I was at the Toronto Food and Wine Festival this past weekend and the event was held at the Evergreen Brick Works. Billed as a community ‘environmental’ centre, this location is a complex of buildings that has numerous facilities and uses for various events. It was originally produced brick from 1889 to 1984.
After falling into disrepair the buildings and surrounding area were revitalized and re-opened to the public in 2010. During the summer, there is a farmer’s market as well a food court. The Farmer’s market is open Saturdays May 1 to October 31 and then Sundays from June to November 1. In the winter, it is only on Saturdays from 9 – 1 pm. There is a food court open until 2 pm.
You can drop by the Evergreen Garden Market and then have a drink and a bite to eat at the Café Belong. There is the large brick work area where we there was a presentation stage set up for Chef’s to prepare dishes and an audience to follow along. This was a great big space with tea lights hanging from the rafters. The room adjacent to it held rows and rows of tables for the dinner party (I did not attend that event).
Photo Credit: Evergreen Brick Works
The large ‘warehouse’ area was where they had the vendors and exhibitors set up. Although there were many vendors, I feel that it could have been spread out a bit more to give people the opportunity to walk around more. Maybe loiter at the stands while you spoke to each of the restaurants, bistros, bakeries, food and wine vendors. There was certainly plenty to see and experience but it was crowded at times for sure.
As part of the main building, there were also a smaller ‘demo’ kitchen for an intimate cooking lessons as part of the Food and Wine Festival. For the Chef’s Series. further down the hall there was a large test kitchen where people could take a class and follow along as a celebrity chef showed them how to make a meal. Right beside was another room where you could have a wine tasting class with a sommelier or a chef.
As you walked around, you could see the graffiti and street art that was drawn here long before this became a hip, urban, re-claimed space. I love the juxtaposition of the old, weathered buildings and the modern facilities. The re-purposing of this industrial space and the green space (hiking trails, wetland, park and garden areas) that surrounds it is an oasis in the big city. The whole area is surrounded by a wooded area with natural landscapes to compliment the space.
My biggest complaint was that there clearly was not sufficient parking for the event. I do realize that many people take public transit in a large city like Toronto but many of us come from out of town or the distant suburbs and we drive in. Having to be turned away and told that we had to take a shuttle from a designated area (that was not very easy to locate) was a bit difficult. So my tip to you is take the shuttles from Broadview station during the week and on weekends or take the TTC (public transport) on the weekend. That being said, it was the only drawback of this location.
This is a very nice attraction if you are here on the weekend and are looking for a Farmer’s market or you want to go for a hike or bike ride. The Weston Family Quarry Garden is an 11.5 hectare natural area and city park containing the Weston Quarry Garden, wetlands, wildflower meadows, ravine forests and trails.