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Sherbourne Common Park

Posted by Matthew Harris / September 25, 2010

Sherbourne Common ParkRob Ford may not like the money spent on the waterfront, but after years of work and development, plans for the East Bayfront are finally coming to fruition. The latest Waterfront Toronto project to open is the southern portion of Sherbourne Common park. And it's both beautiful and functional.

Sherbourne Park's Promenade next to George Brown College's South CampusRunning along Lower Sherbourne between Lake Shore Blvd and Lake Ontario, the park's innovative idea is that it's a water treatment facility as well as a place of recreation. Large tanks of water under the waterfront promenade hold stormwater runoff. There is also a UV treatment facility under the pavilion in the centre of the park. After the stormwater is treated, it's carried through a channel that runs along the length of the park, through a biofiltration bed, and into Lake Ontario.Sherbourne Common Water Filtration SystemSherbourne Common Water Filtration System 2Despite its official opening, however, the park is not entirely finished. While the waterfront promenade, which will eventually run along the entire length of the East Bayfront, has been completed between Sherbourne Common and Sugar Beach, workers are still installing paving to the east.20100925 - Sherbourne Common Anholt.jpgAnd the northern section of the park still has a great deal of work to be done. It's expected to be completed by the fall. Completion of the park will also involve a realignment of Lower Sherbourne to meet up with Dockside Drive.

The Jill Anholt sculptures for the northern portion of the park have already been installed. Water will be pumped up the sculpture's "arms", and then will gently sluice off them in sheets. From there, the water will join the channel that runs the length of the park.Sherbourne Common's Teeple Designed Snack PavilionThe pavilion for the park is also not yet finished. As well as having the water purification systems underneath it, it will hold a snack bar and washrooms. Designed by Teeple - winner of the Pug Awards this year for 60 Richmond East - it will be covered in zinc when completed. Beside it is an area that will be a skating rink in winter and a splash pad in the summer.Waterfront Promenade beside Corus QuayWhen I visited, the park already had a lot of traffic. Its sister park, Canada's Sugar Beach, was similarly busy. Although some fiscal conservatives may feel that expenditures on the waterfront may not be worth the cost, the popularity of these parks suggests that there is a strong demand among Torontonians for them.

What do you think of Sherbourne Common? Do you plan on visiting?



hendrix / September 25, 2010 at 10:35 am
Sugar Beach is awesome. I can see myself wandering down there regularly. I can't wait for the boardwalk to extend all way to Cherry street.
piero / September 25, 2010 at 11:15 am
Great cities attract talent, wealth, artists, industries, etc. Land is hard to come by, especially waterfront land and in the quantities that Toronto has. This is a great investment that will increase tourism, increase the tax base and make the city more livable for us. We're slowly catching up to other great cities in the world. It's time for Toronto to take some of the spotlight.
nn / September 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm
once the City Parks and Rec dept assumes responsibility for these they'll end up as shabby and neglected as every other park in the city
gadfly / September 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm
nn is correct. Other than trying to take cheap shots at Rob Ford, perhaps one would consider his point: a) the city is, for all intents and purposes, bankrupt, and b) there is no money to maintain the other city parks that are falling apart. Look at the wreck Balfour is, or Sunnyside or Kew Beach. With washrooms closed, vandalized or totally gross, grass overgrowing, goose sh$t everywhere, the city has no money to maintain those. Or, perhaps more accurately, no money to maintain them with the current crop of lazy, overpaid, entitled unionized workers who sit in their trucks smoking cigarettes and NOT maintaining those parks.
I would love to see vast promenades with boutiques, smiling faces and sunny days forever. Is that reality? Is that what we will end up with, especially once the fanfare is over and the reality of looking after all these spaces sets in?
Joel / September 25, 2010 at 01:52 pm
This is such a win for the city, it shouldn't even be a debate. People who see these parks as only one more added operating cost aren't thinking long term. Think of the people that will be attracted to live in Toronto because of its beautiful waterfront parks (don't laugh-- it will happen soon enough). Think of those people that will then pay a high price to live close to these parks-- generating millions upon millions in property taxes and creating and investing in businesses in downtown Toronto.

Yes there are some parks that have some maintenance problems. Are those budgetary or logistical? We don't know for sure. But the condition of the existing parks is no reason not to build beautiful parks like this.
simuls / September 25, 2010 at 02:13 pm
This is awesome. I totally disagree with nn and gadfly. While there's no doubt some parks could use more tlc and money, that's hardly an excuse not to build or have them. In addition, the city of Toronto is hardly bankrupt. Fiscally challenged, but nowhere near bankrupt. It's city building like this, however, that will bring new companies, new jobs and more tax base to Toronto vs. surrounding burbs and other cities.
Fu Que / September 25, 2010 at 03:07 pm
It's raining - must be Rob Ford's fault.
bob / September 25, 2010 at 03:13 pm
I really hope this is a turning point in which people realize that Rob Ford is NOT the right choice for mayor.

We need places like these.

Yes, it attracts tourists, but when you're surrounded by beauty, your life is beautiful.

Too bad for Ford...
Tim / September 25, 2010 at 03:32 pm
I also disagree with nn and gadfly. There's a logistical / management problem, not a budget one. Even if there were, TO's new waterfront will attract new business, residents and investment.

I've already been to Sugar Beach and Shebourne Common. and it's already a regular spot for me to take walks. Absolutely love them.

