Type: Education Centre
From 1889 to 1984, the Don Valley Brick Works was one of Canada’s pre-eminent brickyards. At its peak more than 43 million bricks a year were manufactured for use in the construction of homes and buildings across Canada, including Massey Hall and Old City Hall. In the late 1980s the site was expropriated by the City of Toronto and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, backed by the Province of Ontario. The site was acquired for public use because of its geological and brick-making heritage, and because of its place in the lower Don River watershed. Today, the Don Valley Brick Works consists of 16 remaining heritage buildings and an adjacent 16-hectare public park known as the Weston Family Quarry Garden and Don Valley Brick Works Park that includes wetlands, hiking trails, and wildflower meadows. The Brick Works is now administered by Evergreen, a national charitable organization promoting sustainable urban development, while the park is overseen by the City of Toronto.
Sixteen of the original factory buildings have been preserved, notably the three long tunnel kilns and six single-track drying tunnels. Efforts are also underway to encourage the re-growth of heritage plants.
Brick Kilns: Evergreen Brick Works uses art and interactive exhibits to tell visitors the story of the brick making process, the workers’ experience, and the history of the site.
The Kilns building is also home to the CRH Gallery. Unique, large-scale art installations are displayed throughout this space.
Koerner Gardens: A showcase for sustainable urban greening, this is a 20,000-square-foot native plant demonstration space. These large native plant and food gardens inspire visitors with tips, techniques and designs for creating gardens in urban settings. School groups, community groups, home gardeners and families participate in the planting, care and maintenance of the garden mounds.
Weston Family Quarry Garden and Don Valley Brick Works Park: This natural heritage site offers nature trails through the former quarry of the brick works.
The extensive work of graffiti artists on the site, which dates from the years when the site was abandoned, has also been protected.
Guided Walking Tours, Saturdays, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ($5 suggested donation).
Tours are general in nature and focus on a variety of themes including: the natural, geologic, and historic significance of the site, art, adaptive reuse and green design, as well as how Evergreen’s mission is reflected in the spaces and programs.
The Pavilions: The Pavilions is a centrally located, covered, outdoor space for community gatherings and festivals. Since 2007 it has been home to Saturday and Sunday programs including a Farmers’ Market.
Centre for Green Cities: Since September 2010, Evergreen and a community of like-minded organizations have made their home in this intellectual and educational nexus of the Evergreen Brick Works campus. The Centre aims to bring together innovators, educators, and leaders in social and environmental thought.
Many volunteer opportunities. Complete a volunteer application available on website.
Address & Contact Information:
550 Bayview Avenue
Hours of Operation:
The Young Welcome Centre is open Monday–Friday 9am–5pm, Saturday 8am–4pm, Sunday and Holidays 10am–4pm
Key Words: industry, environment