Evergreen Brick Works

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CA Canada
Web http://ebw.evergreen.ca/


About the project Edit

Open year-round, Evergreen Brick Works is a community environmental centre that inspires and equips visitors to live, work and play more sustainably.

Transformed from a collection of deteriorating heritage buildings into a global showcase for green design and urban sustainability, Evergreen Brick Works is both a stage and incubator for Evergreen’s programs.

A dynamic public space in the heart of Toronto’s Don Valley, the site engages visitors through interactive workshops and community festivals, and offers a full suite of programs combining ecology, design, technology and the arts in a hands-on, multi-sensory educational experience.

In 2010, Evergreen Brick Works was named one of the top 10 geotourism destinations in the world by National Geographic.


In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

In 2002, Evergreen began its long journey of revitalizing the Don Valley Brick Works—a century-old factory that produced the bricks that built Toronto. When it closed down in the late 1980s, all that was left was a damaged ecosystem, crumbling buildings and contaminated soil.

Today, Evergreen Brick Works is an international showcase for green design and urban innovation.

The project has turned an unusable area into a space to foster community and engagement

What is the social value of this project? Edit

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

Projects like these can be implemented anywhere in the world

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

In early 2002, Evergreen presented its first business plan for “Evergreen Gardens at the Brick Works” to Glenn Garwood, project manager with the City of Toronto’s Culture Division. Glenn was interested. Since most of the site had been abandoned, urban explorers, party animals and graffiti artists had made the crumbling buildings into their playground. According to Glenn, it was time for action. “This was not a do-nothing scenario,” he says, “All it would take is one or two kids to fall off a roof, and see how much trouble you’re in then.”

The place was calling out for its next life, but due to a complicated political situation, zoning issues and the economic climate, no one was able to lead the charge. The answer was far from obvious. “I was in a bind,” said Glenn. “I couldn’t legally pitch the site to the private sector, because it had been expropriated from the private sector. So I could only pitch to governments and non-profits. Well, who had the kind of money to revitalize a site? And then along comes Evergreen. They’ve got an idea.”

What is the business model of this project? Edit

Evergreen Brick Works is a social enterprise. Your financial support—whether it comes from a donation or buying plants, paying activity fees or feeding the parking meter—helps us deliver accessible and inclusive community programs that bring nature back to cities.

The income we generate from all paid activities on site, including office space and event rentals, is returned to the community in the form of new programs and services that improve environmental quality and promote health and wellness.


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