It is speculated that the first distillery in Canada was born from the popularity of rum from the West Indies. Due to rising shipping duties in the 18th century, this go-to spirit for Canadian settlers became extremely expensive. This resulted in the creation of the first recorded distillery in 1769 located in Quebec, which distilled rum from imported molasses. Making this alcohol on home turf meant it was more accessible and most importantly, much cheaper.
The introduction of distilleries played not only a vital part in the recreational life of Canadians, but it was also a necessity in the 1900s. In WWI, for example, distilleries converted themselves into different production facilities to make acetone and other much-needed war materials.