In the heart of the Don Valley, tucked neatly away from the hustle and bustle of the parkway traffic, is one of Toronto’s best-kept natural secrets.
“It’s beautiful and a great place to bring the dogs. You can birdwatch and take all sorts of different trails,” says Marg Downs. She and her husband, Chuck, drive from their Riverdale home every day to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the Don Valley Brick Works, which is located beside the Bayview extension, between Pottery Road and Danforth Avenue/Bloor Street.
But it’s more than just the atmosphere that makes the brick works such a unique space. Evergreen, the non-profit environmental organization that focuses on reacquainting communities across Canada with nature, is heading the redevelopment of the site.
Although the former brickyard has not been in operation since 1984, the surrounding area includes wetlands and trails for people like the Downs who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors.
On May 26 and 27, Evergreen is hosting its Doors Open Toronto event: an open invitation to the public to come and explore the space and to participate in some eco-friendly activities. Shuttles will run from Broadview station on the half-hour, beginning at 9:45 a.m. and ending at 3:45 p.m.
Marilotte Bloemen, director of communications at Evergreen, believes the event will really help the community get involved with the environment.
“Even though we have yet to break ground on the site, we have a schedule filled with community events for people of all ages to participate in,” she says.
According to the Evergreen website, the restored brick works will “weave the potent ideas of nature, culture and community into a rich, new urban fabric — a model for the future cities.” This will be done by creating spaces for cultural events, utilizing the latest in green technology and promoting socially responsible values through programming.
Scheduled programming includes the weekly brick works farmers’ market, which begins on May 26, as well as the Evergreen Gardens Native Plant Nursery, running every weekend until July 8.
For now, it remains a cherished natural space with a lot of potential, and Marg Downs promises to continue frequenting the area.
“It’s much quieter and more peaceful than other parks,” she says. “It’s amazing.”
For more information on the brick works’ community events and other Evergreen projects, visit www.evergreen.ca/rethinkspace.