Butwell Brick Yards

Henry Butwell’s brick yards were located along the east side of Garrison Creek, between Bloor and College Streets; one in Park Lot 22 the other in Park Lot 23. Each clay pit covered roughly 10 acres.

Butwell, born 1830, in Oxfordshire, England, was the son of brick-maker Richard Butwell. He came to Toronto in 1857 and by 1878, after working in a brick yard in Yorkville, he got the job of managing the brick-making operation at the Central Prison, which he held for 16 years. In this period he rented the old Crawford estate and began making, bricks there. When College Street was extended west through the middle of his brickyard. He relocated farther north to clay areas on the east side of Garrison Creek. Here his production was 9,000,000 bricks per year. In 1894, when this area was exhausted, he moved to a clay field along the Humber River. In 1906, he had three yards (two owned and one leased) and produced 4,000,000 bricks per season. The bricks produced by Butwell and other brickmakers allowed the 19th century Toronto to grow into a city of brick houses resistant to fire. Brickyards also provided employment and trained otherwise unskilled men. The Parkdale and Gore Vale areas have many brick houses made from bricks from Butwell’s Garrison yards. Information from “A Glimpse of Toronto’s History” the Toronto Historical Society and the Maps Project. MPLS #153

For information on brickworking, see this page.