Site Loader

Distillery District: Fusion of Traditional and Contemporary Arts

Let’s start with some trivia about this charming destination before exploring what this place has to offer. 

The European cobblestone streets of the place are for pedestrians or cyclists. Scenes from X-men and The Incredible Hulk were filmed in the Distillery.Various tourists and locals reported seeing the ghost of former Distillery co-owner James Wort within the area.

Arts Galleries

There are various selection of boutiques that showcase both local and international arts. Thompson Landry Gallery displays the finest works by contemporary painters and sculptors from Quebec. Corkin Gallery focuses on modern photography and abstract visual art. They also feature a vast collection of vintage photographs. Arta Gallery is an event venue that caters to local and international artists. Their location can also be used as an event space for weddings, fundraisers and corporate functions. 

Artscape Distillery Studios was the first facility to open in Toronto’s Historic Distillery District. They showcase incredible art or artisan goods on the first floor. Barbara Wybou specializes in traditional Japanese woodblock printing. DISH GALLERY + Studio is the working studio of Susan Card, ceramic artist. If you prefer hand-knit clothing and accessories, go to Millicent Vee Knits. 

On the upper floors are non-profit organizations and performing arts studios. Dancemakers, Toronto’s second oldest modern dance company, develop and deliver activities designed to be flexible, responsive, and valuable for artists working today. 

Art Installations and Festivals 

To add to the aesthetics of this creative place, there are unique and sometimes bizarre public art installations displayed seasonally around the area. The I.T., red heart archway love locks installation, and Still Dancing sculpture are popular background for photos. From November to December, the Distillery District creates the magical feel that comes with the holiday season by showing many decorations and a huge Christmas tree decorated with over 18,000 ornaments and lights. Every January to March, the Toronto Light Festival scattered various light-art installations and illuminated sculptures from local and international artists all over the site. 

There are various places to eat that have artistic designs and tasty cuisines. 

Artistic Restaurants/Bars 


This Italian restaurant is located in a repurposed carpentry shop. Large scale photographs of on-site heritage architecture by artist Steven Evans are novel room adornments. When night comes, enjoy the fairy-tale ambiance of the flower-laden courtyard under a canopy of lights. 

Mill St. Brew Pub 

You can watch the brewery at work while you’re enjoying your meal and pints. Each dish on the menu comes with a suggestion of the perfect brew to enjoy with your food. There are over 60 unique beers which earned over 100 awards. 

El Catrin 

This multi-awarded Mexican restaurant has the best looking patio in the city with its giant outdoor chandeliers, and bright yellow furniture. It also has an awesome wall mural created by three Mexican artists. Aside from serving authentic traditional and modern Mexican cuisine, they also have the largest mescal and tequila bar with over 120 different labels. 


Visit this national historic site to appreciate its aesthetics. Distillery District proves historical preservation combined with contemporary arts make an excellent combination.