120,754 people enjoyed healthy, local food and vibrant cultural celebrations at the Brick Works through our Markets and Day of the Dead.
2022 was a landmark year for Evergreen. We emerged from the hardest part of COVID and started to see what collaborative, green and regenerative community building across the country can accomplish. We opened Canada's first Climate Ready School Ground, reimagining school grounds as places for learning, play, community gathering and climate adaptation. We advanced meaningful projects with Indigenous communities as we work on Right Relations to make Evergreen Brick Works a place where more people feel welcome. And we grew programs at the Brick Works — from education to markets to arts— for greater impact.
As many of you know, I became Evergreen's CEO in September 2022. I was drawn to Evergreen's tremendous potential to transform public spaces and the trailblazing vision of founder, Geoff Cape. This is an organization that excels at innovating. Evergreen believes change is possible, and acts – working on the ground, with our hands in the dirt, to reimagine what places in our cities can do for all of us.
Although this has been a year filled with milestone moments, life feels different. Climate change, growing inequality and eroding health and well-being, remain complex crises we urgently need to solve. And underpinning all of it, an erosion of social connection is playing out across the country. These past few years, we've experienced just how vital public spaces are for their potential to connect us with nature, be a safe place for people and community to gather and to help solve for many of the challenges before us. Evergreen is returning to its roots to focus on regenerative and inclusive public spaces.
The best public spaces are created in collaboration with the communities they serve and offer something for everyone. Across the country, Evergreen was in communities helping build networks for positive change through programs like the Community Solutions Network and The Housing Supply Challenge Support Program. In this report, you'll read about the many ways we are investing in communities and public spaces that work harder for our communities and our planet.
As I find my feet at Evergreen, I am excited to build on the foundation established. I'm inspired by the leadership inside and outside of this organization and look forward to working alongside our very talented team, supporters, partners and communities to realize the possibility of places across Canada.
While reading this report, I hope that you too are inspired by the ground-breaking work that people and partners like you make possible. This work has never been more urgent and has never had greater momentum.
Together, let's reshape our public spaces to support our communities to thrive.
It's been an eventful and exciting year at Evergreen as the organization underwent a successful leadership transition and marked many impressive milestones in our continuing efforts to change public spaces for the better.
I want to thank Geoff Cape for his three decades of leadership and service to the remarkable organization he created. And I want to extend a warm welcome to our new CEO, Jen Angel, who is a seasoned and successful builder of community and places people love. Jen is passionate about creating and improving public spaces and we are excited to see how her leadership will further establish Evergreen as a world leader in placemaking and sustainability.
The achievements of 2022 have been supported by extraordinary partnerships and effort. Our success is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our staff, donors, volunteers and partners. With your help, we have been able to showcase the power of public spaces with more people than ever before.
Our work is far from done. It's more important than ever to invest in our community spaces for the benefit of current and future generations. I want my grandchildren and their children to grow up knowing and enjoying Evergreen Brick Works and the many other natural and built spaces in their communities.
Our shared challenges in preserving and expanding these special spaces may be daunting, but our opportunities for lasting change are enormous. The accomplishments of 2022 are a testament to that fact.
Thank you for working with us to lay the foundations for green, and prosperous communities.
120,754 people enjoyed healthy, local food and cultural celebrations
120,754 people enjoyed healthy, local food and vibrant cultural celebrations at the Brick Works through our Markets and Day of the Dead.
8,400 children and families engaged
8,400 children and families engaged in active, inclusive and hands-on activities in the Children's Garden during Weekend Nature Play
9 volunteer-supported programs and events
9 volunteer-supported programs and events ran for the first time since 2020I including PA Day Adventure Camps, Greenhouse Growers, and on-site photographers
6,748 students joined us through the Visiting Schools Program
6,748 students joined us through the Visiting Schools Program for curriculum linked outdoor education, with 3,647 of those students served by our bursary program.
1,200 people of all ages got out on the ice
1,200 people of all ages got out on the ice during our public skating season
296 communities across Canada served
296 communities across Canada were served by the Community Solutions Portal, with 9,180 online visits, 263 free resources downloaded and 1,620 podcast listens.
