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Issue 10 - Toronto tasting

Whisky Magazine Issue 10
June 2000


This article is 18 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Toronto tasting

There's plenty of places to hang out in Canada's biggest city, but its whisky bars offer something a bit special. Kathleen Sloan and Ted Mcintosh make merry among the malts.

Contrary to what the rest of the world may think, Canadians do not, exclusively, think rye when they drink whisky. In Toronto, Canada's largest city, the home of many fine bars and a multi-national population, the Anglo-Celtic roots still run deep. Before the 1960s, when huge numbers of people from Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa made their home there, immigrants to this city came mostly from Great Britain and Europe.The legacy remains in the shapes of pubs and European-style taverns. These days, whether in one of these establishments or in an all-Canadian bar, imbibers are just as likely to choose a pedigree whisk(e)y from Scotland or Ireland, or a smoky Southern bourbon as they are a rye born on the Canadian prairies.

The name Toronto derives from a Huron Indian word for meeting place, and, certainly, we've no shortage of places to meet and enjoy a quality dram or a pint. At the last reckoning there were at least 16,000 licensed establishments in the province of Ontario. We are home to no end of those English-styled pubs, with monikers that may include a nod to a duke, an earl, a black bull, a white swan, or parts of the female anatomy such as the barmaid's arms or the Queen's head. As pleasant as they can be tough, most are very much of a muchness. They are generally decorated in brass and red velvet, filled with shiny pumps and frothy pints and bonhomie that flows as steadily as the brews and bevvies.

But within the vast group of public houses and contem...

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