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Distillery District Rich with art, coffee and industrial warehouse-style loft living

Whether you're a fan of shiny modern architecture or charming heritage homes, the Distillery District is loved by maybe not all, but certainly most, Torontonians. This beautifully preserved industrial area makes it hard not wander about in sheer fascination. Once home to the biggest whiskey distilleries in the world, the area was expertly preserved over the years to retain its old-world charm, with brick-faced industrial warehouses that have since been transformed into enviable lofts, alluring boutique shops, the trendiest cafes and restaurants, avant-garde galleries, hot new microbreweries and crowded bars. For residents and visitors, several streets are blocked off to traffic and are navigated only by cyclists and pedestrians, and become venues for fantastic festivals and events throughout the year.

Who Lives Here

Young professional singles and couples, with a few empty-nesters mixed in. The population here is decidedly white and has plenty of money to afford living in one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in all of downtown Toronto.

Perfect for…

Trend-conscious hipsters or young urbanites who will love the marriage of industrial, downtown, modern and historical architecture.

Not-so-perfect for…

Families. There are few kids in the neighbourhood, partly due to the small spaces offered in the lofts and apartments of the Distillery District. Seniors will similarly find themselves without neighbours of a similar age. And those with tight budgets will be priced out of the market.

Life and Style

With more than 70 businesses lining the pedestrian-only streets of the Distillery District, the lifestyle here is anything you want to make of it. Art lovers will discover their fill of galleries, performance venues and live music. Drinkers rejoice in the microbreweries and gastropubs. Foodies get their fill of artisanal eateries and uber-trendy cafes, and fashion enthusiasts roam the racks of a handful of independent boutique shops selling threads or furniture by local and international designers. During the day, the Victorian-era architecture is an amateur photographer's wet dream, and at night, its bars are crowded with people who want to see and be seen among one of the most enviable crowds in the city.

Housing Market

While most of the lofts, apartments and townhouses of the Distillery District are small, many will offer stellar views of super trendy streetscapes or even of the shoreline. Penthouses, on the other hand, are in no short supply, but don't doubt that they'll run you an arm and a leg, whether you're renting or buying. Studio lofts can range anywhere from $1,000 a month to over $3,000, depending on how much luxury you need in your life. In short, the Distillery District has a little bit of almost everything except for big family-style houses with yards.

Avg. rent by housing type and size

Studio/Bachelor: $1,220
1-bedroom: $1,500
2-bedroom: $2,350
Avg. rent compared to other Toronto neighbourhoods
The Distillery District is 2% higher than TO average

Typical housing type

Industrial lofts

Side note

In its heyday in the 1860s, the Gooderham and Worts Distillery pumped out a staggering two million gallons of good ol' Canadian whiskey a year. Today, though, Distillery District booze producers make craft beers more than whiskey.


One of the hottest spots in the Distillery District boasts a name known across Canada – the Mill Street Brew Pub. The place pours craft beers made on-site and serves food till late. The Stirling Room is more upscale and a local favourite – the basement includes an underground tunnel from the prohibition days. Case Goods Warehouse, aka Artscape Distiller Studios, has 60-plus work studios and art galleries. The number of cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, galleries and venues in the Distillery District is simply staggering, and each destination is as culturally class-leading and cutting-edge as the next.