Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers' marketing material.
Geoff Cape is a co-founder of Evergreen and has been its executive director since its inception in 1991. Cape attended Trinity College School and Queen’s University, graduating in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts. In 2002 he completed his Master of Management from McGill University in Montreal. In 1999, Cape was selected as one of Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40” by The Globe and Mail Report on Business magazine, and was recently honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of “Canadians who have made outstanding and exemplary contributions to their communities or to Canada as a whole”. In 2005, Cape was inducted into an International Fellowship by Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. In 2007, Cape won the prestigious Schwab Foundation’s ‘Canadian Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award, Canada’s top social entrepreneurship honour.
What is the origin of your innovation? Tell the Changemakers and media communities what prompted you to start this initiative.
In early 2002, Evergreen began to explore a new strategy for furthering its mission, strengthening its programs and building its capacity. The idea was straightforward - a large-scale native plant nursery housed in the abandoned heritage building complex at the Brick Works, which would employ at-risk youth and supply native trees and plant material to support urban greening. Over time, however, the idea grew to encompass the creation of an innovative, mixed-use environmental centre that models new approaches to urban sustainability. In the fall of 2002, Evergreen submitted an unsolicited proposal to the City of Toronto to redevelop the Industrial Pad at the Brick Works. After several months, the City concluded that an application process was required and created a Request for Proposals for the "Adaptive Reuse of the Heritage Structures at the Don Valley Brick Works." In September 2003, Toronto City Council selected Evergreen as the preferred proponent for the Project. Following extensive negotiations, planning and stakeholder consultations, Evergreen concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with the City and TRCA in the fall of 2004. The MOU was unanimously approved by the City Council on Oct 1, 2004 and gives Evergreen the option to lease the Industrial Pad for $1 per year for 21 years, once the organization has raised the funds necessary for the adaptive reuse of the buildings. Importantly, the MOU focuses only on the Industrial Pad and the buildings contained therein, with the explicit understanding that the Brick Works Park would remain a public park, managed by the City. Evergreen is transforming Toronto’s Don Valley Brick Works factory buildings from an underused, deteriorating asset to a thriving environmentally based community centre engaging visitors in diverse experiences connected to nature. Located on a unique natural and industrial heritage site, Evergreen Brick Works will be a destination for visitors, families and individuals alike, to enjoy a natural refuge, while sampling a rich offering of programs and services – including gardening workshops, heritage tours, working with clay, an organic food market, a retail nursery, demonstration gardens and leading-edge green design techniques. It will be a unique and creative social enterprise that will model sustainability on all fronts and is striving to be the greenest facility in North America.
Describe some unique tourist experiences that your approach provides. Be specific; give illustrative examples.
What types of partnerships or professional development would be most beneficial in spreading your innovation?
Evergreen chose an integrated team of professionals to help lead the design and construction of Evergreen Brick Works. The design team is being led by Joe Lobko of du Toit Allsopp Hillier and du Toit Architects Limited. The design team’s work has built on the findings of the planningAlliance master planning team. Design development decisions have been the outcomes of a collaborative process that has involved the entire design team, Evergreen and, at key milestones, staff of municipal and senior government agencies. Detailed design will be executed as a suite of smaller design projects, led by individual architecture and landscape architecture firms. Evergreen has retained Aldrich Pears Associates (of Vancouver) to prepare an interpretive plan for the interpretive elements of the project. Ferruccio Sardella has been retained as a consulting artist. Evergreen has retained Eastern Construction Company Limited as its Construction Manager.