Backgrounder: Evergreen Brick Works

Evergreen Brick Works

Evergreen transformed Toronto’s historic Don Valley Brick Works factory from an underused, deteriorating collection of buildings into a thriving community environmental centre, Evergreen Brick Works. It is a centre for innovation and fresh thinking that inspires future generations to rethink their place in the world and a dynamic place that adapts and grows to meet new urban challenges.

Evergreen Brick Works opened in 2010 and is a year-round destination for experiential learning, collaboration, fun and celebration on the themes of Nature, Culture and Community. Transforming the way we think about our cities, the innovative facility demonstrates and promotes practical solutions to make our communities sustainable and more livable, and our urban lifestyles healthier.

History

From 1889 to 1984, the Don Valley Brick Works was one of Canada’s pre-eminent brickyards. Many of Toronto’s heritage buildings and Canada’s national landmarks—including Winnipeg’s T. Eaton Building, Toronto’s Massey Hall and Casa Loma Stables, Montreal’s Acadia Apartments and Moncton’s T. Eaton Building—were constructed of bricks from this factory.

Approximately 16 hectares (roughly 40 acres), the Don Valley Brick Works is made up of two distinct areas:

  • Weston Family Quarry Garden (formerly Don Valley Brick Works Park): An 11.5 hectare natural area and city park containing the Weston Quarry Garden, wetlands, wildflower meadows, ravine forests and trails, which will continue to be managed by Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation
  • Don Valley Brick Works Industrial Pad: A complex of historical buildings over five hectares which has been revitalized as Evergreen Brick Works.

Evergreen and its volunteers had conducted naturalization and restoration projects at the Don Valley Brick Works Park since 1998. In 2004, Evergreen was granted permission by the City of Toronto to redevelop the Don Valley Brick Works industrial pad and buildings. In the fall of 2010, it opened as Evergreen Brick Works.

Construction

Evergreen chose an integrated team of professionals to help lead the design and construction of Evergreen Brick Works. The design team was led by Joe Lobko of du Toit Allsopp Hillier and du Toit Architects Limited. The design team’s work built on the findings of the planningAlliance master planning team. Design development decisions were the outcomes of a collaborative process that involved the entire design team, Evergreen, and at key milestones, staff of municipal and senior government agencies. Detailed designs were executed as a suite of smaller design projects, led by individual architecture and landscape architecture firms.

The design development and detailed design team includes:

  • du Toit Allsopp Hillier and du Toit Architects Limited (architecture and landscape architecture) (project lead);
  • Claude Cormier, Architectes Paysagistes Incorporated (landscape architecture);
  • Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated (architecture);
  • E.R.A. Architects Incorporated (heritage preservation and architecture);
  • Halsall Associates Limited (structural/sustainability/green design);
  • Stantec Consulting Incorporated (mechanical and electrical engineering);
  • The MMM Group (water resources);
  • BA Group (transportation management);
  • CM2R Incorporated (costing);
  • Leber Rubes Incorporated (building code and life safety);
  • David Dennis Design (industrial design);
  • Dougan and Associates (ecology);
  • CH2M Hill (environmental consulting);
  • J. S. Coulter Associates (acoustical impact analysis);
  • Archaeological Services Incorporated (archaeology);
  • AECOM (site servicing);
  • Alston Associates Incorporated (geological consulting);
  • Trow Associates (durable building consulting);
  • Hunter Facilities Management (commissioning consulting);
  • ResCo (solar thermal);
  • Adams and Associates (signage).
  • Aldrich Pears Associates- Vancouver) (interpretive elements)
  • Ferruccio Sardella (consulting artist)
  • Eastern Construction Company Limited (Construction Manager)

Social Enterprise

The 184,000 square-foot industrial pad includes space for charitable, non-profit organizations and socially-conscious private enterprises working on similar issues. All partners and tenants of the site signed a Charter that defines the shared vision that governs participation at the site.