The Canadians are fascinated by Europe and the European lifestyle. That’s the reason why a significant number of the country’s citizens want to travel, at least once in their lifetime, to the old continent and visit Paris, Rome, London or Barcelona; the cities that mainly embody the ideal of sophistication and cosmopolitanism they think is cultivated across the Atlantic.
Some decades ago, there was a common phrase among the emigrants arriving in Toronto, which expressed nostalgia and frustration: “if you want to go out for dinner, you have to go to Montreal.” The capital of Ontario embodied the puritan and austere paradigm of the Anglo-Saxon in front of the relaxation of customs of French people in Quebec. Montreal was the financial and cultural capital of Canada at the time and Toronto was a town with no history or lineage, growing near Ontario Lake.
Time passed by and both cities experienced inverse processes. Montreal was frozen in its absorption and Toronto took advantage of the complacency of its eternal rival and it grew beautiful, rich and influential. Nowadays, it stands out as Canada’s financial capital and one of the cities with the highest economic dynamism in North America. Toronto is cosmopolitan and multiracial. Its urban and architectural rebirth meets no rival among other cities of the world: 165 skyscrapers were built last year, more than any other place on the planet.
Large and spacious terraces, or patios as they are called in Toronto, can be seen at the Distillery District with a mix of tradition and chill-out atmosphere. Picture: Juan Gavasa / PanamericanWorld
Gooderham and Worts Distillery was founded back in 1832 and it later became the biggest distillery of the world. There was a time when it produced over 7 million liters of whisky for the world market and it triggered a movement of merchandise and trade transactions that played a leading role in the economic development of Toronto. As most of the industrial sectors on which the economy of the city was based during the first half of the 20th century, the lack of modernization and change of production models pushed distilleries into a slow but irreversible decline.
Remote marks of the Victorian age in narrow and isolated streets that still hold the industrial taste of their origin. Picture: Juan Gavasa / PanamericanWorld
In 1990 the center definitely stopped its production and the urban area became pure industrial archaeology, while the city was growing around with new residential buildings that made the industrial past of the area fall into oblivion. Finally, it was restored and adapted to the new times and demands of the new Toronto, a city focused on the travel industry and services. Ever since, the old distilleries have been in the background of over 800 movie and TV productions.
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