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The conceptual design for the multi-award winning Sherbourne Common, located on the Toronto Waterfront, is built upon the abstraction of the Iconic Canadian lakeshore landscape types: the woods, the water, and the green. These three spatial zones are tied together by a linear stormwater sluice fed by ‘Light Showers’ by Jill Anholt. 

As a key component of Toronto’s lakeshore redevelopment and renaissance, this signature park emphasizes inspiring civic space, flexible usage, play and sustainable systems. The design is strongly informed by the need for both a neighbourhood park and a city-wide destination. [1]

Project Facts 

  • Sherbourne Common is the first park in Canada to receive LEED gold certification. 
  • The park contains about 182 native or regionally adapted trees: 108 Pacific Sunset Maple, 45 Red Oak, and 29 American Beech. 
  • The park incorporates locally-available materials, extensively uses light-colored permeable paving surfaces to reduce the urban heat island effect, and uses special light fixtures to reduce light pollution (2)

Toronto, Canada, has faced many unique challenges as it has sought to transform its industrial waterfront into an accessible place for recreation. When Waterfront Toronto was formed in 2001 to revitalize 800 hectares along Lake Ontario, the East Bayfront precinct was funneling huge amounts of sewage and polluted stormwater runoff into the lake. [2]

Sherbourne Common has already become a wildly popular waterfront park, proving out the importance of flexibility and diversity as essential principles in the design of the park. Directly adjacent to the park, a new 3,000 student campus has just opened and the first of several mixed-use/ residential buildings that will begin to bracket the park is now under construction. Within its size, the park accommodates a wide variety of uses and responds to interests of a diverse constituency of future residents, students and employees of emerging businesses. Programmatically, the park strives to accommodate a full range of needs. It addresses two very different paradigms of urban park design: one to provide a tranquil space to escape from the chaos of urban living, and the other to provide an engaging, civic space for social interaction. [3]


[1]     “Sherbourne Common.” PFS Studio, 2010. http://pfsstudio.com/project/sherbourne-common/.

[2]     “Sherbourne Common.” Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes. Accessed January 15, 2021. https://www.asla.org/sustainablelandscapes/sherbourne.html.

[3]     Gaete, Javier. “Sherbourne Common / PFS Studio.” ArchDaily. ArchDaily, November 20, 2013. https://www.archdaily.com/449590/sherbourne-common-pfs-studio.

Project Title: Sherbourne Common Pavillion
PFS Studio:
Year: 2010
Place: Toronto, ON

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