Toronto’s Brickworks is fairly well-known, yet fairly underappreciated as a gem within Canada’s largest city. Often thought of as a backdrop for wedding or modelling shoots, it’s really so much more. Once an industrial complex pumping out scalding-hot bricks that built many classic city buildings, it’s now a quirky park that pays homage to the site’s industrial past.
One of my favourite parts of this site is how it honours the memory of the brick labourers who slaved away here under tremendously high temperatures. A handful of the men who worked here are depicted in graffiti form on the walls of the building’s remnants. I find it rather touching. It’s part of what makes the spirit of this site so great. It is a wonderful juxtaposition of industry and nature, and the site’s redevelopers adeptly blur the lines that would usually separate these two things.
In 1904, fire ravaged much of Toronto’s downtown core, leaving the Brickworks to help rebuild.
Nowadays, the Brickworks are home to a series of scenic ponds teeming with wildlife as you stroll through this little urban paradise replete with fantastic flowers and charming little foot bridges. There’s also a meadow and a small forest that can connect you to other greenspaces in the Todmorden Mills area.
More and more clever event organizers are catching on to Brickworks as a prime party spot, a place to hold markets, or even art shows. It’s a difficult spot to get out to, tucked away near the Don Valley Parkway, but once you’re there, it pays off in spades.
Canadian non-profit Evergreen oversees the Brickworks, and has transformed the area into a wonderful cultural centre. There’s a cafe — Cafe Belong — and some other nice treats here, too. There are even a number of hand drums set up, so visitors can sip lattes and jam out to some groovy beats.
Keep an eye out for an array of top-notch events at Brickworks. To name just a few, the site’s known for outdoor movie screenings, beer tastings, and a slew of environmental awareness events.
Now, the Brickworks may be rather difficult to get to, not to mention you must pay for parking, but I have some good news for you. There is a free shuttle bus that runs every half hour from TTC’s Broadway Station to the Brickworks. That way you can even have a few drinks and let someone else do the driving for you.
Public transit is also available on Saturdays from Davisville subway station by bus route 28A Davisville.