Reinvented Spaces

East End: Distillery District Can you boil.


East End: Distillery District

Can you boil the battle of the Distillery District (thedistillerydistrict.com) versus Liberty Village down to Balzac’s (55 Mill and 43 Hanna)? Each neighbourhood has its own outpost of the Stratford-founded coffee shop, but the Distillery café is Toronto’s original location. It’s not the only venue at the redeveloped Gooderham & Worts complex that comes in first.

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ethan eisenberg

There’s no better place in the city, east or west, to keep pace with our town’s artisans than Alison Skinner’s Distill (55 Mill, #47). By virtue of its ever-expanding square footage, Bergo (55 Mill, #47A) boasts the biggest selection of designer housewares in the city. And who doesn’t drool over Lileo’s (55 Mill, #35) quirky mix of limited-edition clothing and accessories by undiscovered labels.

Culturally speaking, Liberty Village doesn’t come close to the Distillery, with its packed summer schedule of street festivals. All year long, massive public art projects fill its cobblestone streets, while galleries like Clark & Faria (55 Mill, #2) and theatres like Soulpepper (55 Mill, #49) bring in the city’s arts aficionados.

The Case Goods Warehouse behind Balzac’s is full of small creative spaces including Tank Jewelry & Beads (55 Mill, #74, studio 105), Akroyd Furniture (55 Mill, #74, studio 101) and Millicent Vee knits (55 Mill, #74, studio 106).

And the Distillery can boast the best mattresses in town at Hästens (55 Mill, #8). Liberty Villagers might want to measure their studios before bedding down on these giant gingham box springs. They might be more than their 500 square feet can handle.

West End: Liberty Village

The Distillery District is great – if you drive a Segway. Here in Liberty Village, our transportation options are a little less gimmicky, and since the TTC finally blessed us with a bus route, you can no longer criticize us for being auto-dependent.

Most of our condos back onto a big-ass Metro (100 Lynn Williams), not some puny Fresh & Wild (41 Mill). You might scoff at a grocery store parking lot being the centrepiece of a neighbourhood, but I can’t see how you Distillery types convince yourselves that the giant egg beater in your main square is any better.

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Michael Watier

Sure, your store selection is pretty unique, but we’ve got the first West Elm (109 Atlantic) -not just in Toronto, but in Canada! Plus Casalife (171 East Liberty, #170), where condo crowds from across the GTA come to shop for small-space-friendly furniture. Shout-outs to other members of the Liberty Market Building crew: Vocado (171 East Liberty, #121), Suzanne Gardner Flowers (171 East Liberty, #157) and Haveli Home (171 East Liberty, #113).

Score us another point for our dining scene. Bow down before Mildred’s Temple Kitchen (85 Hanna)! Get schooled in deliciousness at, um, School Bakery & Café (70 Fraser)!

But really, you Distillery denizens are good people. We can’t wait until winter is over so we can come and visit.

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