A Cider Story
In partnership with Brickworks Ciderhouse, we remember the history of city building and champion city building of the future.
On a cold and windy spring evening in 1904, Toronto set ablaze. Remembered as the Great Toronto Fire, it destroyed more than 100 buildings in the downtown core, put over 5,000 people out of work and cost an estimated $10 million in damages. The dense core of the city was crowded by textile factories, book-sellers, paper supply companies and chemical manufacturers, and tangled by electrical wires. This meant the fire spread fast through the city, quickly jumping from building to building, carried by winds that peaked at nearly 50 kilometers per hour.
The source of the fire was never determined, but it sparked an important change as to how we build our city. Following this tragedy, Toronto was prompted to pass a new bylaw for safer fireproof structures that would prevent anything like this from happening again. The three materials that fulfilled the legal conditions for fireproof coverings were hollow tiles of burnt clay, terra cotta and bricks.
The city was going to need a lot of bricks.
Luckily for Toronto, the Don Valley had a rich quarry of clay to excavate. Purchased from William Taylor and his brothers three years prior to the fire, Robert Davies owned the Don Valley Brick Works situated by this quarry. Along with numerous other Toronto brick yards, the Don Valley Brick Works supplied the materials that helped to rebuild the downtown core.
The Don Valley Brick Works in production, ca. 1900s | City of Toronto Archives
For over 100 years since, these buildings have stood tall. The former Don Valley Brick Works, whose iconic red bricks are woven through Toronto’s landscape, are a reminder of our city building past.
So, what does Brickworks Ciderhouse have to do with Evergreen Brick Works?
Evergreen, the national not-for-profit that runs Evergreen Brick Works, has partnered with Brickworks Ciderhouse based on our deep connection to the history of the Don Valley Brick Works and to champion city building of the future.
Evergreen and Brickworks Cider staff at the Sipping Container, Evergreen Brick Works
Coming together at what was once the Don Valley Brick Works, now Evergreen Brick Works, we are turning an old factory that pressed and fired clay from deep in the ground to a lively destination for conversation, connection and community.
Next time you see Brickworks Ciderhouse with their craft ciders at Evergreen Brick Works, pick up their first-born cider, Batch: 1904. It’s named to remember the Great Toronto Fire and to celebrate a city standing tall for over 100 years. You’ll be surrounded by the historic buildings that built Toronto back up and can feel good about supporting Evergreen’s work to create cities that are livable, green and prosperous for the future.