Distillery Art Market Has Leather Goods, Gold Jewelry, All Natural Lavender Oil From Niagara Falls

The Distillery Art Market is a collaboration between Artscape and The Distillery Historic District. I wrote about the Weekend Art Market on Distillery District Blog.

The Art Market happens every weekend in the summer, from May to September, and gathering is really popular on holiday long weekends, like the May24 Saturday glimpsed below. You can see on the clock that its six pm and some of the vendors have closed their tents for the day.

In case you don’t know anything about this weekend event, let me explain that the Art Market is gathering of local artists, craftspeople and food artisans. Participation fees are only $100 +HST per weekend, and a large portion of the rent they pay goes to support local charities.

Christian Aldo Brought Robots to the Distillery Art Market

Christian Aldo is a very prolific Toronto painter with lots of big canvases full of heart-stopping, jaw dropping high bass relief art.
Christian Aldo, art paintings, robots, high bass relief, pieces, Toronto, artistChristian Aldo is becoming more and more famous for his brightly coloured high bass relief caricatures of musicians and other passionate people playing at life.

Christian brought his new robot series to the Art Market this year and they are getting a lot of attention. Here he is below acting like a robot for the camera. The girls are theater people that are on their way to their show at Soul Pepper. They’re probably semi-famous personalities too, but I didn’t ask their names or find out their roles in the production. Unlike Christian Aldo, I’m too shy.

Christian acting like a robot, artist in Toronto, Christian Aldo

At the Art Market, there is music everywhere.

Clarinet Player, painting, Distillery District, Christian Aldo

The Distillery Art Market is also a great opportunity to visit the amazing artist studios that are more permanently located indoors at the the Case Goods Warehouse.  Here you will find glass bead makers, painters and sculptors and all manner of theater rehearsal spaces and dance troupes headquarters.

Tammy Nesbitt at Lavender Boutique was up from Niagara Falls

Lavender Boutique, Tammy Nesbitt, Niagara Falls, aromatherapy, essential oils
Tammy Nesbit of neob lavender caught my eye because she was selling lavender oil products at the Lavender Boutique, and while wearing a lavender striped shirt. I found the combination to be quite irresistible and did succumb to her intoxicating potions and personality. Her passion for all things lavender is really inspiring. The word ‘neob’ which I notice is never capitalized in any of their literature, stands for Niagara Essential Oils and Blends. She told me that they grow lavender and distill their own essential oils at their permanent location at 758 Niagara Stone Rd, Niagara on the Lake which is a few minutes north of Niagara Falls Ontario. The farm and processing operation can be toured daily and contains a natural perfumery, among other agricultural attractions. There is also a retail store which affords boutique shopping over a wide selection of homemade botanicals and aromatherapy products . On this location there is a distillery apparatus and supporting buildings opposite a large greenhouse.

Pepi Arden is a World Class jewelry designer

Pepi Arden is a world class gold and silver Swarovski crystal jewelry designer

Pepi Arden’s pale blue eyes light up when she talks about making jewelry. She confesses that some of her finest creations came to her in her dreams.  And it looks to me like she has beautiful dreams, and they must contain the most stunning arrangements for Swarovski crystal creations that the human subconscious can conceive… Pepi uses these expensive high quality manufactured crystals because they really catch the light, and she uses these gems among other semi precious stones in her glamorous compositions. This is body treasure – art that you can wear on your body, and the artifacts are heavy and feel authentic and valuable. The pieces are smooth to the touch, and beautiful to behold. Pepi buys components from all over the world, at home on her computer.  She buys gold from Ottawa gold buyer and procures topaz and amber from internationally certified gem dealers.

Below is Dave Flett who is a traveling American portrait artist that does fantastic caricatures like nobodies business. He wanted to do me but I was reluctant to have the worst / biggest parts of my face magnified by his pencil.

Caricatures by Dave Flett, Toronto Art Market

Its reasons like this that the Distillery District has been labelled a “must-visit” destination in Toronto, and the venue now attracts approximately 3000 visitors on average each weekend in the summer. That’s a lot of people.

