Friday, July 13, 2012

Toronto's Evergreen Brick Works

If you are looking for something different to do when you visit Toronto, then you should visit the Evergreen Brick Works.  I had never been before, but it has been on my want-to-do list for awhile now. Kate and I went there recently and it was definitely an interesting place - a bit different than what I was expecting and a bit difficult to describe.

It's arty, but definitely not traditional,

historic, but not stuffy, 

Sculpture of A. P. Coleman's boots - the geologist who mapped the layers of till in the north slope of the Brick Works quarry in the early part of the 20th Century. (photo taken by Kate)


with edgy industrial design.  

But what is the Evergreen Brick Works?  It is evident when you visit that it is many things.  It started as a former quarry and industrial site located in the Don River valley. The brick yard operated for nearly 100 years and supplied the bricks for many of Toronto's most famous buildings. The brick yard stopped production in the 1980s and the site began to deteriorate. In 1994 transformation was begun to turn the historic buildings into an environmentally-focused community and cultural centre.  The site has interactive workshops, community festivals, and hand-on educational programs.  There is a farmer's market, a restaurant serving local organic food, space for bicycle repairs, hiking trails around the pond and quarry, and many special exhibits. 

In 2010, Evergreen Brick Works was named one of the top ten geotourism destinations in the world by National Geographic.

There is graffiti everywhere, but especially in the old Brick Works buildings themselves.

Kate and I took photos of each other in front of graffiti that matched what we were wearing.

A couple of things stood out for me that I thought were ingenious.  The first was the way they had constructed the railings. They were made using sheets of metal with holes in them which, when you layer two sheets together and off-set the holes, makes the most beautiful flowery pattern.

Another thing I loved was an amazing watershed wall art.  It's a huge map of the watersheds of Toronto and area made of two layers of rusting metal with water seeping down between the layers.  The rivers were planted with succulents.

The Evergreen Brick Works was a fun place to spend the day with lots of scope for taking arty photos and exploring.

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Linked to Love the Place You Live at Design Mom


  1. It looks absolutely fascinating. It is always pleasing when these old sites are put to good use. I like that you matched some of the graffiti!

  2. Looks great. I'll have to get there. I know my niece has spent time there with school groups. She's into everything eco and is teaching outdoor education next year. J

  3. Wow, looks like a wonderful place to visit. Very very interesting. :) Kit

  4. We love the evergreens brick works. It's such a phenomenal space...everything is made from sustainable materials and very environmentally friendly. The food they serve at the cafe is FABULOUS...everything is fresh and organic...did you get a chance to try? If not, try next time. ALSO, every sunday i believe...they have a bike work can bring your bicycle there and theres a gentlemen at bricksworks who'll fix your bike for you for free! Really glad you visited the place and had a great time :)

  5. Found your post on the brickworks via DesignMom -great post, our family loves the brickworks too!

  6. You are making me horribly homesick for Toronto! I LOVE the Brickworks.

    Funnily enough, out west there is this impression that anything "eco" is only out here when in fact, a large city HAS to be eco - there isn't any choice.

    Lovely photos...