This was home to the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, founded in 1832 and once Canada’s largest distilling company. In 2003, the 45-building complex (empty save the film crews that used it as a set) was reinvented as a historic district with galleries and cafes inhabiting the industrial Victorian buildings. A miller named James Worts, who immigrated from Scotland in 1831, built the first building on the site: a windmill intended to power a grain mill (the millstone he brought with him is still on display). His brother-in-law, William Gooderham, soon joined him in the business. In 1834, Worts’ wife died in childbirth, and in despair, Worts drowned himself in the mill’s well. Gooderham took over the business and adopted Worts’ son, who eventually joined the business.
The charming complex is an excellent example of 19th-century industrial design. Most of the buildings were made with Toronto’s own red brick; you’ll see it in everything from the buildings to the streets themselves. One exception is the mill building, which is stone.
The Distillery District has launched an ambitious program of events throughout the year, including a Christmas market, an outdoor art exhibition; and a farmer's market, which takes place on summer weekends. It’s also home to the Soulpepper Theatre Company, the Sandra Ainsley gallery, and top chocolatier Soma, as well as a handful of pubs and patios.