Its also important to remember that the explorers who visit a historic district are probably a little more refined, with a natural passion for history, art and photography than other folks who might choose less culturally rich destinations in the city.

This high volume of sophisticated shoppers provides exhibitors with a fantastic low rent venue to sell their creations and expand their contact list as they network with other exhibitors and patrons. For more details subscribe to Artscape email newsletter.

Would you like to be featured in Art Market this year? A limited number of spaces remain available on select dates. To inquire about becoming an Exhibitor, please view the Call for Submissions. http://www.torontoartscape.org/distillery-art-market/call-2012

You can follow the Distillery Art Market on Twtter @DistilleryArt

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Looking for Toronto’s Best Burger? Burger Derby Has the Answer

Best Burger in TorontoToronto’s restaurant scene has been a lot beefier lately. The reason? Torontonians are finally giving hamburgers their due.

The burger, that once pooh-poohed standard of American fast food, has experienced a recent rebirth into the world of the gourmand. Yes, it’s possible to get a gourmet burger in Toronto now – several of them in fact. New gourmet burger joints are opening up all over town, and judging by the rave reviews, Toronto has a lot of gastric respect for the new hamburger.

With so many options, and with the word “gourmet” being thrown around and landing on burgers where it might not belong, it’s tough to know where to go to get the best burger in Toronto.

Luckily, there’s a new burger review website and social rating tool for burgers in toronto. It’s called Burger Derby (burgerderby.com) and it’s the brainchild of a few Toronto burger enthusiasts who have adopted the life mission to find the city’s best hamburger.

At Burger Derby, individual burgers are reviewed. Rather than assigning just one rating to an entire restaurant, the expert burger reviewers and the community of site users assign ratings and reviews to the burgers themselves. Not only will you know where to get great burgers (locations of local joints are mapped), but you’ll know what the best thing on their menu is when you get there.

“Originally the idea of Burger Derby was just for us and our friends,” says Benjamin Allison, one of the creators of the burger website. “We were on a mission to find the best burger in Toronto. Then it occured to us that other people were looking for the same holy grail – so we built the Burger Derby website.”

Burger Derby is geared towards both casual burger lovers and real, hard core burger enthusiasts. After more and varied business management consulting the website developers have plans to move into the mobile sector, making it even easier for people to find the best burgers in Toronto, and rate them, on the go.

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Who to Follow on Twitter in the Toronto Beer Scene

If you’re into beer, and a good many Torontonians are (it is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world, after all), this list will keep you in the know regarding the latest tastes, pairings, stores…and shipments, starting first with the Distillery District’s own

Mill Street Brewery – @MillStreetBrew
Great Beer Lives Here’

This lively handle is a reflection of the social nature of beer drinking. Located in the historic @DistilleryTO, @MillStreetBrew tweets about stouts, public samplings and live musical performances at the Mill St. Brewpub.

@TOBeerFestivalToronto Beer Festival – @TOBeerFestival
Toronto’s Festival of Beer, July 27-29, 2012

Updated frequently, this twitter handle is a portal into all things beer in the GTA area. The festival may be months away, but @TOBeerFestival is tapped into most of the beer news about town.

@BierMarktBier Markt – @BierMarkt
An atmosphere that balances sociability with sophistication

A pub with upscale Belgian cuisine combined with weekly social events (beer specials!) and annual favourites, such as February’s tantalizing #FondueFeastival. Best beer selection in the city.

@troyGCPBBlogGreat Canadian Beer Blog – @troyGCPBBlog
Publisher of Great Canadian Beer Blog, Co-Founder of Toronto Beer Week

Troy Burtch is a fountain of information on the subject of beer. He has made a living from his passion, which he shares with his followers through regular updates. Burtch has contributed greatly to the Toronto beer scene.

@starbeerJosh Rubin – @starbeer
Beer columnist and business reporter for the Toronto Star. I tweet mostly about beer, but sometimes about business, politics or sports

From Tankhouse to Trump, this handle offers followers musings on a wide array of topics, though mostly beer. Be the first to know when the Toronto Star’s published a beer-related piece, and the first to retweet it, too!

