Having had a (relatively) lax last couple of days, I decided to get out and discover a new part of Toronto. At a photo walk last month, I met a couple of people who work at Fujifilm who recommended I go to the Distillery District if I could find the time.
Being the university student on a budget that I am, I made the choice to walk out rather than take transit. Vancouverite-in-Toronto mistake #1: checking and seeing single-digit degree weather, but walking out in a hoodie and jeans because you think it’s fine. I took one step out of Chestnut, and immediately turned back to grab my jacket. I accounted for the temperature, but definitely not the wind that seems to love Toronto so much lately. I’ve noticed a lot of first-years going with full-out winter jackets and mittens already, and thought it seemed a bit odd – in retrospect, ‘better safe than sorry’ is probably a better mantra to follow, but I digress.
Within seconds of approaching the district, I knew it was going to be a great spot for photography in the future. While it’d clearly be better for portraiture and the like (I saw at least three or four professional wedding shoots going on), the brickwork and rustic-hipster feel to the area nonetheless made for an enticing time. I can already tell this’ll be a great place to get some artsy shots for an Instagram feed. Unfortunately, I wasn’t around when the sun set and the christmas lights streaming the courtyard flicked on, but there was still plenty of eye candy to go around.
With galleries, fashion boutiques, and some tasteful installations, there was a lot to explore. Afterwards, I had no shortage of choices in the refreshments department, thanks to the fine selection of cafés and snack shops.
Really, it’s kind of difficult to describe the area. I mean, it’s been said to be a “Hip new neighbourhood within the best preserved collection of Victorian Industrial architecture in Canada” by National Geographic. For any fellow Vancouver students, I suppose it’s the East Coast equivalent of Gastown (but we all know which one’s better, right?). I’ve got zero regrets taking the time to step away from my notes and getting to see a new side of Toronto than what I’ve come to know. The Distillery District is a stark contrast to even the older buildings on campus, with its smart blend of industrial and modern. It might have been completely out of the way, but I’d definitely recommend looking into making a trip down there one day.