Chorus serenade you with its performance of Four Strong Winds—Songs for a Canadian Winter at the Metropolitan United Church. In addition to classic seasonal favourites, the group will sing tunes by Stan Rogers, Ian Tyson, Joni Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan.

Our hometown hockey heroes—the Toronto Maple Leafs—renew their age-old rivalry with Montreal Canadians tonight. Find your seat at the Air Canada Centre to see if the buds can get back on a winning track.

Sunday: Take heart in the soaring songs performed by André Rieu

Sunday, December 12
Experience a witty interactive theatre twist on a classic holiday tale as DuffleBag Theatre Company performs its version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The show will have you and your family rolling in the Solar Stage Theatre aisles.

Hurry, hurry! The holidays are coming to an end in the Distillery Historic District—its Toronto Christmas Market concludes today. Don’t miss out on foraging through the fairy tale forest maze that leads to Santa’s house and Rudolph’s reindeer zoo.

Don’t miss a celebration of classical music as entertaining violinist, conductor and composer André Rieu—accompanied by his 55-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra—brings joyous waltzes, polkas and romantic ballads to the Air Canada Centre.

Essential to Toronto: Shop the Season in the Distillery District

Pick up a Zenzulu moose ornament and many other artisan-made goods at the Toronto Christmas Market.

DECEMBER 3 TO 12 Holiday bazaars are an age-old tradition in Europe; now the custom comes to this city as the Toronto Christmas Market sets up shop in the Distillery Historic District. Along the area’s cobbled lanes, visitors can warm up with a glass of mulled wine or apple strudel while browsing unique wares and traditional handmade toys, such as Zenzulu moose and star ornaments from crafters in Zimbabwe. Also featuring holiday workshops, live music, children’s storytelling, a reindeer zoo, and, of course, the chance to meet Santa, this market has the makings of an annual Toronto tradition. Noon to 8 p.m. daily; call 416-364-1177 or click here for more information.

Weekend Roundup, September 3 to 5

Though autumn is just around the corner, summer’s still trying to keep up the heat. There are plenty of events and entertainment options this weekend!

Friday: The Jonas Brothers rock Toronto

Friday, September 3rd
Brace yourself for screaming teens as pop sensations the Jonas Brothers play their second show at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. Expect to hear big hits from the boys’ latest album, Lines, Vines and Trying Times, and their new movie Camp Rock 2.

Big, trippy beats are on order as Flying Lotus fills the Opera House with his special brand of experimental techno. The talented producer’s most recent record, Cosmogramma, has been getting rave reviews, and his ability to remix other artists’ chart-topping tracks is also renowned.

Enjoy your last days of summer at the Toronto Zoo. Today marks its final Frozen Friday—a great opportunity to see the arctic polar bears up close during their feeding and learn about these beautiful creatures from the keeper.

Saturday: Laugh for a final time with Mrs. Brown

Saturday, September 4th
Step into the hilarious world of a Dublin family at the final performance of How Now Mrs. Brown Cow. Starring the talented Brendan O’Carroll—who also wrote and directed this comedy—the show follows a nosy mother as she brings her family together for Christmas.

Look to the sky! The Canadian International Air Show begins today. Watch death-defying aerobatic performances and marvel at the power of some of the world’s most advanced military aircraft. And don’t miss the 40th anniversary of the famous Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

Surround yourself with both art and history. The Artisans at the Distillery Art Show offers exceptional works in varying media by Canadian artists. The 19th-century Distillery Historic District is taken over by sculptures, photographs, paintings and metallic structures as these artists display their greatest pieces in the outdoors.

Sunday: See Julian Schnabel's untitled self-portrait and much more at the AGO

Sunday, September 5th
Take your kids to Ontario Place for family fun. Today, favourite children’s television characters from Sesame Street make an appearance to meet and greet their young fans. Be sure to take your camera for the wonderful picture opportunities available with these life-size characters!

See how one art form can inspire another by viewing Julian Schnabel: Art and Film at the Art Gallery of Ontario. More than two dozen enormous paintings by the New York-based artist and director (of such movies as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) imply a fruitful relationship between visual art and filmmaking.

