Transformation: The Story of Creating EBW
Evergreen Brick Works: A Work in Progress
This is the story of how a creative idea took on a life of its own—from native plant nursery, to brownfield redevelopment, to community environmental centre, to an international showcase for green design and urban innovation. It is a narrative of how the project came to be, told through the voices of some of the central players who helped make it possible. It is an effort to capture what we experienced along the way; to learn from these experiences and to share them with others who are exploring innovative ideas for making the world a better place.
The idea of “transformation” speaks both to transforming the physical space of the Don Valley Brick Works and to the organizational transformation that Evergreen needed to undertake to get there. And it also speaks to the broader notion of how Evergreen Brick Works seeks to change our relationship with the natural world so that we can create a sustainable future.
We looked to other social innovators, who offered their own lessons learned from their innovative projects, and you will find these insights throughout the document.
“The world needs this kind of place—a place to understand what impact we’re having on the rest of the environment.”
— David House, Site Development Advisor
At its core, Evergreen Brick Works is a place to inspire and support sustainability. It is a place to demonstrate and share best practices for creating healthier communities and improving environmental health, while supporting a burgeoning green economy. It is a work in progress, and we expect it always will be, because that’s what progress is: change and evolution.
Evergreen’s work is inspired by the belief that a close relationship with nature, both personally and collectively, is essential to making the kind of shift that is needed to conserve our planet and sustain ourselves. That is why we focus our efforts on cities and towns, where more than 80 percent of Canadians live.
Our core mission to inspire, educate and enable action to green cities is at the heart of everything we do. For 20 years, Evergreen has been providing Canadians with the tools, inspiration and know-how to take action to bring nature back to our cities. Our work is driven by the belief that to effect lasting, meaningful change, individuals and communities alike must adopt new attitudes and behaviours. From our origins in tree-plantings and school ground greening to the launch of Evergreen Brick Works, we work to create a healthier planet by nurturing cultural and ecological diversity, and creating a green economy based on innovation in concert with nature.
“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”
— Joel A. Barker