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Oliver Tweed

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'Somebody's smiling on this project in the Don Valley Parkway," federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty stumbled cheerfully on the podium yesterday morning, the project in question -- the revitalization of the Don Valley Brick Works -- being near but mercifully not in the highway. But he was right about the smiles, and the person smiling hardest was him.
That is gold.
 

rdaner

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Organic Farmers Market

On Saturday the first organic farmers market was held at the Brickworks which heralds the beginning of the programming by Evergreen. Did anyone make it out?
 

nstuch

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some friends went, said it was pretty lame. it is the first week though so hopefully it will get better, the brickworks is such a unique and interesting place in the city
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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From the Post:

Brick Works slated to be green centre
Will Tremain, National Post
Published: Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Construction will begin next year on a $55-million project that will turn the decaying Don Valley Brick Works into a green-themed centre with an organic market and a Jamie Kennedy restaurant.

"For a hundred years this site was part of the built structure of Toronto, and we believe that the next 100 years will be about the greening of the city," Evergreen founder Geoff Cape said.

The 100-year-old former brick factory off Bayview Avenue, south of Pottery Road, will become a sustainable learning centre called Evergreen at the Brick Works.

Evergreen will feature a native plant nursery, demonstration gardens and conference and event facilities. It will also undertake business partnerships with such organizations as the YMCA, Outward Bound and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art. Chef Jamie Kennedy plans to open a new restaurant with teaching kitchens on the site.

Designs for the new facility will be unveiled on Nov. 20. Several prominent Toronto architecture firms are involved, including duToit Allsopp Hillier, Claude Cormier, E.R.A. Architects, and Diamond and Schmitt.

"Given the reputation of Evergreen, I know that it'll be a tremendous asset to the city, in terms of green space and in terms of preserving a major part of the history of Toronto," said Councillor Case Ootes, whose ward includes the site. "Most of the bricks in this city came from that location."

Evergreen, a national non-profit environmental organization with a mandate to bring nature into cities through naturalization projects, has received money for the project from the federal government, the province, and private donors. It is still raising funds to meet the $55-million goal.

"We are at the $37-million mark. We will be breaking ground in the fall of 2008," said Marilotte Bloemen, director of public relations for Evergreen.

The campaign to revamp the former industrial site was the brainchild of Mr. Cape, who came up with the idea for the project in 2002 during a conversation with a friend.

"We built an idea for the development of large-scale native plant nursery," Mr. Cape said. "A centre for Toronto's ravines, that would be really the hub for restoration of 26,000 acres of Toronto's green ravines system."

AoD
 

p5connex

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I think this project could be really great. I have spent some wandering hours around this building and have to say that it is fantastic as it is, but could be made into something exceptional.

On a side note, it sickens me to no end how with every single project open to an invited competition, or asking for proposals, that one name is always included- which name do you think that is? Correct if you said Mr. Hack Diamond!

The idea of allowing his subpar concepts become reality is beyond me, but even more mind-blowing is how he professes to have and simultaneously be the solution for architecture in the city of Toronto. I know this might sound a tad negative (sarcasm), and I know they (Hack and Co.) have done some decent buildings, but in reality, his smug attitude that he reigns supreme when it comes to architecture and the built form is a little beyond me.

Nonetheless, can we expect another BOLD statement from D+S for this project? Will it be a case of; we have invited these other architects purely as a symbol of politeness?

(I am tired)

p5
 

dt_toronto_geek

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I've never had the chance to get here, and I'm dying to check it out. Does the TTC go anywhere near the Brick Works or would I need to cycle there?
 

billonlogan

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I've never had the chance to get here, and I'm dying to check it out. Does the TTC go anywhere near the Brick Works or would I need to cycle there?
Take the bus from Broadview station and go north on Broadview to Pottery Rd (Look for the DQ). Walk the rest of the way down Pottery Rd to Bayview Ave and then head south. You can't miss it.
 

smuncky

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from the brick works site...

A shuttle bus is available on Saturday’s to and from Broadview Station every 1/2 hour from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. Meet 1/2 block north at Erindale Avenue. The last bus leaves Broadview station at 12:30 pm and from the Brick Works at 1:30 pm.
By Transit:

From the Bloor Danforth Line (East/West)

Take the subway to Castle Frank Station, and go up to the street. Follow Castle Frank Rd north from the station (which is on the north side of Bloor), and past Hawthorne Gardens until it meets Elm Ave. Follow Elm to South Dr. and go north (right), past the entrance to Cragleigh gardens to the entrance to the trail on the right (Milkmen’s Run, but it’s not signed). Follow the trail to the beltline and continue east (following the sign for Moore Park Ravine), following this trail to the entrance to the Brick Works (Ignore all the little paths down the slope, be patient and there is a maintained trail with a sign at the top of it). This way is a 25-30 minute walk, but involves a relatively gradual descent into the valley.

