Anna Oliver Discovers Some of Toronto’s Hidden Gems in the Distillery District

It’s often said that Toronto is a city of small towns – our neighbourhoods aren’t just arbitrary divisions on a map, they’re distinct little pockets to explore.

If you follow me on Instagram you probably know that I live in the east end. And as much as I love it, I’m coming to realize that I don’t always take the time to explore other parts of this great city – so I think it’s time for that to change! I thought you might like to join me in discovering some of the hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems in the neighbourhoods that are all around us – so let’s start with the Distillery District.

This past weekend my sister Marie was in town, so we planned a girls’ night out with our niece Jen in the Distillery. Admittedly, this neighbourhood isn’t entirely unfamiliar to me – but there’s always more to discover (isn’t that what our license plates say?).steakfrite_cluny

We began with dinner at Cluny Bistro. I’d been here a few times before, but it was a first for both Marie and Jen. Our server (I wish I’d caught his name!) was phenomenal; he asked if we were seeing a play that evening (we were) so that our meal could be timed correctly, and let us know about a gluten free bread option without our even having to ask. He also recommended the cauliflower salad, which was a fresh and delicious starter before my crab (which, served with melted butter, was simple and delicious). I can’t speak personally about them, but my dinner dates seemed to thoroughly enjoy their duck confit and steak frites, too!

With dinner finished (and plenty of time to spare thanks to our server’s thoughtful planning), we headed over to the Young Centre for the Performing Arts for Soulpepper’s Blood Wedding. It’s a play that’s been translated from the original Spanish – the dialogue was incredibly beautiful and really set the tone for the play, which used minimal props. There was also a duo off to the side, providing a live soulpeppersoundtrack of sorts, whose voices were haunting – their version of ‘Wicked Game’ (one of my favourite songs, by Chris Isaak) was the icing on the cake for me.

I loved bringing my sister and niece for their first dinner at Cluny, and finally seeing something at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. It’s amazing how you can live near something for so long, and never get around to checking it out! Our night out gave me a fresh appreciation for the Distillery District and all it has to offer. If you’ve never been, or even if you have, pop by soon and see what you’re missing!

Stay tuned for future neighbourhood explorations – and let me know if you have any suggestions of places I should visit! I can’t wait to uncover more of Toronto’s hidden gems.


annaoliverHS150Anna Oliver is a Sales Representative at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada “Successfully helping Buyers and Sellers for 13 years with all of their Real Estate needs.” Visit

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