Evergreen Brick Works is an old Toronto brick factory turned nature escape
But before it began drawing people to its farmers' market on Saturday mornings and hiking trails basically every day of the week, the area was the site of a quarry and brick-making factory that provided bricks for the likes of Casa Loma and Massey Hall.
The factory was opened in 1889 by the Taylor brothers, who also operated one of the early paper mills along the Don River, Todmorden Mills.
They initially intended it to be another paper mill until they discovered the vast amounts of clay in the area that was the mouth of a glacial river thousands of years earlier.
The area sitting at the confluence of Mud Creek and the Don River has seen plenty of changes since the original factory closed in 1984. And it's now one of the top must-visit parks in the city.
About 15 of the restored heritage buildings are home to Evergreen, a national charity that's big on restoring nature in cities, while the massive quarry that used to be in the north end of the 16-hectare site has been filled and replaced with boardwalks through marshy ponds.
The series of three ponds is made up of water diverted from Mud Creek and flows out of the connected waterways from a channel that used to divert it into the brick plant.
Plenty of fish, migrants from the greater Don River, have set up camp in the murky waters, as well as more red-eared slider turtles than you can probably count.
The wooden boardwalks turn into dirt pathways leading to even more natural beauty. A large outer loop spans the entire area of the park and also winds up to elevated ground where you'll find views of the surrounding Don Valley.
The panoramic views at the Governor's Bridge Lookout are incredible no matter the time of year. But the skyline has seen better days. Sadly, two new developments now block the once perfect view of the CN Tower.
A stretch of CPR railway line that hasn't been used for about 15 years runs parallel to the trails in the park just beyond a bit of bush. The abandoned tracks lead to what's called the half-mile bridge to the south.
It's best to stay on the official trails however since the train tracks are considered private property.
Once you're finished exploring the area, consider venturing off to one of the other beautiful parks that you can connect to from here like Chorley Park, Beltline Trail, Moore Park Ravine, and of course, the Don River Valley Park.
Make sure to respect the park during your visit by picking up your trash to leave the area just as beautiful as you found it.
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