The GTA Construction Report – September 2010 – PAGE B3
Evergreen Brick Works Continued from page B2
ing a high water table (six inches below the surface) for the foundation and the need to keep electrical and other building materials sufficiently above ground so that the pre- dictable flooding, while inconvenient, would not fundamentally damage the struc- tures.
As well, because this is a historic site, archeological considerations needed to be accounted for – and because it had been used for heavy industry (in fact it func- tioned as a brick making factory for about 100 years before closing in 1984) soil con- tamination and other potentially unpleasant surprises were buried in the ground. “There certainly were a lot of factors to consider in designing and building on this site,” said Eastern’s Mike Adams. “We elevated the floor slabs and put drainage underneath,” he said. Site workers were able to test the flood-management sys- tems in July, when the site actually flooded. “The flood and rain occurred very quickly,” Adams said. “Evergreen made sure everyone cleared
off the site” which is connected to the Con- servation Authority’s early flood warning system, he said. When workers returned the next day, “we had this site covered with a little water and a slimy silt. However, everything the designers had thought to deal with the flood worked perfectly. Water flowed through greenways into a sediment pond, and we had the site back in shape within a day.”
The story behind Evergreen Brick Works Evergreen has provided this background information to the GTA Construction Report.
Since 1991 we have been engaging Canadians in creating and sustaining dynamic outdoor spaces—in schools, communities and homes.
Holcim Canada Ltd. used special porous concrete in some areas (to allow for rapid drainage after flooding) while solid high strength concrete was used where archeo- logical and contamination issues could be greatest.
Adams said the project budgets included significant contingency reserves which could be released as the project proceeded. However, everyone involved knew that changes in scope and direction would be in- evitable. For example, Megan Torza at du Toit Architects said there is a design for a two-storey restaurant in one of the buildings that could not be implemented in this pres- ent phase of construction due to budget con- straints, but that she hopes in future all of the buildings will be programmed, reno- vated and made accessible to the public. However, Evergreen representatives be- lieve the site will provide an incredible array of services and options when it is complete.
“The first stop for visitors will be the
Welcome Centre, where they will see envi- ronmental and historical exhibits as well as industrial-era artifacts that were left on the site, including the original John Price brick press,” The Globe and Mail reported. A nearby garden centre will sell native plants to home gardeners.
The 55,000 sq. ft. Building 16 – the
largest building on the site – features rows of firing and drying kilns. The building has
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We are proud to be part of the Toronto Brick Works project
By deepening the connection between people and nature, and empowering Cana- dians to take a hands-on approach to their urban environments, Evergreen is improv- ing the health of our cities—now and for the future. Through Evergreen Common Grounds and Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds, we are a leading national funder and facilitator of local, sustainable greening projects in schoolyards, parks and communities across Canada. Evergreen Brick Works is a unique environmental community centre and green cities centre for urban sustainability currently under construction in the heart of Toronto’s Don River Valley. This spectacular natural and industrial heritage site and its ongoing engaging programming from Farmers’ Markets to seminars and plantings, is already inspiring and educating the community to embrace a sustainable future.
The story behind Evergreen Brick Works From 1889 to the 1980s the Don Valley
Brick Works was one of Canada’s pre-emi- nent brickyards. At its peak more than 43 mil- lion bricks a year were manufactured for use in the construction of homes and buildings across Canada. Many of Toronto’s most prominent buildings were made from Don Valley brick – Massey Hall and Old City Hall are two examples.
In the late 1980s the site was expropriated by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Re- gion Conservation Authority (TRCA), backed by the Province of Ontario. The site was acquired for public use because of its geological and brick-making heritage, and because of its place in the lower Don River watershed. The site’s quarry was recog- nized by the Province as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest. In 2002, the site’s buildings were designated by the City of Toronto under the Ontario Heritage Act. The transformation of the historic Don Valley Brick Works by Evergreen into
Canada’s first large-scale community environmental centre represents a striking new model for the future—a heritage destination where nature meets innovation in the heart of an urban centre.
Sustainability is a goal that that was fundamental to the design of the centre, and will be front and centre in site operations. Sustainability is also a central program- ming theme – visitors will be given many ideas that they can take home and apply in their own homes, businesses and schools to help create healthier cities. In 2010, National Geographic named Evergreen Brick Works c as one of the
world’s top 10 geotourism destinations. For more information about the green elements and thinking behind the design and construction of Evergreen Brick Works, see http://ebw.evergreen.ca/about/sus-
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