@SteamWhistleSteam Whistle Brewing – @SteamWhistle
Just another Good Beer Folk tweeting lastest news & giving you goodies

Steam Whistle is a brewery with a lot going on, from parties and concerts to the monthly art show exhibited in the @SteamWhistle gallery. Follow this popular handle for a youthful look into Toronto beer culture.

@BeerAdvocateBeer Advocate – @BeerAdvocate
Beer tweets by @JasonAlstrom, @ToddAlstrom (Alstrom Bros), Founders of BeerAdvocate, hardcore champions of craft beer & brewing

Experts on the best of beer, the @BeerAdvocate handle from the Alstrom brothers is a great starting point for those unfamiliar with Toronto’s overwhelming beer selections. Check out the blog, too, and awaken your inner connoisseur.

@beerboozebitesBeer, Booze & Bites – @beerboozebites
Greg Clow, Publisher of beerboozebites.com & canadianbeernews.com. Ex-publisher of tasteto.com

A social extension of his excellent blog, www.beerboozebites.com, Greg Clow’s twitter handle is a voyeuristic (and often humorous) look into the tricks and habits of a notable local boozie/foodie.

@GreatlakesbeerGreat Lakes Brewery – @GreatLakesBeer
Toronto’s Oldest Craft Brewery

Even excluding its name, the @GreatLakesBeer handle has a certain Canadiana vibe—recent updates have included progress reports about an outdoor ice rink being built by the employees. Tune in for ever-evolving flavours, including ‘wacky one-offs’.

@beerbistroTOBeer Bistro – @beerbistroTO
A beer cuisine restaurant in the heart of Toronto

Specializing in beer cuisine, this popular downtime spot is located downtown and encourages beer pairings with all menu items, even desserts! Stay tuned to this handle for new imports, particularly those of the organic variety.

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Distillery District a Hotbed of Photo Contest Activity


In December the Distillery came alight with Christmas tapers, mulled wine and… camera flashes as the Toronto Christmas Market, and the resulting Toronto Christmas Market photo contest commenced.

For three festive weeks the cobblestones were flooded with carolers, children, families, lovers, reindeer, shoppers, musicians, elves and, of course, men – in all sorts of Father Christmas incarnations.

The photo contest was another success for the Distillery, with over 300 entries submitted. http://www.lenzr.com/blogPrizes were awarded, with restaurant gift certificates for some of the Distillery’s fine dining establishments among them.

A giant tree donated by Trees Canada was the centrepiece of the whole event, with a stage set up for musical performances on one side and a decorated ferris wheel on the other.

Pikto Top Pick Photo Contest

http://www.thedistillerydistrict.comPikto, like the Distillery (and convenienty located in it) is a photographer’s haven, a store with photography workshops, digital workrooms, and the Pikto Top Pick Photo Contest, a serious photo contest with a grand prize of $5, 000 to be put towards an exhibition in Pikto’s own gallery.

The contest was open to all subject matter and the winner, U.K. based photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind, chose to focus on the rebuilding of Nagorno-Karabakh–through a government incentive that pays couples in cash for having children.

Taylor-Lind’s work will be displayed at the Pikto Gallery from January 5, 2012 – February 29, 2012. The opening reception will be held this Saturday, January 21, 2012 from 6pm-10pm.

Lenzr Photo Contests

Lenzr.com Photo Contest for Real PrizesLenzr, a serial photo contest website that extends competition across Canada and the U.S., makes the Distillery District its headquarters. The free website routinely gives away prizes (iPads, laptops, cameras, cash and even backpacks that charge electronics using built-in solar panels) for the best photographs. The best photographs are determined first by a voting period in which Lenzr’s loyal members vote on their favourites, and second by a panel of qualified judges. Check out some of Lenzr.com’s current photo contests for your chance to win!

