Toronto’s Distillery District is known for a lot of things. For starters, there’s the annual Christmas market that draws in hundreds of thousands to the neighbourhood each winter. Second, there are the patios that are overflowing with locals and tourists alike on any given day in the summer. And for the other two seasons of the year, there’s plenty of boutique stores and galleries to keep you wandering about the historical district.
And it’s thanks to those stores and galleries that the Distillery District has been named one of the coolest shopping districts in the world.
The Distillery District was chosen by the British-based Guardian as the coolest shopping district because of the area’s pedestrian-friendly streets and lack of chain realtors.
Mathew Rosenblatt, partner and owner of Cityscape Development Corp. says the decision to keep big chains out of the district was intentional. ” We didn’t want, nor did we think that people would come down here to see the brands that they could see on every street corner in Toronto and across the world.”
Instead, Rosenblatt and his business partners decided to make the area more unique. “We wanted this to be a unique destination. Something with a little bit more soul. And have the people who are selling the products be similar in passion to the people you might see in a small town,” Rosenblatt previously told Toronto Storeys.
The vision clearly works since Paul Jones, who nominated the Distillery District for the title, cited the passionate shop owners in his review. But the thing that stood out the most to Jones was a sandwich from Brick Street Bakery which he says he still thinks about 18 months after his visit.
Other shopping districts on the list include Montmartre, Paris, Lerwick, Shetland and Jægersborggade, Nørrebro, Copenhagen.