The Distillery District on Mill Street, east of of Parliament, has been magically transformed into a lively Christmas market, modelled after the German markets such as the one held each year in Dresden, which began in 1434. I was surprised at the scope and variety of the Toronto market, contained within the brick-lined laneways and 45 historic building of the 19th century Distillery District. This was at one time the home of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, founded in 1832. The venue is ideal, as the area has the atmosphere of old Europe.
The day I visited, it was quite cold. However, because of the numerous outdoor fires, and the fact that when I felt the chill I was able to stroll inside one of the numerous buildings, I was impervious to the weather. If I had to sum up the market in a single word, it would be “food” – veal schnitzel, Octoberfest sausage, meatballs, Belgium waffles, fries, fudge, sugar pies, maple syrup, chocolate cover apples, popcorn balls, freshly-baked breads. There were rides for the children, and many shops and art galleries for the adults. Everyone seemed either to be enjoying the many delicious treats or sipping gratefully on a hot drink. It is indeed a place to be enjoyed by adults and children alike.
Toronto’s Distillery District, decked out for the German-style Christmas Market
The laneways of the Distillery District, with kiosk displaying crafts and foods.
Families enjoying the warmth of the outdoor fires and sipping on hot drinks.
The 40-foot Christmas tree at the Distillery District
For those who enjoy reading about Toronto’s past :
The non-fiction book, “The Villages Within,” nominated for the Toronto Heritage Awards, provides a cheeky version of the history of Toronto, and explores the history and architecture of the Kensington Market, The Kings-Spadina area, and the glorious tacky Queen Street West. The story of Toronto’s past will not improve anyone’s knowledge of history, but its fabrications and exaggerations may provide an amusing insight into the lives of those who built the town of York. It is an expose of historical untruths, a book that no school should ever permit its students to read.
A link to “The Villages Within,” https://tayloronhistory.com/the-villages-within/
“There Never Was a Better Time” – a story of two mischievous immigrants who arrive in Toronto in 1921 from their small village on the rocky shoreline of Newfoundland. This was the days prior to confederation, and they were pleased to have successfully passed through immigration in North Sydney, and arrive in Toronto’s old Union Station, erected in 1884. The book chronicles their adventures as they explore the sinful haunts of the city, including the burlesque houses and movie theatres, during the decadent “Roaring Twenties.” The book contains vivid scenes of their “chasing the girls” at glorious “Sunnyside” beside the lake, and at the wondrous CNE, in the days when Torontonians considered it the most popular late-summer entertainment venues of all time.
A Link to this book: https://tayloronhistory.com/there-never-was-a-better-time/
“Arse Over Teakettle – Book One of the Toronto Trilogy,” is an amusing tale of a young by and his friends coming of age in Toronto during the wartime years of the 1940s. It is a heart-warming and humorous book about the lads’ adventures as they become sexually aware and yearn to exp[lore the world of the “big boys.” The book provides a detailed tongue-in-cheek account of life in the elementary schools of Toronto during this decade. The many archival photographs in the book add to the realism of the tale.
A link to this book : https://tayloronhistory.com/arse-over-teakettle/
“The Reluctant Virgin – Book Two of the Toronto Trilogy,” is a murder/mystery that occurs in 1950s Toronto. This chilling story of a serial killer that haunts the streets and laneways of old Toronto is a classic whodunit. As well as exploring the decade of the 1950s, the reader has an opportunity to try to identify the killer ahead of the police. This book also contains many archival photos. The characters in the story are the same as those introduced in the first book of the trilogy.
A link to the author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.com/