Site Study: Productive Landscapes in Toronto and New Orleans

with Grace Yang, Kaari Kitawi, Rui Yu, Can Huang, and XiaoYue Ding

The following is a comparative study and analysis on two sites of “productive landscapes” in Toronto and New Orleans
01_Seasons and Regions


Evergreen Brickworks, Toronto

Evergreen Brick Works is located on Bayview Avenue in the floodplain of the Don River Valley just north of the Bloor Street Viaduct in downtown Toronto. Due to its strategic location, it is considered one of the key initiatives associated with the restoration of the Don River.


HollyGrove Farmer’s Market, New Orleans

Hollygrove Market and Farm is a 1-acre site located on Olive Street (formerly Guillot’s Nursery), in the heart of the Carrollton I-10 (Interstate 10) redevelopment area. 1


Brief History

Formerly the Don Valley Brick Works, the site was formerly an industrial brick quarry that was acquired in 1989 by the TRCA.2 Evergreen, a “national non-profit that inspires green action for cities” initiated the transformation of the site into an ecological heritage icon for the City of Toronto. Evergreen’s vision was to “redevelop the Industrial Pad into a mixed-use centre for experiencing the relationship between Nature, Culture and Community. This centre called Evergreen at the Brick Works models sustainability on all fronts from the adaptive reuse of the heritage buildings using green design, to creating an economically self-sustaining operation”. 3The City of Toronto, Parks and Recreation Department, manages the Brick Works Park for the TRCA. The Friends of the Brick Works are a volunteer organization also actively involved with on-going park management and any associated development proposals.

Hollygrove Market & Farm was launched in 2008 after Hurricane Katrina to enable an economically challenged community to have access to fresh, local produce while reviving the local economy. This was initiated through a partnership between Carrollton-Hollygrove Community, Development Corporation (CHCDC), New Orleans Food and Farm Network (FFN) and Tulane City Center. Hollygrove Market & Farm was envisioned as a centerpiece for FFN’s food security recovery planning to create a gateway into the Carrollton-Hollygrove neighbourhood and spread agricultural education citywide.4

If the Project had not Existed…

Condos in the RavineBefore the TRCA purchased this land from a developer for $14 million, it had been zoned for condo development that the developer had purchased from a long line of brick-related businesses for only $4 million.

Vacant Lots and Abandoned NurseryPreviously an abandoned nursery (Guillot’s Nursery) that was further devastated by hurricane Katrina and the tornado in the subsequent year. Bobby Guillot still owns the land, but leases to the Carrollton-Hollygrove Community Development Corporation. 5


Short Term State

Community Venue for Upscale EventsThe combination of the Brick Works’ relatively new status and isolation in a ravine mean it is not an everyday gathering space yet. Instead, unique city-wide events are held on a more weekly and monthly basis have proven quite successful, as people using the neighbouring trails continue to run and cycle in the park. That said, they have definitely found a market and created a sense of place that people can expect the unique design and amenities to continue to deliver.

Local Community and Market GardenAttracts customers from outside the neighborhood due to unaffordable prices. Most volunteers are not local – Residents are disengaged, and the farm is for profit, rather than for non-profit community outreach, although programs such as the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box program are well underway.6


Long Term Goal

Community Centre with “Triple Bottom Line” Model
Economic Return & Incentive: By facilitating the year-round farmer’s market and a host of city-wide specialty events, the Brick Works forms connections between farmer and neighbour, allowing them in turn to provide free workshops and evens, and afford things like a flood budget. Ecological Sustainability: Flood-resilient, native-plant growing, habitat restoring, vegetation researching, and wetland rehabilitating. Social Connector: Providing a place and space in which people of all backgrounds can connect over food, plants, and the arts.

Provide Long Term Food SecurityAs a response after Hurricane Katrina, the goal is to provide a sustainable food network to underserved communities while reviving the health of the Carrollton-Hollygrove neighbourhood.

03_Bottom up Top Down


In 2006, Evergreen launched a $50 million fundraising campaign goal with half public and half private contributions. The public support came from the Government of Canada, Ontario Heritage Trust, the Government of Ontario, and the private support came from a long list of donors. 7
Funding primarily comes from grassroots groups with financial assistance from both public and private corporations. The design and technical support was provided by professors and student volunteers from the Tulane University Architecture department.
04_Neighbourhood Scale05_Land Use


The site is actively used as a venue for artistic, interpretive and educational opportunities. The diverse landscape palette draws the Don Valley ecology throughout the park and buildings while a host of small installations explore, experiment and demonstrate various themes of edibles, habitats and related urban gardening themes and curios.
Unfortunately, the community’s enthusiasm for the project has waned with many residents feeling that the Farmers Market has not provided the jobs they had promised to create.8
06_Site Scale


1 Tulane City Center. Hollygrove Growers Market and Farm. VISIONING DOCUMENT
2 Evergreen. “Evergreen Brick Works Primer.” Page 10.
3 Evergreen. “Evergreen at the Brick Works Final Master Plan.” Page 4.
4 Tulane City Center. Greenline, page 5.
5 Kalen Wright, A Sustainable Resource grown from a Collaborative Effort, 2010.
7 Evergreen. “Master Plan.” Page 44.
8 Adrianna King. “Hollygrove Market and Farm.” Prezi. December, 2013.

Further Projects