Lenzr’s Old Beside New photo contest asks to see submissions comparing an older version of Old Beside New Photo Contest on Lenzr.comsomething (or someone, or somewhere!) beside its updated counterpart. The prize for this contest is $250 plus a photo licensing agreement with the contest’s sponsor, Solarsoft ERP’s continuous improvement solutions.

This contest started December 1, 2011 and is currently in the voting stage. You may enter up until January 25. The winning photograph will be announced February 1, 2012.

Winnipeg hair schoolOne of two hair-themed photo contest currently running on the site, Hair Styling Trends For 2012 is looking for submissions predicting what the next hot hairstyle may be. Its sister contest, Bad Weather Hair, is looking for submissions illustrating how the weather can affect a hairdo. Both contests are sponsored by Aveda Institute Canada’s Winnipeg hair school and Vancouver hair school respectively, and the prize for each is an incredible $500 worth of Aveda product!

Toronto dentist Dr. Natalie ArcherThe Good Dental Habits photo contest is looking for submissions that illustrate the importance of proactive oral care.

Sponsored by Toronto dentist Dr. Natalie Archer, the best photo submitted wins an iPad 2. Hurry, get your shots in because voting for this contest ends January 25!

Be sure to check out Lenzr.com for more photographic challenges.

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Gooderham and Worts Distillers – Raw Materials to Finished Products

historical artifacts in the historical distillery district in Toronto

Canadian History Not in a Museum

Exploring the lobby of Building 58 -59 in the Distillery District is a great adventure for those who love Canadian history.  It contains a display of historical artifacts involved in the alcohol production at Gooderham and Worts.  Exhibition of these items in their own architectural heritage buildings gives more meaning to their context.  It’s even more interesting that these historical buildings are a not part of a museum but diverse contemporary functional buildings with a variety of functions.  The first thing you notice is bottles of Gooderham and Worts diverse display of bottles.  Scales dating from the 1930′s illustrate ideas of the inventory management system during this era.  Scales were used at the distillery to measure everything from raw materials to finished products.  These Fairbanks-Morse scales date from about 1930 and were used to identify filled antifreeze containers that were “over” and “under” weight.

Looking at old historical alcohol bottles in building 58 in the distillery district in Toronto

Paris and Antwerp Bottles

The oldest fully dressed bottle from the Building 58-59 display dates from 1908 and bears World’s fair gold metals won in 1878 (Paris) and 1885 (Antwerp) for those interested bottle collections.  Another bottle of interest dates from 1927.  This is of importance because it’s the year that Prohibition of alcohol ended in Ontario.Gooderham and Worts bottles in the historical distillery district

The Roller Conveyor

Boxes of bottles and cans were moved around the Cannery and into the Case Goods Warehouse by a system of vertical spiral chutes and horizontal roller conveyors.  A different style of production planning was used during that time.   As early as 1924, Mathews “continuous flow principle of handling materials” was installed and continued to be used until 1990.   Now we have electronic systems with things such as reed switches that further the advancement of the production line even more.

Inventory management in the distillery district in Toronto at Gooderham and WortsLarry Turner Photographs of the Case Goods Warehouse

Hand carts have been used ever since Gooderham and Worts opened to more heavy objects around the site.  Early models were entirely wooden while new models featured cast-iron wheels and metal frames.  Larry Turners photographs of the two-storey spiral conveyors in the 1980′s shows how the Case Goods Warehouse was arranges during the industrial working life from 1927 until 1990.  Toronto distillery district in Buildings 58 - 59 artifacts

Bottling and Canning Whiskey

Initially, whiskey was sold by the barrel.  In the mid 1880s distillers were authorized to bottle their own products and Gooderham and Worts opened a Bottling Room on the top floor of Building 58 and 59.  Spirits were piped to the Bottling Room where bottles were washed, filled, corked(later capped) labeled and packaged.  BToronto historical distillery district Gooderham and Worts alcohol productiony the 1930′s women were employed to work on bottling lines in various distilleries, including that of G &W.  Soon after, G & W introduced canning production lines for industrial -alcohol products like anti-freeze.  As automobiles become increasingly popular, individual, one quart and one gallon cans came to replace steel drums.

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