Short History of the Gooderham & Worts Distillery
The Gooderham and Worts Distillery was first established on Toronto’s lakeshore in 1832. The plant grew rapidly from a small outpost in the wilderness of Upper Canada to become, by the end of the 19th century, the largest distillery in the British Empire—by some reports, the largest in the world. Beginning in the 1870’s, G & W erected a dozen barrel storage “Rack Houses” to age their more than 60,000, 50-gallon barrels of whiskey.
To support the thousands of barrels, each weighing 500lbs, the “Rack Houses” were filled with a forest of sturdy timber racks constructed from Douglas Fir lumber cut from virgin, first growth forests beginning more than 130 years ago.
Today these beautiful brick “Rack Houses” have been re-purposed into theatres, art galleries, artists studios, restaurants and other commercial uses in Toronto’s world renowned Distillery District—a National Historic Site. Thousands of board feet of reclaimed wood beams harvested from the “Rack Houses” has been reused by our highly skilled craftsmen to restore original wood sash windows and doors and to create custom-made furniture for our restaurants and retailers. Most recently, this beautiful historic wood has been milled into flooring for many of our new condominium residences constructed at the Distillery—but there is still some material left over and now available for sale for the first time.
A limited selection of beautiful tight grained, vintage first-growth Douglas Fir timber is available to designers and craftspeople for creative reuse.