Well, today is the first day of Doors Open Toronto put on by Great Gulf. So since old man winter has finally shuffled off, I decided to make the most of the long-awaited warmth. I’ve never been to the Distillery District before today. I always planned to go but somehow I could never get there. The 30 minute tour was informative and the guide was friendly. Not much information is given on the actual distillery and the stories about the hauntings are pretty much reported information, but then again, it’s half an hour and it’s free – not too bad.

The atmosphere was festive and apart from the occasional chilly breeze, it was quite hot. It’s a great place for friends and families to visit. I was pleased with the fact that there were a few places where one could sit down and have lunch or just kick back with a beverage.

In case you are wondering, yes – I did go by myself. I don’t know many people who would like to spend the day promenading through narrow brick streets, trying to capture just a sliver of architectural history on a digital camera. But then again, I don’t know many people. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a loner. I enjoy company as much as the next person. I’m just very intolerant of anyone who tries to make me feel inferior and for some reason, I tend to attract such people. I have acquaintances who have their own lives and that’s fine by me.


Strange looking thing

As you enter the Distillery District on Gristmill Lane, this is the first thing that catches your eye. A War of the Worlds sort of alien creature. I would have loved to have seen this at night – in the dark – for the first time.

Distillery - from below

Naturally, my favourite features of this place were the buildings. There is nothing more profound than looking at the past through mirrors in the present. The Distillery District was first a flour mill before it became a brewery. Of course, at that time clean water was scarce and alcohol ranked higher than food.

Distillery building - close shot Distillery Building - From below Distillery Building - long shot DSCF0461 DSCF0464 DSCF0465 DSCF0463 DSCF0474 DSCF0475

I imagine this place must have been quite a hive of activity and more than likely, a place of employment for many. It still is. Below are two whiskey barrels. The one on the left is charred on the inside and the one on the right is just smoked. I had the pleasure of speaking to a young cooper (barrel maker) who explained that a barrel this size could take up to seven hours to make. These barrels were then charred or smoked on the inside. When the whiskey is poured into them, it’s usually a clear liquid, it’s the burnt insides of the barrels that give the colour to it. Hmm, really did not know that. Quite the conversation starter I would say. By the way, they were charring these barrels on site, hence my curiousity and the young fella did not mind me taking pictures of his barrels.


Whiskey barrel - charred on the inside Whiskey barrel - smoked on the inside

I couldn’t resist. I’ve never seen an anvil before. This was placed next to a bed in the Hastens bed showroom. I say this is one hell of a side table. All it needs now is a lamp and alarm clock.


This creepy looking black and white photo was hung over the bed (the one which had the anvil next to it). I was really hoping to catch the ghost’s reflection in it. You know how they do in the movies? I assume all these people worked at the distillery at one time or the other and perhaps they’re still there – we just don’t see them much.


Some kind of drill

This sign goes with the above picture. It’s a drill press. I don’t know what it was used for. I’ll hazard a guess that it was used to drill a press or press a drill or both…who knows. I was distracted – too busy looking for the chocolate factory. Sorry.

Drill press

And here are more relics of the past.


By then I was hungry and I still hadn’t found the chocolate factory.

A chicken pesto panini and a double shot macchiato distracted me for a little while. It was a nice place. Very clean with good service.


DSCF0489 DSCF0487 DSCF0488 DSCF0485

FINALLY! The chocolate factory.

More goodies There is no place like chocolate Chocolate goodies Chocolate heaven

To be honest, I’ve seen bigger selections elsewhere. But they were nice to allow me to take pictures in there. Once I had purchased a few of these beauties, I armed myself with a lemon gelato and headed out to face the heat. It was hotter by then. I could feel the sun’s heat boring a hole into the crown of my head.

Now walking and eating was never a skill that I developed. I’m a more ‘sit down and munch’ type of person. Somehow, my feet and my mouth just can’t seem to coordinate. Seriously, when it comes to food, my brain is good for nothing else. I cannot be distracted by anything else. DSCF0478Funny looking art. Wacky looking artFunny looking art from a different angle.

And here is the big clock that everyone seemed to want to take a picture of, including me.




Oh and let’s not forget the ghost chandelier. Apparently the employees of this cafe witnessed it swinging from side to side. Must have been a playful ghost. I would have given anything to see that chandelier start swinging.


That was it. At long last, I’ve seen and experienced the Distillery District. Not bad. I was glad I did it. There is something liberating about travelling or exploring on one’s own and I intend to do more of this. However, next time I’ll wear a hat. A smacking migraine is a small price to pay for adventure, but it’s annoying as hell.



(See my selfie? You can actually see the reflection of my hands holding the camera on my bug glasses. Should have taken off the glasses.)