39 youth were inspired to become Future City Builders
39 youth were inspired to become Future City Builders. They developed 9 dynamic solutions to challenges in their local communities.
16,000 lbs of waste diverted
16,000 lbs of waste were diverted from landfill by upcycling bicycles at the Gateway Bicycle Hub. 2,221 individuals were trained in basic bike repair and refurbishment.
2 Housing forums engaged nearly 700 people
Evergreen hosted two Housing forums this year which engaged nearly 700 people on the latest solutions for resilient and affordable housing.
Expanding our role in placemaking and urban sustainability was a focal point for Evergreen this year. Under the direction of our new CEO, Jen Angel, Evergreen continued to invest in partnerships, new and longstanding, to create better public spaces for all in 2022.
Partnerships are an important part of how we create meaningful change. No single actor can solve the challenges we face in cities. This report showcases some of our successes from 2022. With the help of our partners, we have been able to use public places to shape the way we live, celebrate and connect with one another. Thank you for joining us in building a more sustainable, connected and resilient future.
This year was filled with many exciting events and family-friendly activities at Evergreen Brick Works. Across the site visitors got to participate in a wide range of experiences that showcased the
Public spaces can open the opportunity to connect with neighbours and to see ways that I can potentially invest in their lives. Public space offers those physical health benefits, but also encourages being around others.
Jonathan Massimi, Community Expert in Evergreen's Future City Builders Program
Our education programs take a playful, experienced-based approach to learning about the intersections between urban, natural and built worlds. Children and youth gain skills to address climate change, connection to place and Indigenous reconciliation.
Based at the Brick Works, the Visiting Schools Program offers meaningful outdoor education tailored to children and youth of various ages and stages of development. We are thrilled to report that in 2022 we ran 244 programs with 6,748 students. Thanks to help of our partners, we were able to provide bursaries for more than 50% of participating students.
Learn more about the program
The program helps connect students to the animals and plants right outside their door. The focus on local flora and fauna makes this program unique and essential in helping children build a genuine reciprocal connection to the land.
2022 was a year filled with vibrant celebrations at Evergreen Brick Works. Since Evergreen Brick Works opened to the public in 2010, we have been committed to providing sustainable and accessible products, produce and food to visitors. In addition to mainstays like the Saturday Farmers Market, which had over 100,000 visitors this year, we had a number of special events and celebrations.
On October 30th, 5,000 people came together at Evergreen Brick Works to celebrate Latin American culture with activities for children and adults alike. At Día de Muertos, people from different backgrounds took part in conversations about the importance of rituals, food, culture and diversity. This vibrant day was filled with live music, traditional dances, sugar skull face painting and play in the Children's Garden. Visitors also enjoyed a performance by The Mexicans Folk Ballet as part of Evergreen's Cultural Performing Arts Series supported by Bank of America. Thanks to Brickworks Cider, participants got to sample Ponche Mexicano (traditional Mexican fruit beverage), Lime Margarita cider and delicious apple juice.
Watch a quick recap
Evergreen Brick Works was a flurry of activity late this year during the Winter Market. On December 18th we had a fun-filled day of activities at the Brick Works, including an Artisan & Vintage Market, food court, winter hikes and trivia contest. Over 7,000 visitors participated in this year's market. Our friends at Brickworks Cider provided samples of mulled apple cider and hot chocolate to keep everyone warm. The Skating Rink was busy, and lots of families and friends got to enjoy free skating. Supported by Interac, skate rentals were available for free during the Winter Market and all winter long! During the evening visitors experienced a beautiful chamber concert by Tafelmusik artists Genevieve Gilardeau and Lucas Harris as part of Evergreen's Cultural Performing Arts Series made possible by Bank of America.
Learn more about the event
The connections between contemporary art and the environment become clearer as we experience the climate change in our day-to-day lives. Art has a responsibility to address these issues and look critically at its own environmental impact and how it can reduce harm to our ecosystems.
