The largest city in Canada, Toronto, has this fantastic industrial site of cultural heritage, Evergreen Brick Works, known as Don Valley Brick Works, located in the Don River Valley, 8 Km north of downtown with easy access via public bus transport. Undoubtedly, it’s worth it!
The Objective Behind Evergreen Brick Works
With the belief in diversity, equity, and inclusion, Evergreen Brick Works, a non-profitable organization, has left the world with an important message for the future and how to lead a life with a sustainable approach, i.e., the idea of green cities. Here, the conservation authority focuses on problems everyone faces and pilots sensible solutions.
Evergreen Brick Works is a hub that brings together citizens, business, government, and academia to indulge in large-scale conferences, symposiums, unique activities to make cities more livable, green, and prosperous.
The History of Don Valley Brick Works
This park in Toronto was once just a quarry and eventually was constructed into a large-scale brick-making operation. From 1889 to 1989, huge buildings like Casa Loma, the Ontario Legislature Building, and Massey Hall were built. Having made the bricks that built the city, this site held significance in Toronto’s industrial and social history.
The site remained derelict for years after the 1980s until the city pondered its future use. Don Valley brick works had begun ‘greening’ some former areas outside Toronto. The idea of creative reuse of Brick works building evolved, following sustainability principles. Numerous green technologies have also been showcased on the refurbished site.
It took less than a decade for evergreen brick works to evolve into their present form; it was essentially complete by 2010.
How does the Evergreen Brick Works Operate?
Evergreen Brick Works operate as a social enterprise, i.e., it is a business run by a charity that provides goods and services for a dual objective – to create income and social welfare. The profits raised from revenue-generating ventures are utilized to fund their work and achieve their aim of making cities flourish.
Evergreen Brick Works feature educational sessions and interactive programs depicting cultural diversity, themes of nature. It is a natural habitat for over 500,000 visitors every year, where they get involved in event facilities ranging from workshops, clay making to demonstration gardens where seasonal planting takes place.
Here are our top 5 picks that you can not afford to miss at evergreen brick works!
1. Saturday Farmers Market
Saturday farmers’ market in the Evergreen Brick Works has become the largest farmer’s market in Toronto. Starting with 25 farmers in 2007, its fantastic location fetched a great response. These year-round open Saturday markets are bustling onsite, where people can see the widest variety of local and seasonal food in the city.
2. The Plant Positivity Gardens
The plant positivity gardens are six gardens that harbor 50 more diverse species of plants. As a hub of plants, it naturally attracts animals and birds towards it. These plantations provide a thriving community and educational space.
QR codes can be scanned regularly to enjoy these gardens’ details and sensory experiences with a free self-guided audio tour. Evergreen’s lead gardener Isaac Crosby manages these gardens.
3. Don Valley Park
Marking the centerpiece of rapidly growing downtown Toronto, the Don valley park is spread over 200-hectares. It has connected neighborhoods and new development to valuable parkland.
Stroll down the river’s edge for moments of solitude; the art installations along the trail won’t let your excitement wear off. A new hub of art in Toronto is created along the Don River.
Artists from various nationalities have created art pieces that speak of the history and present-day realities of the surrounding communities. These paintings also have ecological, cultural, industrial, and indigenous perspectives. Each painting has its own timeline, and Evergreen Brick Works also offer research workshops led by artists.
4. Weston Family Quarry Garden
The Don Valley Park also consists of the Weston family quarry garden. This 16.5-hectare park was once a 36-meter deep quarry. It provided clay to Don Valley Brick Works for almost a century.
Urban habitat for aquatic plants and animals is provided by the ponds and wetlands along the park’s western flank. Three ponds at Don watershed were crucial as they filtered the waters of Mud Creek, which enter the park from the north and eventually join Don River to its south.
5. Skating Rink
Unlike the usual skating rinks, a special rink is constructed with beams overhead weaved around the snow-covered gardens. This arrangement makes the garden look magical. Do not worry if you do not own skating blades; they’ve got it covered for you. You can rent blades from the Evergreen Brick Works themselves. This service is available only in the winter and the best time to go there is from December to March. However, since it is an outdoor rink, its availability is subject to weather conditions.
Tracking Recent Announcements
You can follow Evergreen Brick Works on Twitter, where updated information is posted instantly to reflect recent announcements. To never miss updated information, you can also subscribe to their newsletter here!
All the buildings developed there set a model for the world to live with sustainability. People from different communities, locals, and businesses can discuss various ideas and share their sustainable green life and implement it in real life.
The key to their success is undoubtedly community partnership and teamwork. There are a lot of sites that have been evolved solely to make people aware of the new green technologies. It’s not just the environmental aspect they focus on, but they also throw light on the economical and social part of the story and try to give suitable solutions for balancing it out.
The administration of Toronto believes that sustainability can be best achieved only through an innovative public-private partnership. The adaptive and innovative reuse and restoration of the Evergreen Brick Works is a milestone of this beautiful journey.