I took a one-hour walking tour around Toronto's old distillery district today with my old friend, and former boss, Murray Skinner (right). I'd visited the area a couple of times in the past, but this time I got to shoot a few pictures. Our guide was a young fellow who certainly seemed to know his stuff and Murray and I quite enjoyed ourselves. To stroll around here is to step back in time. Dozens of movies have been filmed here. It is a popular destination for art and dining (Murray and I had a an excellent Lunch at the Mill St. Brewery). In the photo at top, a portion of the original grey limestone distillery building is seen, still impressive after 131 years and having burned once. The distillery's wood fittings and alcohol made for a grand night-time conflagration, which could be see from the American side of Lake Ontario. The limestone walls were 42 inches thick and remained standing which meant that the building could be entirely retrofitted. Grim stories of the distillery includes floors of the some buildings being only 5' high, as only young children, in the late 1800s, worked in some areas, thus saving headroom and space. Al Capone was a visitor during prohibition and sometimes left calling cards that showed up as bodies in the harbour, or so the story goes. Now tourists are everywhere, dodging Segways, shootings photos and videos, patronizing fascinating gift shops (no chain store operators here). Murray and I should have toasted the young royals on their wedding day, but instead toasted our own good health.
The old Distillery District, in downtown Toronto's east end, is reputed as the best surviving, intact, area of Edwardian architecture in Canada. Please comment if you wish.