Charlene K. Lau, Evergreen Curator
2022 saw the creation of the Institute for Public Art and Sustainability. The Institute builds on Evergreen's years of experience showcasing site-responsive art at Evergreen Brick Works and in the surrounding ravine system. It will support and sustain public art for future generations. By working together, the Institute will shape the future of public art and drive towards a more equitable and sustainable arts sector.
In Which We Draw a People's Map of the Don River…: an artistic research project by Mare Liberum. By envisioning maps for the Don River's future, this project raised questions about land reclamation, ownership, and histories of extraction, industry, and colonial exploitation. The project featured a six-part interactive podcast series entitled Don River Radio and a boat-building workshop and launch into Lake Ontario in July of 2022.
Learn more about the project
Roots: an outdoor photographic installation by Toronto-based artist Sandra Brewster, bringing together art, urban exploration, and Toronto's Black histories and diasporas. The project highlighted the necessity of establishing safe outdoor spaces for community building and gathering. Brewster's images chart movement and migration towards and across lands complicated by histories of unceded territories. As curator Charlene K. Lau explains, “Brewster's evocative imagery pushes us all to think about what the lands and waterways of the Don Valley have seen in their time and in particular what constitutes multitudinous Black experiences in the Canadian wilderness.
Read more about this photographic installation
We convene and engage partners, bringing the tools and resources to test and scale solutions to urban challenges.
Our work on a national scale aims to:
In this section, you can read about how, together with our partners, we tackled several pressing issues facing our cities. From digging into solutions for the affordable housing crisis to facilitating youth investment in local communities to opening climate-resilient school grounds, Evergreen made great strides towards creating accessible public spaces for communities across the country.
The Climate Ready Schools program is the next step in our over 30-year legacy of transforming school grounds across the country, showcasing how schools and community spaces can play a pivotal role in adapting to climate change.
Lois Lindsay, Chief Program Officer
After years of work, on October 6th, 2022, Canada's first Climate Ready School Ground opened to the public. The pilot project transformed the school ground at Irma Coulson Public School, northwest of Toronto in Milton, Ontario, into a vibrant community space that helps to nurture children through outdoor play and learning while adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.
As Senior Program Manager, Heidi Campbell explains, “When you look at a school ground, you can reimagine it as a park where the whole community can flourish in this greenspace”. This incredible change was made possible through collaboration and community consultation. From the outset, a participatory design process brought together teachers, students, parents, neighbours and school board administrators to build a vision for their school ground. This project is only the beginning. It is evident that now, more than ever before, we need resilient spaces that support flourishing local communities. Drawing together cutting-edge environmental design and vibrant landscapes that enhance child development and education, this project illustrates the many benefits of working across sectors to implement dynamic solutions. Spaces like this put accessibility, inclusion and diversity at the forefront of placemaking and allow public spaces to work harder for both people and our planet.
Watch a video of children enjoying this space
We know that housing is so much more than a building with four walls. The Forum is a critical moment to build on our shared ambition for the future of housing to create inclusive, regenerative communities where everyone can thrive.
Lois Lindsay, Chief Program Officer
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this program. Having this experience has added so much knowledge to my toolbox not only about problem-solving, but especially about how to approach problem-solving - while I already had some understanding of design-thinking and people-centered approaches, I learned more than I could have imagined.
Hannah Ehler, Future City Builder
Cities and communities are important actors in the work to reduce growing climate change impacts and have the potential to build more inclusive, innovative and sustainable solutions that positively impact all residents.
The Community Solutions Network (CSN) believes that better connected communities can reach their goals faster and have free access to opportunities to learn from peers through network events, communities of practice and advisory services tailored for municipalities and their region. Using responsible data collection and technology tools to monitor municipal projects can help revise and achieve meaningful targets.
In the last year, the Community Solutions Network program produced several solutions-oriented podcast episodes, research briefs and a suite of toolkits that help Reimagine Public Spaces. Each of these four toolkits focused on a particular area of municipal governance:
The Community Solutions Network (CSN) has actively worked with 147 communities and served a variety of sectors, with participants representing governments, the Non-Profit Sector, Private sector and Academia. Nearly 11% of CSN activity participants were Indigenous Peoples.
