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The Corktown Neighbourhood is Aging Like a Fine Whiskey

Let's take a walk through Corktown, one of Toronto's original Irish settlement areas; once, thousands of workers sweated in Corktown's distilleries and breweries to bring booze to the Commonwealth; today, lots of those same buildings have been converted to hard lofts and design studios, and the booze mostly flows in the hip bars and restaurants along Queen and King Streets.

[Photos via flickr/buny]

Toronto's had a strong Irish presence since the first big waves of immigration from Ireland the early 19th century; even the Maple Leafs were originally the Saint Patricks. Over time a few neighbourhoods around town have been identified with the Irish community (both Protestant and Catholic), like Corktown just west of the Don River. It's managed to retain much of its old working-class housing stock—despite decades of neglect in some cases—and the neighbourhood's winding little streets are choked with renovating and roofing trucks as gentrification hammers on.

A lot of the original buildings didn't survive, and were replaced by mostly-nondescript commercial buildings; the area was looking tired and a little grimy. In the last decade, though, cheap land (some of it needing decontamination from its old industrial days) has brought lots of new residential and commercial development to the area, and the 2015 Pan Am Games complex that's going up just south of Eastern Avenue will bring in thousands of new residents.

· A Brief History of Early Breweries in Corktown [blogTO]
· Corktown Precinct [Lost River Walks]
· Corktown – Toronto's Irish and Brewery Heritage [Imperfect Traveller]
· Pan Am Games Archive [Curbed Toronto]