Sherbourne Common, Canada\'s Sugar Beach, and the Water\'s Edge Promenade | ?m | ?s | Waterfront Toronto | Teeple Architects

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Art and Boardwalks at Sherbourne Common - tender calls (March 2020).

  • Request for Qualifications (RFQ) #2020-04: Sherbourne Water’s Edge Public Art
    (03/2020)
    Waterfront Toronto (legally known as Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation) invites professional artists to submit their credentials for consideration for a major public artwork on the shore of Lake Ontario. The artwork will be located on the water’s edge, in Toronto’s dynamic and fast-growing East Bayfront Precinct.
  • Request for Proposals (RFP) #2019-07: East Bayfront: In-Water Pipes and Boardwalk
    (03/2020)
    Waterfront Toronto (legally named Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation) is seeking proposal submissions from firms for the construction of in-water pipes and boardwalk as further described in Appendix A, Part 2 – Project Requirements and Deliverables (the “Deliverables”)
 

urbanyimby

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source
 

daniel_kryz

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I spent some time at East Bayfront as part of a Jane's Walk. Something I noticed is that many of the public places, like Sherbourne Common and Aitken Place Park, were designed with the right intentions but don't attract many people as they aren't conducive to urban life and are pretty ugly. Sugar Beach, on the other hand, is full of people listening to music, enjoying the water and downtown views, chilling with friends, and taking pictures. It's a beautiful and vibrant place that we need more of to create a spectacular waterfront. The thought of Parliament Slip makes me optimistic that we'll have more magical places that people will actually want to go to.

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Just look at those weeping willow trees! They're beautiful!
 

Northern Light

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I spent some time at East Bayfront as part of a Jane's Walk. Something I noticed is that many of the public places, like Sherbourne Common

SC south can get quite busy in nice weather, the north one much less so. I reviewed the park design of the latter in the Problematic Parks thread and stand by what I had to say there. The South Park mostly works people, its main detriment being that people don't want to use the lawn when it's soggy.

and Aitken Place Park,

I have yet to see it super busy, but it does ok....mainly the play equipment and the dog area though. the main feature being a one way climb of a modest hill, it really isn't conducive to large groups of people.

Sugar Beach, on the other hand, is full of people listening to music, enjoying the water and downtown views, chilling with friends, and taking pictures. It's a beautiful and vibrant place that we need more of to create a spectacular waterfront. The thought of Parliament Slip makes me optimistic that we'll have more magical places that people will actually want to go to.

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I am likewise optimistic about Parliament Slip.

Just look at those weeping willow trees! They're beautiful!

Not native; but they're ok..... 😉

PS, you should post comparison photos when you're making comparisons. Makes it easier for people to see what you're talking about.
 

evandyk

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The problem with Aitken Place is that it has a lot of shade in the afternoon and creates a bit of a wind tunnel, so while it is nice when it's warm out, it gets cold really fast even when it's 10-15 degrees and sunny. We were there last weekend, and although it was reasonably nice out, it was freezing on the playground. It's a nice little playground, though.
 

daniel_kryz

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SC south can get quite busy in nice weather, the north one much less so. I reviewed the park design of the latter in the Problematic Parks thread and stand by what I had to say there. The South Park mostly works people, its main detriment being that people don't want to use the lawn when it's soggy.
I was referring to SC North. South is much better but it's surrounded by buildings that are boring & ugly overall and have poor retail design next to the public realm. The lawn is useful but doesn't have any amenities that you would expect with a lawn, such a soccer nets. My guess is they would be good for the people that live there. This place is theoretically walkable and not made for cars but doesn't give people a reason to go out on a stroll here. I believe that the only truly well-designed building in East Bayfront, as of now, is Aqualuna. Its attention to the ground level is pretty decent, and the expression and materiality create a unique identity for what will soon be a spectacular, diverse slip and a gateway to ferry travelers coming to Toronto. The other buildings have failed to achieve this. I'm not dismissing their positive qualities but, if you ask anyone who isn't into planning or architecture, they give off a typical condo/commercial vibe. They're certainly not worthy of the waterfront.
I have yet to see it super busy, but it does ok....mainly the play equipment and the dog area though. the main feature being a one way climb of a modest hill, it really isn't conducive to large groups of people.
Aitken Place Park isn't terrible aesthetically and has nice flowers that grow on the side of its hill. However, the overall idea for it is very lazy. There's a hill that goes up and a concrete area to the south of that hill, with a few lonely benches with a bizarre design. Why does it exist and what exactly are people supposed to do there? There's also a public art installation that looks good at night but, during the day, is just an oddly-shaped mirror cube. It might seem decent when you look at it on the internet but, when you're there, you realize that it's a pretty uninteresting park that, unlike Sugar Beach, wasn't designed for life in mind. If the designers were looking for something more secluded and local, they haven't achieved that either.

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Overall, it doesn't feel like a destination park or like a local community amenity. It's very unclear what this place is for and doesn't give a great reason for people to go there... even for the residents of the adjacent condos.

