Aquatic Play Comes to Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier


A short drive from Quebec City, Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier has experienced strong demographic growth, its population almost doubling in the last 30 years. As a result, the city decided to expand the recreational possibilities of Grand-Héron Park, located on the shores of the Jacques-Cartier river. The park is a wonderful location for a variety of individual, group, and family activities, but some areas were left unused, falling short of their full potential. With no aquatic play facilities in the region, the city granted residents’ requests to convert a grassy area of the park into a Splashpad® for the enjoyment of the many local children.


The project presented several challenges, with high soil moisture in the designated area and a very tight installation timeline. Environmental care, cost control, and integrating well with the park’s natural environment were also musts.

Vortex worked in close collaboration with municipal authorities to develop an eco-friendly aquatic play area and ensure its seamless integration with the vision of Régis Côté & Associés architects, the firm responsible for Grand-Héron Park.


In fact, the aquatic play amenities are integrated into a park near the Jacques-Cartier River, bringing to life the city’s motto – quality of life at the edge of the Laurentian forest.

— Pierre Dolbec, Mayor of Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier
    Quebec, Canada


The aquatic hub’s Splashpad covers 2,023 square feet, divided into two main play areas and separated by a group of water sprays and lighting effects. On one side, a water tunnel leads to a variety of geysers and crisscrossing sprays that encourage dynamic social play. Overhead, water cascades down from a leaf-shaped feature, an echo to the natural environment of the play area.

The other section of the Splashpad is dedicated to lower-energy, more contemplative play, and features a Tide Pool, one of the centrepieces of the Water Journey collection. The shallow pool recreates the rising and receding tides, alternately concealing and revealing stones of various shapes and sizes. The soothing rhythm of the flow of water fosters quieter moments and the tactile exploration of stones breaking the surface of the water.


The Splashpad is open whenever the weather permits and can be accessed through the new Desjardins multipurpose pavilion, the very heart of park infrastructures. The aquatic hub is part of a series of amenity improvements at Grand-Héron Park, which hopes to grow traffic well beyond the 140,000 visitors it already welcomes annually.

Pierre Dolbec, mayor of Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, is proud to report the positive feedback he gets from residents about the addition of the Splashpad.

Citizens stop me on a regular basis to tell me how much they appreciate the aquatic play installations we had built in 2017 for the children. They also enjoy watching kids play in a natural setting within Grand-Héron park by an exceptional pavilion.

— Pierre Dolbec, Mayor of Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier
    Quebec, Canada
  • Solution Types Water Journey™
  • Location Quebec, Canada
    - Parks & Aquatic Centers
  • Opened July 2017
  • Architect Régis Côté & Associées

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