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Winter Stations 2017 Competition Now open

05 October 2016

Important Dates

Registration Closes: 04 November 2016
Submission Deadline: 04 November 2016
Winner Announcement: TBD
Award Ceremony: TBD


WinterStations is now embarking on its third-year, opening an international design competition to bring temporary public art installations to The Beaches, exhibited to celebrate Toronto's winter waterfront landscape.

This year we are expecting to include up to six lifeguard stands, including an additional three by invited universities, across Balmy, Kew and Ashbridges Bay beaches located in the heart of the Beach community, south of Queen Street East, between Woodbine and Victoria Park Avenues. These utilitarian structures are to be used as the armature for temporary installations, which will need to be able to withstand the rigours of Toronto winter weather. The exhibition is to run February 20 until March 27, 2017.

This is a single-stage open international competition, welcoming artists, designers, architects and landscape architects to submit concept proposals for WinterStations' temporary artwork installations.


WinterStations 2017 theme: Catalyst : Converting one form or substance into another.

The finger that tips the first domino over. The flap of butterfly's wing that that sets off a chain of chaotic, unpredictable reactions. The theme for WinterStations’ third year is Catalyst. In 2017, this seems especially fitting in a time of an international political, social and cultural search for a better way forward. This winter, we ask artists and designers to unearth and intervene in such a way as to open up the landscape, as well as the minds of those who come to view and interact with the installations. We ask that proposals seek to disassemble and re-shape our notions of Toronto’s waterfront, with particular attention to the sand and materials strewn across the beach.

The installations this year will also be a catalyst for change: We would like to see less waste and more re-use. Designers should consider how their materials can be repurposed and recycled; we are excited to see proposals that evolve into future iterations, as on-going research and design projects. Entrants should address in their proposals a post-WinterStations’ life, including de-commissioning / removal and the potential opportunities they see for their design, such as possible new sites and / or new objects.

There is no limit to the size of the installation, but please note that included in the jurors’ instructions will be durability and constructability. Installations cannot exceed the total cost outlined.

The jury may choose to pick up to ten proposals, in order of choice. The WinterStations team will review these proposals to determine constructability. From this list we are fundraising to build up to six installations.

Winning teams will be provided with an allowance for travel and accommodation to spend time in Toronto during the installation and the activities surrounding the opening, February 17 - 20, 2017. In 2016, this included an opening party at The Gladstone Hotel. These events provide opportunities for citizens of Toronto to engage directly with the designers. Members of the design team should expect to meet with media to discuss their designs and ideas.

This year, local design and art institutions will be represented by The University of Toronto Daniels Faculty of Architecture Landscape and Design, Humber College School of Design and the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, with teams of students designing and fabricating installations for three stands.

The Lifeguard Stands

The lifeguard stands are essentially identical. They are sturdy steel pipe structures to which the installation is to be fastened. The method of fastening is up to each competitor, however it may not result in any damage to or modification of the structure. As this is the off-season for use, there are few restrictions on covering the stations; the three exceptions are: the shepherds’ hook, the lifesaving ring and any emergency signage.

Please assume minimal security during the event and the possibility of vandalism or simply wear and tear from the curious. There will be no power or utilities available. Proposals should indicate how materials may be disposed of or recycled at the end of the display period. Please designate on your entry if your design is specific to one particular station.

Selection and Approval Process

Once the Jury has met and determined a short list of entrants, a technical review of the finalists will be conducted in order to ensure the constructability of the projects. Those on the shortlist will be assigned a construction team lead by a project manager, chosen by the organizers to produce the appropriate working drawings in order to ensure that the construction is feasible and within budget. This collaboration will take place from December 2016 through to installation. The final winners will be announced January 8, 2016.

All construction will be carried out in Toronto by firms selected by the organizers and overseen by the entrant, the project manager and the construction team. The entrants chosen to participate in this competition agree to work to the schedule established by the organizers.

Competition Rules, Regulations and Submission Requirements

A design honorarium of $3,500.00 CAD will be paid to selected proposals.

Deadline for submissions is November 4, 2016.

For all competition rules, regulations and submission requirements please visit: