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The Artscape Distillery Studios are home to over 60 artists, artisans, and non-profit arts and cultural organizations in the heart of Toronto’s Historic Distillery District.

A Message From Artscape

Dear Artscape Friends, Supporters and Tenants,

It is with great sadness that we announce the forthcoming closure of Artscape Distillery Studios, located in two of the Distillery District’s most prominent structures: The Case Goods Warehouse and the Cannery Building.

Purchased by Cityscape Development Corporation in 2001, Artscape was among the first to join the Distillery District as an anchor tenant, and soon after engaged 63 sub-tenants in the initiative. Working closely with Cityscape and the City of Toronto, Artscape was able to re-purpose approximately 50,000 square feet of space in two buildings into below-market designer/maker retail spaces, theatre and rehearsal venues, administrative space for non- profit arts organizations and artist studios.

By participating in the Distillery District revitalization at an early stage, Artscape helped build critical mass, credibility, and authenticity around the initiative. These seemingly intangible things were fundamentally important in inspiring confidence among other stakeholders and generating project momentum. The lessons learned at the Distillery about the power of arts and culture to inspire change, growth and transformation were game-changing for Artscape and have formed the foundation of its creative placemaking practice.

While newer generation Artscape projects contain an ownership structure, the partnership agreement at the Distillery was not set up in a way that guaranteed long-term security. Our 20-year head lease was, and is scheduled to end in 2022, with no option to renew. Earlier this year, the owners signalled an interest in terminating early to advance plans on the premises. After months of discussion, we arrived at a mutual agreement that has been informed by tenant feedback, captured through surveys and one-to-one consultations.

Artscape’s goal in these discussions with the property owner has been to explore possible accommodations to assist tenants in navigating this transition with hopes of securing support that would have otherwise not been available if the lease ran its natural course. Additionally, the Case Goods Warehouse has experienced significant vacancy loss throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and further attrition is anticipated by year-end. Carrying the full cost of the rental fees in spite of this vacancy is a tremendous burden on Artscape, a non-profit organization operating on a cost recovery basis.

Weighing these considerations, we agreed to an earlier termination of the head lease for the Case Goods Warehouse premises, advancing the end date by 5 months. Fortunately, the Cannery Building head lease which houses Tapestry Opera and Dancemakers will remain in place until the end of the original head lease term.

To support tenants through this transition, every effort was made by Artscape to explore accommodations that would preserve affordable commercial arts space in the city. We toured 20 different properties as alternatives to the Case Goods Warehouse, however tenant consultation suggested there was not a critical mass to support a head lease at a new building. Property referrals have been offered as an alternate approach to the exit strategy and alternate space for our designer-maker retail tenants has also been arranged through the property owners. Case Goods Warehouse tenants will receive a free rent period at the conclusion of the head lease term.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for the arts community and vacancy has increased during this time. In 2020, understanding that the COVID-19 pandemic had put additional financial stress on our tenant community, Artscape quickly applied for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, resulting in $251,000 in rent abatement for our tenants in the Distillery. Despite limited resources as a non-profit organization, Artscape contributed 25% of this value as a requirement of the program.

While Artscape is proud of its work in making space for creativity and transforming communities, we too are impacted by the pressures of the real estate market and the closure of the Distillery community hurts. Loss of affordable commercial space in the city is a reality for artists and arts-based organizations across Toronto. Although there are small pockets of available space throughout the city, having the ability to cluster tenants at a size to build community – like at the Distillery – is important. It’s a dialogue that should continue with those involved in urban development, investment and funding, and it is top of mind for Artscape as we plan for the future. Enabling secure long-term spaces for arts and creative businesses is vital in Toronto as it cements its reputation as one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities.

“My 19 years in the Distillery have been amazing. It’s helped me build a thriving business, have a family, own a home. I will forever be grateful…It’s been great.”

~ Leif Benner
Artscape Tenant, Custom Goldsmith

Despite the sad news of this moment, we will strive for new opportunities and also want to celebrate the opportunities afforded over the past 20 years.


Grace Lee Reynolds
Chief Executive Officer

Kelly Rintoul
Chief Operating Officer


Shop our first floor, where you’ll find incredible art and artisan goods created right here. Explore upstairs to find galleries, open artist studios, performances and unique architectural features steeped in history.

15 Case Goods Lane
Building hours: 7 AM to 7 PM, Mon-Sun
Shops hours: Noon to 5 PM, Wed-Sun (at minimum)

Who's Here

The Artscape Distillery Studios are home to an eclectic mix of artists and organizations. Nowhere else will you find sculptors, woodworkers, metalsmiths, opera and theatre companies, dancers, cultural presenters, painters, fashion designers and multi-disciplinary artists all working under the same roof.

