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Ontario government helps revitalize Don Valley Brick Works heritage site

The Ontario government is helping to preserve the province’s heritage by supporting the revitalization of the Toronto Brick Works which will celebrate Ontario’s rich industrial heritage and provide an educational, nature, and cultural attraction, Minister of Culture Madeleine Meilleur announced today.

"The Don Valley Brick Works produced the bricks to build the foundations of many of the province’s heritage buildings, from Old City Hall to Queen’s Park," said Meilleur. "By investing in Evergreen Commons at the Brick Works, the Ontario government will continue to build strong communities and nurture a healthy environment, while celebrating Ontario’s rich industrial roots."

A $10 million grant will help preserve the existing buildings and trail systems at the site located at the Bayview Extension and Pottery Road. The buildings will house a 110,000-square-foot garden facility, and the landmark "Valley" chimney will become the centerpiece of one of the facility’s courtyards. Diverse programming, such as gardening and woodworking classes, summer camps, rope courses and training for at-risk youth will also bring the site to life.

Evergreen was granted permission to redevelop the site by the City of Toronto in 2004. The plans include a Jamie Kennedy restaurant and caf-on-the-green featuring food grown on-site, weekly organic farmers’ market, woodworking studio, event spaces, winter skating, Outward Bound rope courses, YMCA youth training programs, and more.

"Evergreen Commons at the Brick Works will be a cultural centre where Torontonians and visitors from across Ontario and beyond can experience how nature makes our cities more livable," said Geoff Cape, Executive Director, Evergreen. "With the province’s generous support, Evergreen will continue to nurture the site as it grows into one of Ontario’s most vibrant, educational and inspirational destinations, with the doors open in early 2007."

"The City of Toronto has long recognized the former Don Valley Brick Works as a significant historical, ecological and geological location," said Toronto Deputy Mayor Sandra Bussin, City of Toronto. "In developing the site, Evergreen will not only create an exciting Toronto attraction, it will also enrich our community by providing an open public space to be enjoyed year-round." According to Bussin, Evergreen Commons at the Brick Works will also act as a natural gateway to the city’s expansive, and currently underused, trail and ravine system.

Evergreen Commons at the Brick Works is founded on a self-sustaining business model, various elements of the site such as the restaurant and event spaces will help to sustain it over the long term.