Latlng: (43.684663, -79.365995)

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Don Valley Brickworks

Discovered by nexxus
Created Apr 11 2010
Recent status Repurposed
Category Industrial
City Toronto, Ontario
Location # 1380

It has been said that over 100,000 people a day drive by the Don Valley Brickworks, many of whom are unaware of it's existance.

The Brickworks's history dates as far back as 1882 when William Taylor was digging potholes for a fence. Taylor found that the clay in the soil was ideal for brick creation. Cashing in on his find, in 1889 William along with his two brothers George and John, opened the Don Valley Brickworks.

Their Brick Works began to produce bricks made from rock and clay from nearby Mud Creek. Water was provided from the adjacent Don River. Production of these bricks were used to build many of the buildings found in the Toronto area including the Ontario Legislature buildings, Massey Hall, Toronto General Hospital, Convocation Hall and the University of Toronto.

Throughout the plant's 100 year production run, the owners constantly refined their brick making procedures and upgraded equipment. The plant could offer a wide range of bricks: stiff-mud, dry-dpress, terracotta, sand-lime and structural. Additionally the bricks were offered in ten different shades of red.

The bricks were of such good quality that, in 1893, the DVBW won the highest award at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The next year they won two gold medals at the Toronto Industrial Fair. Is it any wonder that the Don Valley Brickworks was the longest running in Ontario and offered more products than any of its competitors?

Production increased from its original 44,000 bricks to 120,000 by 1912. Additionally a quarry was dug which allowed for the plant to use shale.

Four chimneys were built for the wood and coal down-draft kilns. The words "Don", "Valley," "Brick," and "Works" were spelled out in white bricks.

By the mid 1980's the clay was beginning to run out. The plant closed in 1984 after having produced over 43 million bricks. Today only the "Valley" chimney remains. It was in danger of collapsing and restored by McGillvray Architects.

Initially when the plant closed, a development company purchased the site and began to fill in the property. The public outcry quickly put a stop to this and the property was put into public ownership.

It has been restored as a park and heritage site. At the quarry, excavation has revealed glacial and fossil deposits which date back to over 300,000 years. A $10 million grant from the Ontario government was announced in 2005 which will go towards preserving the existing buildings and trail systems. The buildings are scheduled to be used for a 110,000 square-foot garden and the chimney will be a centerpiece. Best explore this area while you can.

A few homeless people are reported to live in the buildings. Caution is urged if you intend to visit.

The Brickworks is located on Bayview Street.

Latlng: (43.684663, -79.365995)


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avatar of Bumblebee
Bumblebee I visited this location last week as I was in the area and disappointing doesn`t even come close to describing the brickworks. After paying for two hours worth of parking I found out that the kilns area was completely blocked off for a private event. Trying to make light of the situation i circled the area trying to find anything worth photographing and found myself leaving after half an hour.
Jul 24 2014
avatar of Kait_O
Kait_O This is no longer The Don Valley Brickworks is now Evergreen's a farmers market and they sell plants... Disappointing!
Oct 10 2012