Construction starts on $55 million Evergreen Brick Works project

    Major milestone in development of Canada's First Large-Scale
    Environmental Discovery Centre

    TORONTO, Dec. 8 /CNW/ - Evergreen Brick Works, Canada's first large-scale
environmental discovery centre, took a big step closer to becoming reality at
a groundbreaking event held today. Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance; Aileen
Carroll, Ontario Minister of Culture; David Miller, Mayor of the City of
Toronto; Geoff Cape, Executive Director, Evergreen; David Pecaut, Chair of
Toronto City Summit Alliance; Bill Downe, President and Chief Executive
Officer of BMO Financial Group and students from Cassandra Public School,
planted trees and broke ground signalling the start of construction for this
innovative community project. Evergreen Brick Works will open in spring 2010.
    Evergreen, a not-for-profit organization that makes cities more livable,
is transforming Toronto's old Don Valley Brick Works Factory - revitalizing
the buildings while focusing on heritage and ecological sustainability.
Evergreen Brick Works will be an environmental community centre and national
hub for urban sustainability nestled in the heart of Toronto. Designed for
people to experience the benefits of nature first-hand, Evergreen Brick Works
will give visitors a renewed sense of place and inspire them to become active
participants in shaping a more sustainable future. It is being designed to be
the most energy and resource efficient building of its kind in Canada.
    "This innovative project is a model for environmental sustainability. It
breathes new life into the historic Don Valley Brick Works factory, and is
creating a community gathering space in the middle of Canada's largest city
that will attract both area residents and tourists," says Minister Flaherty.
"The federal government is proud to have committed up to $20 million to this
project under the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund."
    "The Don Valley Brick Works is an important heritage site that celebrates
Ontario's rich industrial roots," says Minister Carroll. "Ontario's investment
in Evergreen Brick Works helps us preserve this heritage while demonstrating
our commitment to building strong communities and a healthy environment."
    "This exciting and innovative project will enhance Toronto's reputation
as world leader in urban creativity," says Mayor Miller. "By rehabilitating
valuable heritage structure and enhancing our public open spaces in an
environmentally sensitive manner, we strengthen the community while building a
sustainable 21st Century city."
    "Evergreen Brick Works will be unique in the world - it will change our
city and the way we live," says Mr. Cape. "We are building a village
experience at the 4.9-hectare site with a diverse set of buildings that
require different architectural and design approaches. The project will set a
new standard for environmentally sustainable design and adaptive re-use and it
will pursue Platinum status under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design (LEED) program. As a showcase for environmental best practices, it will
point the way to a sustainable future for Toronto, Canada and beyond."
    Joe Lobko of du Toit Allsopp Hillier is the project's lead designer.
Evergreen has made community consultation an integral part of the design and
development of Evergreen Brick Works.

    In spring 2010, all public programming buildings and landscapes will open
    and will include:

    -   Welcome Centre - the year-round winterized centre will be the hub and
        orientation site for visitors. Tours will leave from here and the
        Centre will include exhibition space, heritage information and
        industrial artifacts.

    -   Welcome Court - the front entrance for visitors to Evergreen Brick
        Works. Gardens with native trees, shrubs and wildflowers will replace
        the old cement, and shade and seating will make this a comfortable
        space for visitors to meet and relax.

    -   Green City Gardens - the gardens designed by internationally renowned
        landscape architect Claude Cormier, where Evergreen will grow native
        plants and shrubs for sale year round. School groups, community
        groups, home gardeners and families will participate in the planting
        and maintenance of these accessible gardens. In the winter, a playful
        skating trail will wind through the space.

    -   Evergreen Marché - a collection of store-fronts including an
        environmentally sustainable Jamie Kennedy Café. At the Marché,
        visitors will discover the richness of food through gardening and
        cooking experiences and will explore the cultural and culinary
        diversity of local agriculture. The goal is to inspire food action in
        homes and communities.

    -   Brick Works Heritage Centre - a 52,000-square-foot space that will
        preserve and celebrate the factory's industrial heritage. At the
        north end, Outward Bound Canada will have a permanent ropes course
        and climbing wall.

    -   Ravine Terrace - the public space overlooking the Weston Quarry for
        public gathering and special events.

    -   The Nature Playground - an enchanting outdoor children's activity
        area with tunnels, secret passageways, a garden maze, an adventure
        zone, a challenge course and tree house. A special section will be
        for children to 'get their hands dirty,' creating and caring for
        vegetable and native plant gardens.

    The Centre for Urban Sustainability (designed by Diamond and Schmitt),
the only new building on site, will be the economic and intellectual heart of
the complex, and will open soon thereafter. The centre will be a meeting place
where educators, innovators and leaders in social and environmental thought
come together to bring about positive change.
    Over $40 million of the $55 million capital campaign goal has been raised
to date. Evergreen is pleased to announce that BMO Financial Group has
committed $500,000 to the Campaign for Evergreen Brick Works. The two-storey
high meeting space on the main floor of the site's new Centre for Urban
Sustainability will be called the BMO Forum.
    "We are proud to support the BMO Forum at Evergreen Brick Works," says
Mr. Downe. "BMO is committed to the belief that the quality of our lives
improves when economic growth is integrated with respect for the environment.
The opportunity to be a part of this important project is a great example of
how we can show that respect with tangible action."
    The site is owned by the Toronto Region and Conservation Authority and is
managed by the City of Toronto.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Marilotte Bloemen, Evergreen, Mobile: (416)
731-3211, Email:; Nate Habermeyer, Evergreen, Mobile:
(647) 402-9435, E-mail:; Media kit available online

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