In Chris Bateman's A brief history of the Don Valley Brick Works , layers of the Toronto Brick Works, Don Valley Bricks, are unveiled. What has always resonated with me, is the fabric of Toronto...
If right now you're sitting in a building built before the second world war, there's a chance the walls came from the Don Valley.
Inspired by the process, layers of time and extreme temperatures have formed our landscape. Tracing back the origins of our built form, the importance of the late 19th century discovery by Taylor is at the heart of our 20th century city. According to C.Sauriol (1981), the origin of the Brickworks can be traced to the year 1882.
During the spring of that year, William Taylor and an
assistant were at work erecting a fence in the valley
of the Don River. Clay being brought to the surface
as postholes were being dug caught the attention
of Taylor, who became curious as to its potential for
brickmaking.The following day, Taylor packed two
cigar boxes with the clay and took them to a local
brickworks for firing. Here, Sauriol stated, a discussion took place between Taylor and the owner of the brickworks as to the colour of bricks
which would be produced by firing. Taylor maintained that red bricks would result while theowner suggested that yellow ones would be produced. The clay did in fact produce
very fine quality red-coloured bricks. Further testing on the site convinced Taylor and
his brothers to establish a brickworks.
A full historical account of the company's development and impact on the city is on the Evergreen website.
about the author
I like to think that the large works on paper on which I assemble different drawing methods represent a kind of inventory or document about the state of the our urban rivers.