There is something about seeing the sun after a couple of rainy days in Toronto, that makes even an Indian, who is accustomed to an unlimited (perhaps over) supply of sun, and just visiting for a fortnight, want to spend the day outdoors. It was one such beautiful, sunny day that made us head towards Evergreen Brick Works situated in the Don Valley Park.
As the name suggests, Evergreen Brick Works was once a brick factory that operated from 1889 till after the second World War, and is responsible for most of Toronto’s historic landmarks, including Casa Loma. The site is situated in the heart of the city’s extensive forest cover and valleys, which are a part of Toronto’s amazing ravine system. Reputed to be 30 times as large as New York’s Central Park, these ravines are why Toronto is known as “the city within the park.”
I was surprised to discover that so few locals seem to know (or care) about the ravines of Toronto, which provide such a verdant backdrop to some of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in the city. This, despite the fact that Evergreen Brick Works has attracted a lot of attention with its transformation of an erstwhile brick factory and industrial dumping area into a beautiful urban park! Situated at the end of the Moore park ravine trail, it is also an ecological hub that is striving to preserve the region’s biodiversity.
Like the very popular Distillery District, Evergreen Brick Works is an excellent example of how an industrial site can be restored and converted to a hub of cultural activity.
The site was restored and opened to the public in 2010, as a unique place that showcases environmentally sustainable development and offers workshops and activities throughout the year. Apart from several large spaces for organizing events, the centre also includes a store where you can buy a wonderful range of products from Ontario, and a café-restaurant.
Getting there is easy, even if you don’t have a car. A free shuttle runs every 30 minutes between the centre and Broadview subway station. You could also hike your way through the ravine trail to reach the center!
After a quick visit to the store, we picked up some sandwiches from the café and headed to the park area, which is ideal for a picnic. Benches offering some great views have been conveniently placed all over the park.
You could also carry your own blanket and settle down for a picnic amidst the foliage, on one of the pathways, or in a corner of a bridge across one of the ponds.
Once you’re done snacking, you can just sit back and try to identify the birds flitting about the trees, or just listen to the frogs croaking in the background…
Can you imagine a better picnic spot than this idyllic park in the middle of the city ?
A much talked about hidden treasure, Evergreen Brick Works should be on your Toronto bucket list – as a culmination of a hike through the ravines, to participate in one of their activities or events, or (like us) simply for a picnic on a sunny day.
Read more about Toronto’s ravine system and Evergreen Brick Works :