A former quarry, the Brick Works is considered an urban model for ecosystem planning given its extensive landscape restoration, re-naturalization and wetland re-establishment.
History and Ecological Restoration
From 1889 to 1989, Don Valley Brick Works Park was the site of a large-scale brick making and distribution operation. Bricks were forged using water from Mud Creek and clay from the Brick Works quarry. The bricks made at this site are used in buildings throughout Toronto, including Casa Loma, Massey Hall, the Ontario Legislature, parts of the University of Toronto’s St. George campus, and numerous private homes.
In 1989 the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) acquired the Don Valley Brick Works site, and in 1995 the City of Toronto and TRCA began restoration work. A series of wetland environments have been constructed to provide habitats for aquatic plants and wildlife, as well as to allow Mud Creek (a previously buried Creek) to be filtered naturally before it flows into the Don River, and ultimately Lake Ontario. With the help of dedicated volunteers and strong partnerships with external groups, the City of Toronto has successfully introduced wetland, dry wildflower meadow, and forest plant communities to different parts of the Don Valley Brick Works site, creating a variety of ecosystem types.