Corktown Commons and Distillery District
Visit historical Toronto in West Don Lands.
Modernizing the waterfront and the cityTire out your dog by playing in Corktown Commons and walking the trails of this 18-acre park. Then visit the trendy Distillery Historic District with your calm dog.
Our walk was only about 3 km, but there is a lot to see.
ParkingWe parked on Front Street near Bayview Ave. All the parking in this area is controlled by Green P. We paid the maximum, which was $9 for 3 hours.
Garden of Future FolliesIt wasn't clear to me what this sculpture represented, so I looked it up. Garden of Future Follies is a rearrangement of fragments of existing monuments, sculptures, and architecture from across the city of Toronto by the artistic duo Hadley+Maxwell. if you know Toronto really well, it would be fun to connect these pieces to the originals.
Corktown CommonsCorktown was settled in the early 1800s by Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine. The area now known as Corktown Commons was a pig slaughterhouse and is part of the reason why old Toronto was known as "Hogtown." Read more in the blog, "Corktown Commons," by Hiking the GTA.
Now the area is seen as the gold-standard for community greenspaces with a playground, skateboard park, off-leash park for dogs, and a marsh that is part of a flood protection plan that attracts turtles, ducks, and marsh birds.
BirdwatchingI was happy to see a red-wing blackbird next to the marsh. It's one of my favourite birds, and I haven't seen one in Toronto for a while.
Dog watchingLucy made many friends of all sizes in our short visit. The condos in Corktown are dog-friendly, and there are regular gatherings in the morning and evening.
We also learned about attempts to make the area even more dog-friendly than it already is. The off-leash area is likely to be extended, and some of the local eateries allow dogs onto the patios. Some of the breweries allow dogs as well. We need more of this forward-thinking.
Beverages on the patioThe Aviary Brewpub has a huge patio that, in warm weather, allow dogs to sit with their families. We went back another day and had lunch and confirmed with staff that dogs are allowed on the patios.
Walk to Distillery DistrictWalk west along Front Street to Cherry Street. You can't miss Front Street with the vast Water Guardians sculpture.
Historic buildingsTurn left on Cherry Street, and you'll signs for the Gooderham and Worts Distillery on the landmark buildings.
The 19th-century buildings from the former whiskey distiller have become a pedestrian-only are for shopping, theatre, galleries, outdoor sculptures, music, cafes, and restaurants.
Not all, but many of the giant sculptures are replaced regularly. This means that every time you visit, you'll encounter something new. For instance, we saw the orange robots in February, but they were gone in March.
Signs are placed outside of the shops to say whether they allow dogs or not. Rule of thumb: if they serve food, no dogs allowed.
We visited when it was cold and not very busy, so we didn't see any open patios. We did find a place to sit to enjoy a coffee in the sun.
In my opinion, Toronto could use more outdoor places to share with our dogs. Europe is an excellent place for heated patios that you can enjoy in the winter.
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