JM / September 25, 2010 at 06:13 pm
You'd think Toronto was as crumbling as Detroit or Newark the way some people describe the city's problems.
Jorge / September 25, 2010 at 06:56 pm
Go down there and have a look..they've done a great job, it's a really nice place - never thought I'd say that about lower Sherbourne!
papa / September 25, 2010 at 07:36 pm
I agree with nn and gadfly. I don't think we should build or invest in anything. it's all going to fall apart anyway. heck, I don't think I'm even going to leave my house today. what's the point.
bullring / September 25, 2010 at 07:42 pm
Toronto is not bankrupt. That sounds like one of those Rob Ford talking points.
Jacob / September 25, 2010 at 07:45 pm
On the topic of the parks being maintained by the city's Parks and Rec Dept.: Yes, let's privatize the new park! It'll become an <i>amazing</i> public space once privatized, <i>just like Yonge + Dundas Square!</i>

(I figure some people won't recognise my carcasm, so I'll just place this disclaimer here.)
Adam / September 25, 2010 at 09:33 pm
I also disagree with gadfly. I'm getting sick of all the bleating about how the city is bankrupt and completely falling apart. I can only guess that people who say such things are woefully ignorant of the challenges municipalities face across North America. In the grand scheme of things, Toronto is in pretty good shape. Healthy real estate market, healthy financial industry, growing cultural industries and I could go on. Sure, things could be better, but they are far from disastrous.
Andrew / September 25, 2010 at 09:44 pm
Sugar Beach is my favourite part of the T.o waterfront. I plan on visting Sherbourne Common tomorrow. It's really nice to see our waterfront come together. I hope by the time the Pan am games roll around in 2015 we will have a lot more completed.
Paul / September 25, 2010 at 09:45 pm
Thanks for turning a simple article about a park into a political mess, everyone.

Forget about if Ford will be a shitty mayor (he probably will), forget about if Smitherman will be a shitty mayor (he will, just look at everything he's ever done, forget about if the Godfather will be a shitty mayor (he probably will). EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM SUCKS.
huh? / September 25, 2010 at 10:20 pm
The sky is falling?

bob / September 25, 2010 at 10:53 pm
Toronto is NOT IN DEBT. $3billion dollars is nothing compared to other major cities. We are not paying it off because there are inner city problems, plus, we are in the midst of selecting a new mayor.

Ford will not be able to pay these off, as he is doing nothing for the city in terms of bringing in money, he is just not spending it.

You can't gain without giving.
me / September 25, 2010 at 11:59 pm
This park is a positive on so many levels I can't believe there are people actually complaining about it. It has provided a badly needed sewage treatment plant that prevents more sludge from going into the lake. This area was an eyesore prior to development. Rather than an ugly industrial setting, the designers have chosen to make it an attractive place for the people of Toronto to spend their day.
CrimeFighter / September 26, 2010 at 10:44 am
If I see any punks spraypainting these parks I will break your arms and throw you into the lake. I've already busted a few faces I caught tagging some businesses late at night. I will seriously F*#$ you up and I'm not just some guy talking trash or being a tough guy on the internet. I WILL MESS YOUR FACE UP. I consider it my civic duty.
Gordon replying to a comment from CrimeFighter / September 26, 2010 at 11:18 am
Thanks, Batman!
gadfly replying to a comment from bob / September 26, 2010 at 12:38 pm
LOL! Spoken like a true socialist! What's $3 Billion between friends?

Hands up those on this site who are old enough to remember when Balfour Park had manicured lawns, picnic tables, a restroom, instead of the hideously over-grown, falling down disaster it has become today.
Or when you could walk along Sunnyside or Ashbridges Bay without having to sandblast the goose sh$t off your shoes? The statues, the monuments, the playgrounds that are falling to pieces - they all cost money. Other people's money, judging by the comments in this thread.
Hey, I'm all for parks and beaches everywhere. This is Miami, isn't it?
bob replying to a comment from gadfly / September 26, 2010 at 05:23 pm
You're speaking as if Toronto was a little town that had no financial self-support. But this is Toronto, one of the worlds financial capitals.

We are in no state of trouble. A shame to know that Ford could fool so many people into believing that Toronto can't move forward.

Obviously you didn't get the point in what I was saying.
Don / September 26, 2010 at 06:21 pm
I have waited all my life for the Waterfront to finally begin in big time and that moment arrived a few years ago.

No Ford will stop the ongoing progress of Toronto. There will be some laughs along the way if he gets in but we the people will not let this man set Toronto back.

Love what's happening.
Joe / September 27, 2010 at 10:53 am
Toronto is a great city! One of the most livable in the world! I love living here! Suck it Rob Ford!
nn replying to a comment from Jacob / September 27, 2010 at 12:48 pm
Jacob, the space itself doesn't need privatizing, what does though is the workers who maintain it. that way, we'd be paying people $10/hr instead of the union rate of $30/hr to the thugs who really run this city.. and they'd do a far better job to boot
secyw / February 1, 2011 at 11:23 pm
Very nice! I like it!
ttraveller / April 18, 2011 at 02:53 pm
30 years and almost $800 million spent, mostly on single source, most favoured "consultants.". Whoopee. Got us a tiny Sugar beach, a Sherbourne boardwalk, and a taxpayer subsidized office building. This is why Toronto is cut out of Federal funding. We just can't hack the real world. The Leafs will win the Cup twice before anything else happens on the Waterfront with the current "world class" TEDCO crew.
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