We all know Evergreen Brick Works (the community centre and market located in the Don River valley) to be a wonderful option for a family outing during summer. But it might be one of the city’s best kept secrets that the Brick Works also makes for a fabulous excursion during cold and wintery (and those chilly ‘almost spring’) days.
We visited recently, and though the weather was less than co-operative, it was a wonderful trip nonetheless. The parking was plentiful, even on the weekend (though we arrived early, before 10 am), and the paths were accessible and stroller friendly. We appreciated that the wide path that runs around the lake offered clear visibility—meaning older kids can zip ahead while mom and dad mind a younger tot, while remaining in sight the whole time.
Guided walks are also offered. We loved that the guide pointed out interesting bits of the environment, such as types of leaves, species, rock formations, etc. We saw kids as young as three years toddling along with the group, as well as big kids up to about 10 years of age, and all ages were able to get something out of the walk.
The kids’ garden, located in the greenhouse, offered activities, nature crafts, and more. We loved that there were knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff on hand (so we didn’t have to direct the crafting!) but that staff also knew how to step back and let the kids’ imaginations guide the fun. The kids’ finished works of art actually remain at the centre and go on display for all to see.
The Food Market is located outdoors, but is covered, and there are heaters scattered throughout, so it’s enjoyable even on the coldest of days. You’ll find food trucks offering cool-weather comfort foods like waffles and meatballs, plus hot cocoa and even hot toddies for mom and dad. We imagine that the covered area would also be ideal for finding some shade and having a break from the sun once summer comes.
If you’ve got bigger kids with energy to burn, consider taking advantage of their fat bike rentals. Fat bikes look like regular bicycles, except the tires are, you guessed it, fat. This allows the bikes to tackle difficult terrain. Fat bike rentals (and regular bikes) will be available later in the spring (when trails are dry.)
During the winter months, their adorable rink is not to be missed. It’s smaller than most, but still tons of fun. It’s semi-contained but uncovered—so keep that in mind if it’s snowing. Skate rentals are available for $5, and the rink is open in the winter months up until March Break.
The Brick Works is easily accessible from downtown, yet removed enough to feel ‘hidden’ within the city. If you’re looking for a little escape from your everyday routine without venturing too far out of the city—this gem of a spot is worth the visit.
Good to know: There is a small fee for parking. Evergreen Brick works is also easily accessible via TTC.
Cover photo image credit: Henry Vanderspek for Evergreen