Enjoy this summer’s final “World Routes” festival at Harbourfront Centre. At the 15th Anniversary Ashkenaz Festival, you’re sure to find plenty of music, food, apparel and products celebrating Jewish art and culture.

Weekend Roundup, July 16 to 18

A weekend filled with festivals, concerts, theatre and culture! Toronto’s multiculturalism openly displayed right in front of your eyes. Lots to choose from, so little time…

Friday: Revel in Shakespearean derring-do under the stars at High Park (photo by Chris Gallow)

Friday, July 16
Spend your evening at the launch of the annual Beaches International Jazz Festival at Woodbine Park, where you can enjoy some fresh air while listening to top acts like Digging Roots and Jay Douglas & The All-Stars. Bring a blanket or some chairs, recline on the grass and celebrate the weekend with free music. If you like what you hear, be sure to come back Saturday and Sunday for more.

Fall in love with Shakespeare under the stars at the Canadian Stage TD Dream in High Park, which offers a pay-what-you-can performance of Romeo Juliet with a modern twist—the story of the star-crossed lovers is told using iPods and other contemporary props.

Tantalize your taste buds for less thanks to Summerlicious. The popular dining sees restaurants offering three-course meals at a fixed price. Make a reservation to sample the cuisines of the world at such Toronto favourites as Alize (Italian), Bangkok Garden (Thai), Célestin (French), Jaipur Grille (Indian) and Katsura (Japanese).

Or, try a different kind of ‘licious menu at Lee. Its “Susur-licious” menu, named for star chef and owner Susur Lee, is a three-course prix fixe featuring dishes from Lee’s tenure on the Food Network’s Top Chef Masters.

Saturday: See Geddy Lee and the rest of Rush (photo by ceedub13)

Saturday, July 17
Forget the 19-hour flight to the other side of the world. Today you can experience Indian culture on Toronto’s Centre Island, which hosts the annual Festival of India. Your immersion includes Indian music, dance, food and dramatic performances, plus crafts and souvenirs available from the bazaar. An exhibition reflecting the country’s history offers further enlightenment.

Swing by the Distillery Historic District to grab a bite from one of its many restaurants or cafés, then be sure to check out one of two Soulpepper Theatre Company shows at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Turgenev’s romantic comedy A Month in the Country is sure to stir up your emotions, and David French’s original and acclaimed Jitters also draws guffaws today.

Sing along with Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart as they bring their Rush classics back to the Air Canada Centre. The legendary Canadian prog rock band‘s Time Machine tour is guaranteed to have you reminiscing about the glory days.

Come face to face with some of the world’s most celebrated historical artifacts at the Royal Ontario Museum’s landmark exhibition, The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army, featuring full-sized clay warriors from the tomb of Chinese emperor Ying Zheng.

Sunday: Don't forget your earplugs! The Hondy Indy zooms through Toronto

Sunday, July 18
There’s more musical nostalgia on offer at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, as Rock of Ages continues its successful run. This engaging show sets a rock ‘n’ roll love story to a soundtrack of ’80s hits by Journey, REO Speedwagon and many others.

South America’s largest nation gets a showcase this weekend at the Expressions of Brazil festival, part of Harbourfront Centre’s summer-long “world routes” programming. Today’s cultural mix includes samba performances, a drumming workshop, cooking and capoeira demonstrations and much more.

It’ll be easy to find Exhibition Place today—just head toward the sound of revving engines at the much-anticipated Honda Indy car race. Cheer on professional drivers like Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti as they speed toward the checkered flag.

Indulge in a decadent taste from the briny deep at the annual Ontario Oyster Festival hosted by Rodney’s Oyster House. For $30, guests can feast on some exceptional oysters, hear live music, cheer on competitive oyster shuckers and much more. All proceeds go to Environmental Defence, a charitable organization.

You Are Here: Distillery Historic District

More than 40 heritage buildings comprise this pedestrian-only assemblage of shops, galleries and restaurants located on the former site of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery at 55 Mill Street.

Click on any map marker for more information on Where’s neighbourhood favourites.

View the Distillery Historic District in a larger map

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Weekend Roundup, August 28 to 30

Friday: See pyrotechnic performers at Buskerfest.