We can proudly report that 100% of CSN participants reported enhancing at least one municipal service area by applying knowledge and capacity of data and connected technologies.
As of the end of 2022, Evergreen’s Future City Builders program has worked with over 350 young people to pitch 74 projects across Canada and pilot 31 new solutions. Future City Builders helps to break the difficult workforce cycle experienced by many young people where lack of job experience keeps them from securing meaningful work. This year we connected with two new cohorts of youth in two new locations. The first cohort from Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph pitched their ideas in July, and planning got underway for the second cohort from Moncton, Sackville, Saint John and Fredericton to pitch their ideas in February 2023.
We understand that diverse perspectives require an inclusive culture to thrive – a culture that is respectful and welcoming to everyone. In 2022, Evergreen welcomed our first female CEO, Jen Angel. She joins our Board Chair, Helen Burstyn, in leading the organization, and we are now a significantly female-led charity.
We have also worked to ensure greater racial and ethnic diversity among our leadership. This year, Evergreen worked with a third-party search firm to help recruit Board members from traditionally under-represented groups. As a result, our board is now 50% comprised of racial and ethnic minorities, helping to provide a variety of perspectives to the organization.
Evergreen recognizes that creating inclusive and dynamic public spaces must prioritize the unique needs and cultures of Indigenous peoples. Turtle Island is home to diverse Indigenous peoples, and we create better and more equitable spaces by engaging Indigenous communities and knowledge. We are working to better collaborate with Indigenous organizations and communities and have engaged with external support to recruit Indigenous Board members.
Leadership is not about taking or owning, it's about giving - in service of something bigger than yourself. I think the real leaders are the ones working to convene and nurture and inspire teams to solve the complex and urgent challenges before us. Leadership is service.
Jen Angel, Evergreen CEO
This year marks a significant milestone for Evergreen, as founder Geoff Cape stepped down as CEO after more than 30 years of leadership. Geoff guided Evergreen over three decades as it evolved from tree planting in Toronto into a national organization making meaningful on-the-ground change to create sustainable, thriving public spaces across the country.
Geoff led the creation of Evergreen Brick Works and his remarkable commitment to the site will be recognized in the beloved Children's Garden. The Children's Garden is at EBW's heart and is an integral space for Evergreen's outdoor education programs. Enjoyed by more than 10,000 children and caregivers each year, the Garden stands for the core of Evergreen - integrating nature into cities for the benefit of both. To honour Geoff's legacy of impact in environmental action in cities and children's education, planning is well underway for a massive revitalization of the Garden's amphitheatre space. Thank you to all donors who supported this special tribute to Geoff.
We can't think of a better way to celebrate Geoff's legacy and can't wait to welcome you to this new space!
It has been inspiring and motivating to see how Geoff has grown a small charity focused on community and school ground greening into a national organization ensuring cities thrive, now and in the future.
Helen Burstyn, Chair of Evergreen Board of Directors
It's clear what an important role the Bike Hub plays in the community. By fixing bicycles that would otherwise end up in landfills, the Hub helps the environment and empowers people by giving them bikes and the knowledge needed to maintain them.
It has been an incredible year of growth at Evergreen. Thanks to the help of our funders, volunteers, and partners, we have been able to extend our programs and increase participation.
Together we are inspiring the next generation of climate leaders and environmental stewards. We are investing in resilient school grounds to adapt to a rapidly changing climate. We are empowering our neighbours through bicycle giveaways and learn to bike programs that are accessible for everybody. And we couldn't do this and more without your support.
We have more work to do, and it is more urgent than ever before. We can shape our cities for the better and transform spaces into great places that are inclusive, sustainable and innovative, but only if we all work together.
We are excited to announce the arrival of three new board members, Upton Jeans, Hibaq Gelle and Tracey Sobers. We are also grateful for the years of service given by board members Julie Bowen, Anne Brace, John Coyne and Ken Tanenbaum, all of whose term ended in 2022.
