Another romantic and photogenic location for your wedding and wedding photos is the Distillery District located east of downtown Toronto. The region is filled with old industrial brick walls, cobblestone streets, and bohemian urban art installations. The Distillery District comprises more than forty heritage buildings and ten streets, and is the largest collection of Victorian era industrial architecture in North America. Over ten years ago the buildings were deemed historical monuments and a group of visionary developers had a vision. They wanted to create a place that would excite and inspire the senses. Where people could experience new ideas, new foods, new designs and new ways of living and working. As they explain, “Our vision was to combine the romance and relaxing atmosphere of European walking and patio districts with the hip, cool dynamic of an area like New York City’s SoHo or Chelsea, where creative minds get together and you feel as if anything could happen.
”Their dream was to provide a place where creativity would flourish and passion would be aroused – where artists, artisans, entrepreneurs and businesspeople could rub shoulders and inspire each other”. So they began plans to restore the 47 buildings known as the Gooderham & Worts Distillery. In 2003 they harnessed the talent of hundreds of tradesmen and craftsmen who were skilled in working with 19th century timber, planks, stone and brick. They went to great lengths in the restoration process to repurpose original materials and blend them with today’s modern materials and green technologies. The result is the sensation that you are stepping back into an era of horse-drawn carts, windmills and sailing ships. One can only marvel at the authentic exterior restoration that was achieved.
The exteriors are powerful but it is when you step inside the buildings that you truly realize the magnitude of what was accomplished. Warm exposed brick, polished wood and high ceilings make for romantic and cozy backdrops to your event. There are Distillery owned venues for you to rent such as “The Fermenting Cellar”, a gigantic space with a sunken floor that you could transform into any feel. “The Boiler House” can accommodate 450 inside for cocktails and 300 more when you use the patio. The space inside is on two levels with a loft-like second floor that overlooks both the main floor and a ‘floating stage,’ a narrow arm of the second floor where DJs or headtables can be situated for full visibility. Up to 200 people can be seated for a plated dinner inside, when you use both levels.
Part of the appeal of the Distillery is that you can make it a daylong destination with various events in separate places. While many of the galleries and cafés are privately owned, Distillery management will negotiate on a couple’s behalf to temper rental prices for the ceremony if the couple is holding their reception elsewhere but within the Distillery. Each gallery supports varying numbers of guests and their individual feel is created by both the space they are in and the art they house.