Ever marvel at the architecture of Casa Loma, Osgoode Hall and the Ontario Legislature in Queen’s Park? Those lovely red-brick buildings, dear friends, are the legacy of Toronto’s vernacular building material—sweet slabs formed from the banks of the Don herself. From 1889 to 1980, the Don Valley Brick Works made some of the highest quality brick in the land. Why, in 1893, the Don Valley brick was crowned Best Brick at the Chicago World’s Fair! Ours is a brick to be proud of.
On Tuesday, non-profit group Evergreen unveiled a $55-million design to turn the Brick Works into a large-scale environmental discovery centre. Over the last ten years, Evergreen has already transformed much of the abandoned quarry into usable green space, but now they’re planning to restore sixteen of the industrial buildings on site. The space will be used to house Evergreen’s headquarters, a farmer’s market, an area for nature interpretation and historical displays, community meeting facilities and possibly a pottery studio hosted by the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics.
The organization has already received $20-million from the federal government and $10-million from the province. With another successful round of fundraising, the Brick Works facilities could be opened as early as 2010. Check out some illustrations of the plan at Reading Toronto.
Photo by Metrix_X in the Torontoist Flickr Pool.