Right across Toronto's waterfront there's a remarkable transformation taking place.
Located in the heart of the new East Bayfront neighbourhood, Sherbourne Common is not only practical, it's the first of its kind.
“This is the first park in Canada to incorporate a neighbourhood-wide storm water treatment facility,” said federal Environment Minister Peter Kent proudly at the structure's opening Tuesday afternoon.
Housed in the basement of the park's pavilion on the southern side, the water treatment facility cleans collected storm and lake water with ultraviolent light.
“The storm water that comes off all the buildings and roads in this neighbourhood will be treated in this park,” explained Mark Wilson, Chair of Waterfront Toronto.
After the water is treated, it's sent underground and flows through three dramatic nine metre tall towers. It's then released into the massive 240 metre-long water channel that enters into Lake Ontario.
The result is an aesthetically pleasing structure that is also practical and innovative.
But the best part can be witnessed at night.
According to Wilson, as people move over the bridge near the water channel, motion sensors trigger light patterns in the water. This is what inspired the name Light Shower -- because the structure is even more striking in the dark.
Additionally, the mesh veils of art sculptures were installed to capture water in the winter to form unique ice patterns.
The government invested more than $27 million in the project to help revitalize Toronto's waterfront.
“Not only does Sherbourne Common beautify this part of the city -- it establishes a new year-round attraction for residents and for visitors and creates and preserves green space in the heart of mixed development,” said Kent.
The interesting and functional park was designed to be both a city-wide destination and neighbourhood amenity for day long and year-round use.
Along with the artistic features, the north side contains a children's playground, a grove of trees, plus seating and benches for taking in the sights. The south portion features a large greenspace overlooking the lake that can be used for festivals and events. A splash pad, skating rink and weather-protected pavilion are also on-site.
“These towers really celebrate the water. They celebrate the fact that water is a resource not a pollutant and how we reuse storm water and create public art,” boasts Wilson.
Kent hopes that the park will not only bring people together but also build a healthier environment for Canadians.
“Toronto's industrial past is giving way to a brighter future focused on thriving communities.”
With files from Dwayne Oud