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Big changes are headed to the Children’s Garden

After eight years of outdoor play, it’s time for a revitalization of one of the most beloved spaces at Evergreen Brick Works.

Overhead shot of the Children's Garden at Evergreen Brick Works Image: Tom Ferguson
Image: Tom Ferguson

Published on August 28, 2018

When the Children’s Garden opened at Evergreen Brick Works in 2010, it was envisioned to be a testing ground for new innovations in outdoor play and learning. The space itself is a unique combination of place-based education, loose parts play and a site design that evolves with the seasons and user interaction.

Since opening, it has grown to become one of the most used spaces on our campus. With nearly 35,000 visitors a year, the Children’s Garden is beloved by children, students, parents and educators alike.

Given this intensive use, capital improvements are planned for the fall of 2018, shoring up the base infrastructure while adding new elements to enhance and evolve the play experience.

With the addition of natural play elements, water works components, and outdoor making spaces, we will enable a robust, richer and more rewarding experience for all the children (and adults!) that visit. 

Children playing with loose parts. Photo credit: Mike Derblich.

After years of public consultation and discussions with both children and adults, we are able to give the Children’s Garden the refresh it needs thanks to generous funding from Ontario Trillium Foundation. 

The revitalization of the Children’s Garden will happen in two parts. Phase one will be from September 4 to mid-October of 2018, and phase two will begin in the spring of 2019.

The Terrain (Phase One)Sketches of the Beaver Dam's design.

The landscape in the Children’s Garden is going to dramatically shift with the introduction of new heights to climb, materials to traverse and opportunities to build and experiment with. Embedded in this enchanted play environment is Mint Mountain, The Wolf Den, and the Beaver Lodge. These special features have been generously supported by The Henry and Berenice Kaufmann Foundation.

The new design was inspired by edible landscapes, animal allies, and beaver architecture showcasing the next iteration of our experimentation with landform, risky play, natural materials, and loose parts.

The Water Works Studio (Phase Two)

This wet and wild experience will feature elements that are both practical and playful. Through the acts of lifting, carrying, channelling, mixing, spraying and pumping, the Studio will engage children in the pleasure and power of water.

Child playing with corkscrew water feature.New water stations, designed by artist-in-residence Ferruccio Sardella, will entice children to explore the exciting properties of water as it interacts with other building materials and become the architects and engineers of the space.

In spring 2019, Ferruccio and Evergreen will be inviting the public to join us for participatory design sessions. You can help us shape the Children’s Garden as we build the water stations, plant new greenery, and create the Barefoot Path.

Other family fun at Evergreen Brick Works

While the revitalization is underway, the Children’s Garden may be closed to the public during certain times of the year. To see other family fun to be had at Evergreen Brick Works, visit our What's On calendar


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Stay tuned for more updates from the Children's Garden as the revitalization begins!

Thank you to our generous sponsor Ontario Trillium Foundation, and to WSP Engineering, GNL, Oriole Landscaping and Feruccio Sardella for their continued support of this project.