Secretary and Chair, Program & Capital Development Committee
Treasurer and Chair, Finance & Audit Committee
Governance and Nominating Committee Chair
former Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Finance and Audit Committee Chair
former Revenue Opportunities Committee Chair
*Denotes Director whose term ended May 2022.
Evergreen's work locally and nationally is generously supported by public and private donors and our leadership volunteers. We are proud to acknowledge the following individuals, organizations, foundations, and partners whose contributions of all kinds totaled $250 or more from January 1 to December 31, 2022.
Alan V. Dean & Kathy Kinnear
Alicia Thurston Photography
Amanda & John Sherrington
Andrea & Stuart Lombard
Andrea DelZotto Hetherington
Andy Chisholm & Laurie Thomson via Goldman Sachs Gives
Anne & John Brace
Anne-Marie Prendiville & John Gillies
Arup, Canada Inc.
Bank of America
Beacon Environmental Ltd.
Bev & Chris Cape
Bill & Janet Young
Bruce MacLellan & Karen Girling
Bullfrog Power Inc.
C.A. Martin Holdings Inc.
Cameron Charlebois & Katherine Dalziel
Canada Council for the Arts
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities
Carole-Ann Hamilton & Marc Gilbert
Catherine & Mark Graham
Chisholm Thomson Family Foundation
City of Toronto
Clayton Gyotoku Fund at Toronto Foundation
Clench House Foundation
Colio Estate Winery
Collombin Family Fund
Conam Charitable Foundation
CONTACT Photography Festival
Divine Furniture Rentals
Elizabeth Balfour Bowen
Fuller Giving Foundation
Geoff Cape & Valerie Laflamme
George St. Kitts
Giles & Julia Ouellette
Government of Canada
Intact Financial Corporation
Jan Ruby & Mary Thomson
Jen Grant & David Dattels
Jennifer & Kenneth Tanenbaum
Jenny & John Medland
Jim Harbell & Pat McQuaid
John & Martha Schwieters
Judy and Wilmot Matthews Foundation
Karl and Ilene Bergen Gifting Fund
Kelly L. Moffatt
Krysta Davies Foss
Linda Baldwin Syron
Lois Warren & Associates Inc.
Lori & Marcus Arnold
MacFeeters Family Fund
Made Manifest Inc
Meridian Credit Union
Michael & Kelly Meighen
Michelle & Walt Romano
Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training Centre
Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day
Mulmer Services Ltd.
Nancy & John McFadyen
Navigator IT Ltd
Nicholas De Pencier and Jennifer Baichwal
Ontario Trillium Foundation
Owen & Leslie Saffrey
Paul & Kaye Beeston
Penny Fine & Hugh Furneaux
Peterborough K.M. Hunter Charitable Foundation
Photo Bus Booth
Power Corporation of Canada
Quarin Family Foundation
Quinn Family Future Foundation
R. Howard Webster Foundation
Robert & Joan Wright
Roots Canada Ltd
Rotman Commerce Accounting Society (RCAS Cares)
Sarah & Tom Milroy
Seana Irvine & Andrew Gray
Seymour and Gloria Temkin
Shabin & Nadir Mohamed
St. Joseph's Health Care Society
Stephen Young & Rosanne Berry
Suncor Energy Foundation
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)
T. R. Meighen Family Foundation
TD Bank Group
Telus Friendly Future Foundation
The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation
The Jackman Family
The Jim Meekison and Carolyn Keystone Foundation
The Joan and Clifford Hatch Foundation
The McConnell Foundation
The Michael and Sonja Koerner Charitable Foundation
The Michael Young Family Foundation
The Michelle Koerner Family Foundation
The Nixon Charitable Foundation
The Ouellette Family Foundation
The Pop-Up Chapel Co.
The Sherry Taylor Drew Foundation
The Shum Vourkoutiotis Fund at the Toronto Foundation
The Young Fund of Hamilton Community Foundation
Thornbury Craft Co
Tom & Pamela Scoon
Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre
Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund
Trisha Starostina and Konstantin Starostin
United Church Foundation of Canada
Victor Bobadilla Garcia
Weight Watchers Canada
Wilfred Laurier University
William Scott & Stephan Jost