Evergreen Brick Works (aka the Dream Day)

Ahoy!

As I mentioned briefly yesterday, Evan and I went on a brick-related adventure on Saturday. We were looking for something to do that would get us outside, and the Evergreen Brick Works has been on my radar for a while. It is a former quarry and industrial site (where bricks were made, hence the name) that has been turned into an urban park.

Several of my friends have told me how amazing it is there, and I heard there was a pretty awesome farmer’s market on Saturday, so it sounded like a good time.

We were originally going to drive over, but then we mapped it out and noticed that the Beltline trail went straight to it, and it was walkable from my apartment. That sounded like a more adventurous option.

I had never taken this trail before, though technically it does connect to my new favourite running trail, and I could not get over how gorgeous it was.

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It was a really nice hike, and I love that there is this beautiful forest in the middle of the city.

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I almost forgot we were still in the city, but then we stumbled across a reminder…

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Probably wouldn’t find that in a regular forest…

There were a lot of people running, hiking, and biking through there. Toronto really is a very active city, which I enjoy quite a lot.

Eventually the trail came out at the Don Valley Brick Works.

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I LOVE the idea of exploring rundown buildings, and I love that Evegreen has taken these buildings and turned them into an urban park and cultural centre for everyone to enjoy. Evergreen is a national charity dedicated to restoring nature in urban environments. They really did a good job here, and they kept the charm of the old brick stuff.

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Apparently the original Brick Works operated for nearly 100 years and provided bricks for a lot of Toronto landmarks like Massey Hall, Casa Loma, and the Ontario Legislature. They actually have a huge sign on the side of one of the buildings that lists all the buildings in Toronto that are built with bricks made here.

I was really excited to check out the kilns area, which still has tunnels and ovens from the brick-producing days.

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Exciting.

Some of the tunnels you can actually walk through. Not a good idea if you are claustrophobic, but I am not (only sometimes on an incredibly busy subway packed with sweaty people).

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The rest of the kilns area has been turned into exhibits about environmental sustainability.

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It was really cool to read about what different cities across the world are doing to be more environmentally sustainable. And it was very interesting to explore in there.

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I am not sure what’s going on with the bicycles or that man’s sensual face, but I like it.

After the kilns we decided to check out the farmer’s market. Soo many glorious things happening over there.

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Ahh pure maple syrup is my favourite. Those little sugary maple syrup maple leaves are the best. They just melt on your tongue.

These do also:

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We snagged a couple of natural popsicles made with a juicer, which Evan loooved the idea of, so I have a feeling he’ll be picking up some molds to recreate these. I got the watermelon lemon mint, and Evan chose the cucumber lime mint. Both were delicious and refreshing.

The farmer’s market also had an entire area dedicated to ethnic foods. It was hands down my favourite area.

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We noticed a long line at one end and when I saw what people were waiting for, I immediately got in it.

CREPES. Delicious, savoury, crepes.

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Evan and I both got the garden vegetable one, which came with a TON of cheese.

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It was all melty and delicious. My crepe was just a beast packed with goodness.

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Neither of us could finish ours. It was absolutely huge. We really should have split one, but ah, hindsight.

As we were eating we noticed a couple struggling with wheeling a large cooler into a utility room. There was a latch in the centre on the top of the door, and when they were attempting to push the cooler through the middle they were repeatedly banging into the latch and the cooler would get stuck. They couldn’t figure out what the problem was and they were getting very frustrated, which was pretty entertaining because all they needed to do was back the cooler out a bit and move it over a foot. Evan noticed the problem and offered to help them out.

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After he successfully helped guide the cooler through the door the lady came out and said to me “At least YOUR man has BRAINS,” which yes, he definitely does. Though even I could tell that the cooler was too tall for the part of the door where the latch was. The entire ordeal made me laugh hard.

After our giant crepe and the cooler fandango, we did some more exploring of the green space surrounding Brick Works.

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Including the lookout, which is at the top of this MASSIVE hill that is basically a mountain.

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After climbing it I thought I was going to die for about five minutes. I’m serious, it was nearly a 90 degree angle. And then we realized that there is a path that goes around the back way and is much less steep and we could have just leisurely walked it. Oh well, you live and you learn. It was a workout at least. And it was pretty…

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…pretty perfect for a selfie!

Gorgeous views all around though.

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As we were making our way back Evan suddenly grabbed one of these long weeds and randomly said “Tree or bush?”

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It was so unexpected that I just burst out laughing. I have not had anyone do the ol’ tree or bush game to me since elementary school. Anyone else remember doing that? Is that a Canadian thing? Maybe just a southern Ontario thing?

More importantly, when Evan ran his fingers forcefully up that weed, do you think the end result looked like a tree or bush?

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Bush. Always bush. Every time.

Anyway, we made our way back to my house, and then eventually over to Evan’s (aka where all the good food is), where we made strawberry banana daiquiris and grilled steak, roasted vegetables with rosemary, and garlic toast for dinner.

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For the garlic toast we actually roasted cloves of garlic in the oven, and then spread them on the toast when they were all golden and soft. I can’t take credit for that idea, but sweet baby Jesus it was good.

Pretty perfect day. Food and nature is always a good time to me. The only way I think it could have been better is if we stumbled across a litter of kittens or maybe baby beavers (I have always wanted to see one).

If you live in the city I highly recommend exploring Brick Works and the area surrounding it. There really is something to be said about being a tourist in your own city.

And if you are not a Torontonian, does your city have anything similar to Brick Works?

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13 responses to “Evergreen Brick Works (aka the Dream Day)

  1. So good. We love it there!

  2. We love this little oasis in the middle of Toronto too. It’s a great place for kids to roam looking for birds, frogs, turtles, and fish.

  3. Oh man… I didn’t think my 1st comment went through. What a tool! 🙂 may as well make it 3 comments.

  4. What an amazing (and delicious) sounding day! What an awesome place! I don’t think we have any old brick factories where I live, but we do have lots of nature parks and trails in Alexandria, VA (right outside of DC). It’s so great to get a nature escape right in the middle of the city! I had never heard of the tree or bush game…and I don’t quite get it?

    • It is hard to explain. Basically you find this long piece of grass/weed type stem that has leaves on the top of it. When you run your fingers up the stem it will either break off (looking like a tree), or the stem will remain intact but the little leaves will come off of it (looking like a bush). You are supposed to ask “tree or bush?” before you do this and get people to guess. When I learned this back in elementary school it was ‘Tree, bush, or naked lady?” 😉

  5. Y’all are quite the darling couple! I love the idea of Brick Works, but I love even more that they made the Casa Loma bricks! I have been obsessed with that place since I was like 10 or something and visited for the first time. Nerd alert! Anyway, this post reminds me how much I love Toronto. I need to get back up there!

  6. Sounds like a perfect day indeed!

    I have never heard of the tree or bush game.

  7. Pingback: The wet workout that wasn’t, but then was | Happy or Hungry

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