From the Yonge Line

Take the subway to Rosedale station (one stop north of Bloor), and catch the Rosedale bus (82). Take the bus to the stop at Chorley Park, which is on Douglas Dr. (Ask the driver to call it if you are not sure). Walk east across the park to the beginning of the trail, which is at the point where the black fence ends. Follow the trail to the right (paved) to the stairs down the slope. At the bottom of the stairs, continue following the paved trail, taking the lower branch where it forks. There will be a path to your right near the end of the pavement, which joins up with the main trail. Take the Beltline Trail south to the entrance to the Brick Works.
Trail Map

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I went there by using the 82 rosedale bus and i think it took around 15 to get there from the subway station. (this includes the walking part after you get off the bus)
 

billonlogan

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...the brickworks is such a unique and interesting place in the city
At one time, the Brick Works and environs used to house German POWs during WWII. People used to line Broadview Ave to see the POWs in the back of lorries coming up from Parliament pier. Most were German seaman plucked from captured U-boats off the east coast. Many did not return back to Europe and stayed here instead. I knew of one fellow who worked at a logging camp in Algonquin Park. His family still has a cottage up there somewhere.
 

dt_toronto_geek

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I sure don't mind walking, as long as a bus gets me somewhere near the vicinity. Many thanks folks!
 

junctionist

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It won't be as photogenic as it was when it was abandoned, especially on a sunny day. But the project will allow everyone to enjoy the space without worrying about asbestos. It would nice if they kept a lot of the machinery for contextual purposes.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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From the Post:

BrickWorks unveils $55M makeover
Amy Smithers, National Post
Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2007
A $55-million environmental remake of the Don Valley Brick Works was unveiled yesterday, with restoration of old buildings and the creation of an ecologically unique new building designed to look like it's been there all along.

Evergreen, the environmental organization that manages the site, said it will include indoor and outdoor children's play areas, a gardening showcase that doubles as a skating rink in winter, and a Jamie Kennedy restaurant. The site will feature composting toilets, stormwater harvesting systems, and solar panels to power parking lot lights and heat water.

But the jewel in the crown is the new welcome centre and administration building, designed by Diamond + Schmitt Architects. The addition, which will be constructed atop the original walls of Brick Works building 12, is unique from all angles. It reflects Evergreen's desire for the new design to blend in among the existing buildings, all but one of which are designated as historic sites by the City of Toronto.

It's a new insertion that looks like it's been there a while," said architect Michael Leckman of Diamond + Schmitt.

The north and west walls feature a sliding track system, which allows for a movable and changeable ''skin'' to be displayed on the exterior of the building. "[We're thinking] about buildings that can be living things, that can change their expression over time," said project co-ordinator Joe Lobko of du Toit Architects.

The exterior of the building will ideally change with the seasons, displaying natural materials from the surrounding site, or large-scale installations designed by local artists. The sliding screens are functional as well -- they provide shade inside the building. The south side will be covered in steel, which retains the heat from the sun in an interior wall cavity before it is pulled in to heat the building in the winter. The perforations on the surface are designed to look like a close-up view of chlorophyll.

"Chlorophyll is the way plants convert light into energy," said Ferruccio Sardella, a visual artist who worked on the design. "I think this is an appropriate way to create energy for this building."

The fourth, eastern-facing side of the new building is a planned vertical wetland, which will filter stormwater to be used in garden irrigation.

Evergreen Brick Works, described as a 184,000-square-foot industrial ''village,'' is intended to be almost fully sustainable, both ecologically and economically. However, it still has challenges to face before it's ready for the public to explore.

The property's relatively isolated location beside the Bayview Extension makes it inaccessible by public transportation. The proposed solution is a regular shuttle bus from a nearby TTC station.

Evergreen has raised roughly $37-million for the project so far, including contributions at both provincial and federal government levels, as well as those of private investors. Evergreen executive director Geoff Cape said the remaining $18-million is still an attainable goal.

Construction is slated to begin next fall, with some features of the development ready to use by fall 2009, and the entire project completed by early 2010. "A good deal of our strategy is around loose fit, and keeping these buildings as adaptable as possible for ideas we haven't even imagined yet," Mr. Lobko said.


© National Post 2007

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