When you think of York Durham Headwaters (YDH), you might imagine rolling hills and small towns about an hour’s drive north of Toronto. Maybe you think of Canada’s Wonderland, farmers’ markets, or the region’s booming craft brew scene. But did you know that under YDH’s charming exterior lies a scandalous past?

It all started around 1916 when the Temperance movement banned the production and consumption of alcohol. Booze may have been banned, but the stills didn’t dry up.

In fact, YDH became a hotbed of activity as crafty moonshiners set up secret stills in the forests and wilderness across the region. It was the perfect location — close enough to Toronto to supply underground speakeasies, yet far enough to avoid raising suspicion of local police. Plus, the woods provided ample hiding spots to escape the law.

This is no baloney and to prove it, YDH is launching the Temperance and Temptation tour this summer to help drink enthusiasts experience the war on giggle water firsthand. But beware — teetotallers are tougher than they look!

If you dare, take the immersive Experience Tour in one (or all!) of our three regions. You’ll sample the best booze in all of Ontario, eat like the big cheese you are, and take in some real swell live entertainment. Be sure to don your best 20s glad rags to fit in with all the other fabulous flappers and hip cats on the tour!

Or fire up the jalopy, appoint a designated driver, and take a free self-guided tour. Just download the free app and the online maps, and set your GPS to start your adventure. You’ll hear tales of people living double lives in York, dramatic clashes between rebels and teetotallers in Durham, and the operation of rustic bootlegging operations in the nooks and crannies of rural Headwaters.

The self-guided tours include secret passwords you’ll need to sample sinful spirits and yummy in-house specials at the stops along the way.

Featured bootleggers include:

  • Brock Street Brewing Co.
  • The Second Wedge Brewing Co.
  • Old Flame Brewing Co.
  • Market Brewing Co.
  • Adamo Estate Winery
  • Holland Marsh Wineries
  • Gallucci Winery
  • Last Straw Distillery
  • GRAND SPIRITS Distillery

Whether you decide to take one tour or all of them, you’ll never look at York Durham Headwaters the same again!

Visit temperanceandtemptation.ca for more information about the tours, tickets, the free app, and the Temperance and Temptation special exhibition. You can also brush up on your 20s slang!