Sherway Gardens - Phase IV

Toronto, Ontario

Client: General Growth Properties
Size: 177,000 sq.ft. (16,000 sq.m)

Originally built in 1971, Sherway Gardens was a successful shopping centre in suburban Toronto. The 800,000 square foot mall lost its visual prominence when the interchange of Highway 401 and the Queen Elizabeth Way was elevated. Zeidler Partnership Architects was asked to regain the centre’s visibility with the design of a new addition including retail space, a department store and a food court.

Placing the food court on the roof level of the one-storey centre and covering it with a unique translucent fabric tent created a dramatic form. The new roof acts as a beacon visible to passing traffic, especially when illuminated at night. Inside, the roof transforms the inner space, bringing a light, open atmosphere into the building, as well as a sense of orientation that was missing before the renovation. The lower columns supporting the tent poles appear like rows of royal palms and enhance the feeling of a tranquil garden, thus echoing the name of the centre.

The fabric roof is the first of its kind over a retail building in Canada. The exterior shell consists of Te on-coated fibreglass and an inner liner of translucent vinyl-coated polyester that provides a vapour barrier and improved thermal comfort. Warm air circulates between the inner and outer fabrics to prevent condensation. The roof covers a 110 by 240-foot area and is supported by three pairs of 75-foot high masts pinned to the tops of rigid columns. A 40-foot long glass skylight crowns each pair.


  • City of Etobicoke - City of Etobicoke Urban Design Awards, Honourable Mention, 1992
  • Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards - Award of Merit, 1990
  • Sign Association of Canada - Best Free Standing Neon Display, Gourmet Fair, 1989