Evergreen Brick Works
Prepare to be delighted by Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto's premier sustainability destination. With markets featuring local produce and goods, sprawling gardens and nature trails, interactive exhibits demonstrating how cities of the future can use green practices, educational programs, and meeting venues, Evergreen Brick Works offers one of the most unique experiences in Toronto.
Evergreen Brick Works is not just a place to relax and enjoy, it’s also a place to learn about and create solutions for building a greener future. There isn’t another place like it in the Toronto area. Built on a 16.5-hectare site, this community hub draws over 400,000 visitors each year. It’s a great place to enjoy nature, grab a bite to eat, support local artists and farmers, enjoy art and performances, and spend hours, if not the whole day, there. The fully accessible site is perfect for families, too. You can even bring your own picnic to enjoy at one of the many picnic tables found around the site.
Evergreen Brick Works emerged from an abandoned brick factory, turning into a premiere sustainable centre promoting green practices and showcasing how cities of the future can make a positive impact on the planet. But it’s more than that, as the award-winning Evergreen Brick Works features a wealth of different activities for visitors. And these activities demonstrate how each of us can start using more sustainable practices in our everyday life.
More about Evergreen Brick Works
Located at 550 Bayview Ave in an abandoned brick quarry in the Don Valley, just 8 kilometres north of downtown Toronto, Evergreen Brick Works is accessible via public bus transport. From downtown Toronto, hop on the Yonge Subway line to the Davisville station and transfer to the #28 bus.
There’s also a free shuttle bus just north of the Broadview subway stop on the Bloor-Danforth line that departs every 30 to 45 minutes. The shuttle is wheelchair accessible.
If driving, the site is just off the Don Valley Parkway. Paid parking is available on the premises. You will even find electric charging stations on site.
Regarding its history, supplying many bricks that were used to build Toronto, the Don Valley Brick Works opened in 1889 next to the Mud Creek creating a quarry. Changing hands through the decades, the mass-producing brick factory operated until 1991. Initially, the city of Toronto had planned to tear down the buildings and replace them with housing. But, when the idea was scrapped, Evergreen, a not-for-profit organization, purchased the buildings. The idea from the beginning was to repurpose the buildings for revitalizing urban spaces. Since opening in 2010, the Evergreen Brick Works has been leading the charge for a more sustainable future for cities around the world.
The entire site acts as a community hub where locals, visitors, and businesses can come together and explore new ways to be green as well as creatively educate each other so we all can make smarter choices in our lives when it comes to sustainability. You can enjoy the site on your own or take one of the guided tours to really get the purpose of this repurposed site. Programs designed just for kids help to teach children through hands-on experiences about nature, problem-solving, and sustainability. And, there’s even a dedicated garden space for children to run around and have fun.
The entirety of Evergreen Brick Works contains different areas to explore. Each area has its own hours and some areas are seasonal only:
Saturday Farmers Market
The largest farmer’s market in Toronto offers guests a wide variety of local and seasonal food that started in 2007. Vendors are local Ontario farmers, so you can count on having an endless choice of the freshest ingredients available.
The idea is simple – help support local producers while making healthy food options easily available to the public. Together, a sustainable food system is created while supporting the local economy. The market runs every Saturday year-round.
Sunday Artisan Market
Running from May to November every year, the Sunday Artisan Market is one of the best places in Toronto to find that unique gift or souvenir to take back home with you. Showcasing the work of local artisans, there’s no telling what amazing product you’ll stumble upon and just have to have, including jewellery, fruit preserves, wood work, leather goods, as well as tasty snacks.
Evergreen Garden Market
Operating year round, the Evergreen Garden Market is an absolute treasure trove of original items and native plants for your home. Again, the idea behind the Garden Market is sustainability and supporting local artisans, small businesses, and farmers.
It will be hard to leave empty handed as you stroll through displays of unique home décor, books, children’s toys, bath & body products, seasonal products, and a garden centre overflowing with flowers and plants naturally found in Ontario.
Future Cities Exhibits
At the heart of the Evergreen Brick Works are the Future Cities Exhibits. It is here where visitors can tour the past of the brick factory while seeing the sustainable options to drive a cleaner future. Multiple exhibits drive the conversation about eco-friendly options, stimulate ideas, and encourage hands on experiences with their interactive displays. Future Cities is open every weekend and is free to enjoy.
And if you want to fully enjoy nature, there are plenty of options for hiking trails in the Don River Valley Park which borders the Evergreen Brick Works. This incredible 200-hectare park features walking/bike trails with art installations to enjoy while you wander along a ravine and through woodlands and wetlands.
But there is one short hike you cannot leave Evergreen Brick Works without doing, and that is Lookout Path. From atop the hill, you are rewarded with an uninterrupted and awe-inspiring view of downtown Toronto. With the Evergreen Brick Works in the forefront, it will be hard to top this view during your visit to Toronto.
If you need a reason to visit the Evergreen Brick Works during winter, look no further than its skating rink. This is not your average skating rink. With exposed beams overhead, the rink weaves its way around and through snow covered gardens. The experience is truly a magical winter wonderland.
Open only during winter from December to March, access to the rink is dependent on weather conditions. It is free to skate on the weekends. If you don’t have your own pair of blades, you can rent a pair on site. Public and private skate lessons are also available.