Every single day in the spring, summer and fall, and everyday except Mondays in the winter time it’s quite common to see people gliding around the Distillery Historic District on two wheeled vehicles called Segways. These space age human transporters are available for rental at Segway of Ontario, #20 Gristmill Lane, beside the variety store at the base of Pure Spirits condo bldg.
In case you don’t know, a Segway PT (personal transporter) is a two-wheeled self-balancing battery-powered electric vehicle invented by Dean Kamen that first debuted on Good Morning America on 3rd December 2001, after considerable hype and hyperbole including a South Park episode, The Entity which mocked the secrecy and speculation surrounding the product unveiling. Today these vehicles are made at Segway Inc. of New Hampshire, USA and sold all over the world.
Segway is a market leader in small electric vehicle design and production; this company is remarkably different from its competitors in business structure too. The tiny shop here in the Distillery is testament to the unique business model that thrives on letting people test-drive the machine and using scenic tours to let them have a safe, positive, and unforgettable experience at the helm.
That’s how and why Segway of Ontario selected the Distillery District as a convenient base of operations in Toronto. The cobblestone courtyards and alleys here are considered private property and off limits to most vehicles except bicycles and handcarts. The Segway scenic tours entice Distillery visitors to glide around the compound and have that unique two-wheeled locomotive experience as they learn interesting facts about the historic property and its whiskey distilling heritage along the way.
New drivers spend a few minutes training on the Segway before the tour begins. The experienced guides often make noobs practice their skills by making sharp turns through a row of evenly spaced orange road cones set about four feet apart along Gristmill Lane. This training session is soon followed by a quick spin around the Stone Distillery Bldg block. Then the tour begins in earnest and by the end of it, each driver has a taste of the past and a feel for the future. The tour group can accommodate up to eight participants per tour at a time. Check rider policy and minimum age and weight requirements.
Visitors to the area can schedule or perhaps even catch a previously scheduled Segway assisted scenic tour of the Distillery District from Tuesday to Sun at 11am, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5pm. The price is $39 per person plus tax and the duration is approx thirty minutes, and reservations are required unless you’re extremely serendipitous and arrive at exactly the right time to join an existing tour of like-minded participants.
Every summer Segway of Ontario generously donates a private Segway tour of the Distillery to the newly crowned Miss Teen Canada World. See 2012 Titleholder Megha Sandhu on a Segway PT in this previous Distillery District blog post. Follow Segway of Ontario on Twitter @SegwayOntario and here is the Segway Ontario Facebook Page.