Sometimes the most special parts of a trip are also the most spontaneous. On a recent trip to Toronto, I had the opportunity to explore an interesting area of the city – and the added treat of an insider perspective.
The Distillery Historic District is filled with Victorian-era buildings that have been transformed into something very unique. The intersecting cobblestone streets are lined with art galleries, cafes, and shops.
Luckily, PWAC colleague Dee Gibney agreed to show Bonnie Zink (my roommate for MagNet 2012) and I around the area. Dee lives there, so she gave us the insider tour, explaining the recent changes as well as the spirit behind the transformation. It was an unexpected treat – and really made my day! (Thanks again, Dee!)
As we saw, the true flavor of the Distillery District is not the traditional Victorian village or historical site. Instead, it’s a blend of the “now” – in a setting from “then” – resulting in a totally-Toronto experience.
Contemporary art galleries and shops abound. Craftspeople ply their wares in a combination of historic indoor venues and street-side vendors. Crafts range from purses made of colored seat-belt material, to jewelry made from recycled zippers, coins, and other materials.
Cafes offer a choice of outdoor patio or intriguing stone-and-wood interiors. Dee showed us the best places to enjoy the real flavor of the district.
We had a coffee from Balzac’s, and dropped into the Brick Street Bakery for a “Coronation chicken sandwich.” Real chicken pieces mixed with bits of apricot and slices of apple. It was a sandwich I could have eaten with a fork!And we enjoyed it while chatting on a bench beside the old Mill Stone, with the sights and sounds of Luminato‘s opening weekend teeming around us. (Check out my Facebook for a few more photos of our day.)
Have you visited the Distillery District – or any other special area of Toronto? Please leave a comment and let’s share memories.