Sherbourne Common

UCC Group Inc. Completes Toronto’s Newest Waterfront Park: Sherbourne Common

What once was a meek industrial area is now a stunning 1.5 hectare waterfront park along Lake Ontario.

The park’s design combines elements of concrete, granite, wood, water and wide open green space, in a continuous flow throughout. Park features include a dynamic playground area with rubber, sand and pebble play surfaces, a large free-form ice skating rink that also performs as a splash pad in the summer months, a modern pavilion housing washrooms, a café and hidden mechanical systems and a stunning water feature system. It is this fantastic water feature that boasts some of the City’s best performances with the material of choice – concrete.

Taking the form of an urban structure and also that of public art, the water feature system is actually a vital part of the entire neighbourhoods storm water management system.

Collected storm water from the East Bayfront area is pumped to a UV filtration facility housed under the park’s open space and in the basement of the Zinc Clad pavilion. From this treatment point, the water is delivered to the park through the three striking art features, designed by artist Jill Anholt, entitled “Light Showers”. Water cascades down the artwork’s fabric, under interactive shimmering light displays, to the large open reflecting pools in the North Park. The water then progresses through the Biofiltration Beds, planted with filtering water plants, over the stainless steel weirs, into the continuous, granite-lined water channel ultimately cascading into Lake Ontario.

As a key part of the North Park’s structure, the “Light Showers” sculptures are breathtaking in dimension, shape and effect, as they drop the filtered water into the pools. These structures are a detailed study in engineering and art, and combine three processes to build. Large foundations were cast-in-place, including high-strength anchor bolts. Two site precast “arms”, made in winter heated tents in 6-part fiberglass molds, and poured using a special self-consolidating concrete mix, (Agilia) were then crane-hoisted into place. The final part was the cast-in-place core tying the components together. The art features were then fitted with stainless steel cladding, plumbing, fibreoptic lighting and custom art glass panels. The finished products are truly striking.

The 240m long channel with, all its pools, slopes, pitches and curves, steps and banks undeniably highlighted the complexity of the formwork and the flexibility of concrete.

The Landscape Architect’s vision was difficult to fully detail on paper but through on-site discussions, samples and developed cast-in-place formwork systems, we are left with a finished product that is smooth, clean and crisp.

The multi-season Ice Rink and Splash Pad is another key feature of the park. Combining integral ice rink systems with dancing water jets, the assembly serves all seasons.

UCC Group is proud to have been part of such a dramatic transformation that will bring the lakeside experience to life for city residents and visitors alike.


  • Gold Award for Landscape Architecture at the 2011 Design Exchange Awards in Toronto
  • Ready Mix Concrete Association Award for Architectural Hardscape
  • Best of the Best Award from the Toronto Construction Association (TCA) for East Bayfront
  • Living City Award: Healthy Rivers and Shorelines for the East Bayfront
  • Integrated Stormwater Management System
  • Ontario General Contractors Association Ontario Builder Award



Toronto, Ontario, Canada