The Evergreen Brickworks – a gem in the middle of Toronto. Formerly called the Don Valley Brick Works, for over 100 years it supplied bricks to build a city. Casa Loma, Osgoode Hall, Massey Hall and the Ontario Legislature building all benefited from the clay of this area.
It is now a multi-activity experience, an educational, charitable organization that rejuvenated a derelict wasteland – The Evergreen Brickworks.
I’m going to split this walk into 3 – the first will explore the meadow and wetlands. Then I will go with Eve to the Saturday Farmer’s Market. Finally, I’ll attend one of the special events they regularly hold.
Toronto is blessed with a labyrinth of ravines. Many of walking trails that the city maintains. The Brickworks is located in a crossroads of two ravines – Moore Park and Don Valley Ravines.
To get there by car it is on Bayview but on the weekends the lots fill up quickly. By bicycle either the Beltline multi-purpose trail on the west side or the Don River Trail on the east side
We took the #28 Bayview South bus from the Davisville subway station. It is about a 15 minute ride and stops right at the Brickworks. The stop is right next to the Garden Centre so we went to explore there. In the summer the place is quite busy with various garden supplies available. Today it is quiet, not even a school tour.
However they have setup a pumpkin patch maze. Didn’t see a “Dogs Not Allowed” sign. In we go. Respect the patch Eve.
The trail takes us into a spooky lane. What is around the corner I wonder? Eve gets busy sniffing the hay bales.
It opens into a large space with plenty o pumpkins. Moments after this shot was taken, Eve decides to disrespect the maze and pees on the hay floor. Sheesh.
Coming out the other side is the shopping area. Still lots of flower seeds available.
Accessories for the garden like bird feeders.
Next to the garden centre is “Picnic” the cafe. The outdoor patio is dog friendly. It is a beautiful, warm Fall day. Decide to have a cappuccino and treats for Eve before heading to the meadow.
From the patio we turn left to head to the area where the market is held. On the wall is an installation depicting the rivers that transverse the ravines and feed into Lake Ontario.
Mud Creek runs alongside the Brickworks and empties into the Don River a little east of Bayview Ave. When making bricks, water was an essential ingredient so the location next to Mud Creek was ideal.
The installation, by Ferruccio Sardella, depicts the 5 Toronto rivers – Mimico, Humber, Don, Highland and Rouge. They form the basis for Toronto’s watershed – vital for distributing nutrients for plant and animal life.
This is the area where the Saturday Farmer’s Market happens. Thought I’d take a shot of the empty space to compare when we come back. It was the main atrium of the Don Valley Brickworks and the huge, space, with open walls on covered roof, makes it ideal to accommodate the market.
Art work was established right from the beginning of the restoration. There are current and past art projects with both local and international artists.
There is a photograph, taken in 1897, that shows a rare geological event. Workers were removing dirt from the north slope when they exposed a sedimentary layer between ice ages. It proved that there was a warming period and that the earth goes through different changes in temperature. This discovery made the Brickworks and international find and helped to preserve the site when the factory closed down.
When I was here last time, there was a large photo of the city on the side of the building. It pointed to various buildings on the Toronto skyline that were built using bricks from the factory. It has since been removed, replaced by large art pieces.
The photograph from 1897 gives an idea of the size of the quarry. A plaque located at the entrance to the meadow gives a visual representation.
We stopped at “The Rock”. I’ve been taking my dogs to the Brickworks for the last 15 years. Each time I’ve taken a “rock” photo.
Odin, Dante, Dublin – 2013
Dublin, Raisin and foster Buddy in 2015
We head out to the meadow. There is a school tour on the west side so we take the east trail. This is the first time I’ve come in the fall for a walk.
We head over to the ponds. They were created by the Evergreen foundation by diverting water from Mud Creek. Floating islands were added – foam structures anchored to the bottom. The cultivated wetlands did the trick and has attracted flora and fauna where once was rock and clay.
If you have time, you can sit is utter peacefulness and watch for turtles. Eve is not one for sitting in peace. She will sit for awhile but not long enough for a turtle to appear.
Evergreen Brickworks really is an oasis in the city. You would not realize you are in the middle of a mega city. Try to go on a weekday when it is not so busy to appreciated the quiet and relaxing nature of Nature.