I am likewise optimistic about Parliament Slip.
Me too! I spoke with Yvonne Lam, a partner at DTAH and the organizer of the East Bayfront Jane's Walk, about Parliament Slip and Queens Quay East. I told her that Parliament Slip is one of my favourite public realm projects in Toronto and encouraged her to keep its elegant curves and composition as the design progresses. I also said that West 8 + DTAH have done great work in laying the foundation for a new design for Queens Quay but they could learn from PUBLIC WORK's design for segment 2B (east of Parliament). Their vision for Queens Quay is a place to meander and to linger, as opposed to a flow through. It also has far more landscaping, both in quantity and quality, and has a cottage country theme. I referenced the long benches, sidewalks that are organic and wavy, granite seating, and variety in amenities and landscaping that corresponds to context; as opposed to one street layout/expression for the entire length of the project. West 8 + DTAH did very good work on the side streets, such as Parliament Plaza that'll lead to the slip and I encouraged her to extend that approach to their segment of the Queens Quay East project.

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(Segment 2B by PUBLIC WORK)

PS, you should post comparison photos when you're making comparisons. Makes it easier for people to see what you're talking about.
Definitely, but I didn't take enough pictures on that day.
 
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DavidCapizzano

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Was down here the other day. Definitely quiet (and as northern light said, quite soggy lol) but I imagine that will slowly change as the east bayfront area becomes more populated. I do kind of appreciate that this park will have a few years to settle in before it inevitably becomes busier as lakeside / 180qq / quayside gets built out.


Irises looking happy though

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evandyk

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We went skating there with the kid a few times this winter. When the water is flowing, he loves the river and bridges. And the lawn attracts quite a few dogs to say hi to. It may not be the best used public space in the city, but it's fairly well used for a brand new space.
 

Northern Light

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Was down here the other day. Definitely quiet (and as northern light said, quite soggy lol) but I imagine that will slowly change as the east bayfront area becomes more populated. I do kind of appreciate that this park will have a few years to settle in before it inevitably becomes busier as lakeside / 180qq / quayside gets built out.


Irises looking happy though

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The south side has really good bones, but arguably could use a few tweaks.

I have real issues w/the north side of QQ portion of the park (water feature is great)....but the rest......it gets low uptake for a reason.

It's fixable, but it's a bit more than a tweak.
 

jsmith77

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I think the north side playground will always kinda be an oddity, even after the building goes up to the west.

PBut the southern part, promenade and sugar beach has done a great job over the years. A decade back it was brand new, and since it’s inception Sherbourne Commons has hosted many a food truck gathering, Pow Wows, a competitive dog course, even had the Sugar Shack event one year. Amazon filmed The Boys there as well. Perhaps some of that’s slowed down between the pandemic and residences going up around it, but it’s been well used.

The beach has done many more wine and beer festivals, has held pride dance parties as well as the Sail In Movies series. The promenade has frequently moored ships that including a Canadian Naval vessel (I think) you could tour on Canada Day.

I think it’s done well for its first ten years, and the addition of Limberlost/The Arbour should keep it animated for years to come.
 

Star Fox

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Agree with the comment that Sherbourne Commons South has good bones. Waterfront Toronto has commissioned a large art piece for the park, but last I saw it seemed to have shifted into the water, which is cool but I was looking forward to it adding some of the extra 'flare' that the park itself needs.

The north half of Sherboune Commons North should become an off-leash dog park, in my view. It will be up against the Gardiner so it'll never be a place humans want to hang out anyways, and it will help avoid people using Sherbourne Commons South as an off-leash area.
 

egotrippin

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My observation of newer Toronto parks, they just need a bit more greenery and planting, less concrete and more colour, soften the edges a bit. Sugar Beach looks so good with those lush weeping willows, the nice light sand, pastel pink umbrellas. Sherbourne Commons by comparison, I see lots of Toronto grey. While I do like the water feature, I can't help but think of it as being a drabber version of the Lurie Garden water feature in Chicago's Millenium Park.

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Look how verdant the surroundings are. Yes, I know those Sherbourne Common photos weren't taken at the peak of summer, but amp the lushness up a bit and I think you're on the right track. Four season plantings would be helpful too; red dogwood, winterberry shrubs, evergreens- we don't plant enough evergreens in my opinion. Just the cedars alone that line the walkway make such a big difference.
 

tripwire

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Sherbourne Common North has really crappy playground features. I mean, compare what they have vs the St. Lawrence playground, and it's obvious why it's so dead and underused.
Sherbourne Common South is good, although I wish they ran the water more often. I do like the big grass fields which I see being used to play games (frisbee, football chucking, etc). What I feel is a waste is the clump of benches and trees on the north side.

I wish the playground in Atkins park was more to the south and visible to the passer bys. I think there's a small dog park on the north side? It's covered by the hill (from the south) which is not great. I think it is hard for the park being sandwiched between the building though; shadow + wind as others have said.
 

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