Booze in Old Town Toronto

Creator(s): Enoch Turner Schoolhouse

Origins of the Alcohol Industry in Canada's Largest City

As the muddy town of York was struggling to become the metropolis of Toronto, booze was an important component of life, commerce, manufacturing and economics. In a burgeoning urban environment where basic access to clean water was not guaranteed, fermented and distilled drinks were popular with citizens. Many early residents of York, which became Toronto in 1834, made their own alcoholic drinks in small scale brewing operations. As the population grew, so too did the business of booze - frequently incorporating both beer and distilled products.

Proliferation and Problems of Toronto's Alcohol Industry

By the mid to late 19th century, numerous large manufacturing plants produced large quantities of alcohol and beer for both local and export markets. At the same time, an extensive, counterbalancing force was to be found in those organizations that promoted temperance. In fact, alcohol did pose problems for many people who became caught in its addictive web. This Community Memories exhibit explores how society attempted to find a balanced approach to booze, while the industrialized manufacture of it spurred significant developments in banking, railroads, shipping and more, with fiscal stability for its many employees.

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