Andrew Rowat Photography

Unit 405
Fine art large-format photographer

Ann Shier

Unit 415
Encaustic painting teaching centre and gallery

Barbara Wybou

Unit 100
Traditional Japanese woodblock printing

Brian Harvey

Unit 412

Dance Ontario

Unit 304
Supporting and promoting dance in Ontario


Unit 301
Toronto's second oldest contemporary dance company

Dancemakers Theatre Studio

Unit 313
Rentable rehearsal and performance venue


Unit 304
Toronto's leading presenter of independent dance

Denise Ireland

Unit 211
Visual artist and an art instructor

Dina Milovanov Art

Unit 212

Figurative painter and portraitist


Unit 112
Working studio of ceramic artist Susan Card

Elaine Chan-Dow Photography Studio

Unit 400
Visual artist and editorial photographer

Ernst Balmer Studio

Studio 315
Rentable rehearsal and performance venue, operated by Tapestry Opera

Expect Theatre

Unit 208
Producing cutting-edge, original, multi-disciplinary productions

Jean Jewer

Unit 300
Artist working in painting, photography, collage and printmaking

Julie Moon Ceramics

Unit 204
Ceramic sculpture and design

Just Imagine Art and Design

Unit 415
Multi-media artist

Katharine Asals

303 B

Freelance Film and Television Editor

Lea Barclay

Unit 303D
Fine artist working in oils, watercolour, charcoal and pencil

Leif Benner

Unit 108

Lightmaker Studio

Unit 202
Handcrafted Modern Lighting

Lilith’s Garden

Unit 106
Clothing and accessories by artist Maihyet Burton

Lori Klassen

Unit 209
Artist working in oil painting and drawing

Lydia Panart

Unit 307
Fine artist and art educator

Marianne Fowler

Unit 213

Marina Hanacek

Unit 109

Multimedia abstract painter experimenting with wax and oil bar

Massoumeh Jian

Visual artist, multi-media installations

Mehoi Shop + Studio

Unit 107
Artist-made gifts and accessories

Michael J. Baker Studio

Studio 314
Rentable rehearsal and performance venue, operated by Dancemakers

Michelle Ross

Unit 206
Contemporary, elegant, and unpredictable handmade jewellery

Millicent Vee Knits

Unit 111
Hand-knit clothing and accessories

Nick’s Art Studio

Unit 303 C
Super-cool pop street style drawings, sculptures and hand-painted clothes


Unit 310
Commissions and develops new Canadian plays, musical works and dance

Nightwood Theatre

Unit 306
Canada’s foremost feminist theatre

Nurielle Stern

Unit 402
Ceramic sculpture and installation artist


Unit 201
Professional Association of Canadian Theatres

Pleiades Theatre

Unit 311
Sharing stories of world cultures on stage

Prologue to the Performing Arts

Unit 413
Facilitates access to performing arts experiences in schools and communities across Ontario

PROOF Studio Gallery

Unit 104 + 416
Photographic studio of artists Sheila Jonah, John Drajewicz and Natalie Draz

Ray Ferris

Unit 207
Musical animations and fine art

RedEye Studio + Gallery

Unit 109

Royal College of Canadian Organists

Unit 414
Supports its members in the development and practice of fine organ and choral performance

Sarah Phelps

Unit 401
Creates abstract paintings for every space.

Second Door Studio

Unit 103
Encaustic and mixed media art and workshops

Seray Vural

Unit 303A
Artist working with clay, paper and colours

Shay Salehi

Unit 402
Mixed-media artist

Simon Schneiderman Art

Unit 305
Painter, a poet and lawyer

Susan Leopold Studios

Unit 411
Visual artist and illustrator, author, educator and Creative Art Psychotherapist

TANK jewelry & beads

Unit 105
Hand-crafted glass and sterling silver jewelry

Tapestry Opera

Unit 316
Creating rule-breaking, innovative new works of Canadian opera

The CanDance Network

Unit 304
National network supporting the creation and distribution of contemporary dance

The Company Theatre

Unit 310
Theatre productions that meditate on the human condition

Theatre Museum Canada

Unit 309
Documents, preserves, studies, displays and interprets the heritage of theatre in Canada

Vanessa McKernan

Unit 406
Figure-based oil painting and drawing

Looking for art or creative services? The Artscape Artist Directory showcases the artistic practices of a wide variety of participating artists and performers from the Artscape community.

The Artscape Distillery Studios are operated by Artscape. Discover thriving creative communities across the city and support for artists at


The Artscape Distillery Studios opened in May, 2003. The facility occupies two industrial heritage structures, originally the Case Goods Warehouse (built 1928) and the Cannery Building. It was the first facility to open in what is now Toronto’s Historic Distillery District. The presence of this community helped to spur the broader effort to regenerate this former industrial zone. Many of the buildings’ original features are intact–come take a look.

Want to learn more? Read the case study on


All four floors of the Artscape Distillery Studios can be accessed by wheelchair. Washrooms and signage are not fully accessible. See Artscape’s Accessible Customer Service Policy.

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