The Don Brewery

Don Brewery - 1877 - Illustrated historical atlas of the county of York, 1878

The massive Don Brewery was located on the west bank of the Don River, north of Queen St. West and east of River Street.  We’re not sure when the original brewery was built, but we’re looking into it!  We know Thomas Davies is listed as the proprietor and brewer of the Don Brewery as early as 1850, and that he leased the original brewery from William and Robert Parks .  A major renovation – possibly a total demolition of the original brewery – occurred in 1876-77.

Ad from the Ontario Gazetteer, 1869

  The Don Brewery was a real family affair, staying in the family until the late 1880s.  After Thomas passed, his sons took over the business and continued manufacturing their brand of Sparkling Cream XX & XXX Ale, in both pale ale and porter varieties.  Their brewery was notable for a few reasons, one was the immense size of the complex, the second was that the brewery was the first brewery in Canada to be hooked up to the city waterworks.  By 1892, the Don complex consisted of three main buildings, a massive ice house, a large malting floor with kilns and a bottling run in the basement and an attached three-story building that housed a lager beer tun room in the basement, a

Don Brewery 1877 J. Timperlake, Illustrated Toronto

bottling plant on the main floor, fermenting tuns on the second floor and the ice house on the third floor. 

Malthouse Lofts at Old Brewery Lane from

 The Davies’ family also owned a home on the south-west corner of the property.  The London & Colonial Financial Company purchased the Davies’s brewery in 1889 for $1 200 000, a massive amount for the time.  The brewery continued to operate until the 1930s.  Parts of the brewery still exist in and around Old Brewery Lane in Regent Park.  The Malthouse Lofts at 39 Old Brewery Lane was, surprise surprise, the original malthouse built in 1876.  Can you see the resemblance?  The Lager Brewery building still You can check out more pictures of the Malthouse Lofts at  Matthew Borrett over at has written a fabulous article about the history of the Davies’ house that was located on the SW corner of the brewery property.  You can check it out here!

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