Friday: See pyrotechnic performers at Buskerfest.

Friday, August 28
Try making Chia-A-Noodle, a dish going back to the days of a mostly poor, agricultural Taiwanese society, at Taiwanfest. While slurping up your fresh-made noodles, take in art exhibitions, fashion, music, demonstrations and films at two festival venues: Harbourfront Centre and the Distillery Historic District.

Ooh and ahh as Dream State Circus, The Fast Horses, Trulee Odd, PyRomeo and Circus Orange light it up in a nighttime fire show, the “hottest” gala performance at the 10th annual BuskerFest in Old Town Toronto.

Lose yourself in your thoughts while walking the Toronto Public Labyrinth in Trinity Square (between Queen and Dundas streets, entrance off Bay Street), an oasis of peace in the heart of the bustling city.

Saturday: The historic Sunnyside Pavilion hosts an art show.

Saturday: The historic Sunnyside Pavilion hosts an art show.

Saturday, August 29
Taste specialties of African cuisine at the Toronto African Film & Music Festival marketplace on Bloor Street, between Ossington and Christie Streets.

Get ready for dark humour as Soulpepper Theatre Company opens Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf? Edward Albee’s 1962 boundary-crossing masterpiece provides an honest glimpse into married life at the time.

View paintings, photography, sculptures and fashion (and meet the artists!) showcased in the annual Sunnyside Beach Juried Art Show & Sale at the historic Sunnyside Pavillion.

Sunday: Hear music at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Sunday: Hear music at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Sunday, August 30
Make yourself comfortable amongst the graves and gardens at Mount Pleasant Cemetery for its Music at Mount Pleasant series. Today, a Royal Conservatory of Music brass quintet performs Bach and other classical works.

Take a walking tour of the city’s most eco-friendly sites and spaces as part of the Live Green Toronto Festival. Be sure to return to the festival hub at at Yonge-Dundas Square to check out over 100 green exhibitors and hear live music by The Philosopher Kings, Samba Squad, Carly Rae Jepsen and more.

Blow bubbles in the streets at today’s air-themed Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market. With cars banned for the day, it’s easy to experience the multicultural neighbourhood’s many charms.

Weekend Roundup, June 26 to 28

Music, magic and multiculturalism move through the city this weekend as many of Toronto’s adored annual festivals take flight.

Friday: Karen Robinson stars under the stars in <em>The Tempest</em> (photo by Chris Gallow).

Friday: Karen Robinson stars under the stars in The Tempest (photo by Chris Gallow).

Friday, June 26
Surrender to Shakespeare’s lyrical soliloquies in The Tempest during CanStage TD Dream in High Park, where the mystical tale is told in the open air.

Spend an enchanted evening with saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins as he launches the TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

Head to the lakeshore for the opening reception of nine new art exhibits at the York Quay Centre—pursue painting, pottery, photography and more!

Saturday: See this fragment from the Book of War as part of the ROM's Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition (image courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority).

Saturday: A fragment from the Book of War is part of the ROM's Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition (image courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority).

Saturday, June 27
Discover the link between the ancient and modern world by viewing the Royal Ontario Museum’s blockbuster exhibition, Dead Sea Scrolls: Words That Changed the World.

Adhere to your appetite of jazz and drinks at popular pub Dominion on Queen, featuring a performance this evening by the York Jazz Ensemble.

Celebrate unique customs with the Multicultural Festival at the Children’s Peace Theatre with face painting, henna tattoos and traditional cuisine.

Delight in the diversity of the Distillery Historic District as you wander its cobbled streets during the Toronto City Roots Festival.

Sunday: Revel at the Pride Parade (photo by Kevin Lam).

Sunday: Revel at the Pride Parade (photo by Kevin Lam).

Sunday, June 28
Rise and shine at Le Petit Dejeuner—Belgian waffles are lightly dusted with icing sugar and glazed in golden maple syrup.

Partake in the pageantry of the Pride Parade, ending this year’s fabulous festival of frivolity and family fun.

Immerse yourself in the infectious, spirited soul of lauded Louisianan Buckwheat Zydeco at Nathan Phillips Square, part of the Toronto Jazz Festival.