BENCHmark 2016 Competition: Call for Proposals

The Winnipeg Trails Association and Storefront Manitoba invite designers to submit proposals for the design of a permanent bench along the Bishop Grandin Trail – Winnipeg’s longest multi-use trail. They are looking for designers to help make / celebrate places that embody physical literacy, add refinement to the art of traveling and provides a place to sit, read, discuss and exchange.

They are asking designers to put their skills to work and challenge the concept of a ‘common’ bench. The bench could be so many things… minimal or complicated, one-of-a-kind or modular, tactile, kinetic or static, innovative, moving or provocative, living, site specific or universal, active or passive, or fun…


The Winnipeg Trails Association is a coalition of volunteer trail builders and trail users who are focused on accelerating trail development and connectivity in Winnipeg. The association consists of over 40+ organizations and partners who are promoting the use and development of recreational and commuter trails for the benefit and enjoyment of all Manitobans and visitors to the province.

StorefrontMB was established in 2011 to foster Design Culture in Manitoba. Since its inception, StorefrontMB has coordinated a host of events, including: forums, film series, the annual Winnipeg Design Festival, Winnipeg Commerce Design Competition, the Architecture Fringe Festival, Table for 1200, as well as publishing two books on Manitoba Architecture. The organization is overseen by a board of directors that draws from all spatial disciplines: Landscape, Architecture, Interiors and Planners.


Bishop Grandin Trail is Winnipeg’s longest multi-use trail, spanning just over 12 km, and serving as an active transportation spine for south Winnipeg. Because the trail crosses over the Red River – it is often referred to as the Bishop Grandin Trail East (7 km East of the Red River) and Bishop Grandin Trail West (5 km West of the Red River). Bishop Grandin Trail West is also part of the Trans Canada Trail. The trail travels on top of a high berm offering a panoramic view of south Winnipeg, passes alongside the residential developments of Bridgwater Forest and Whyte Ridge, alongside south Winnipeg’s ‘big box’ shopping developments and via the McGillivray Trail which connects into the FortWhyte Alive nature centre.

Two potential bench locations have been identified along the trail system and the design teams are to select one of the sites for their bench installation:

SITE 1 – Crampton’s / Bridgwater Forest site

Site 1, is located along the Bishop Grandin Trail W at the corner of Bishop Grandin Blvd and Waverley Street, adjacent to Crampton’s Market. Crampton’s Market is a seasonal retailer open during the summer months from May to October. They sell local produce and organic meats and have been in business since 1997 (

Currently there are bike racks located along the trail in which many cyclists use for their grocery trips to Crampton’s Market. The preferred location for the future bench would be adjacent to these bike racks in an existing grassed area. Note that the addition of a concrete / asphalt pad at this location is not the responsibility / cost of the designer, please note in your submission if this would be required for your bench installation.

With the new housing development, Bridgwater Forest located south of the trail, many new residents will be making their way onto the trail system by walking, running, cycling, rollerblading and more.

Site 1
Site 1
SITE 2 – Agassiz site

Site 2, east of the Crampton’s / Bridgwater Forest Site and east of Pembina Highway. It is bordered by Bishop Grandin Blvd to the North, Glengarry Park and the Red River to the East and a residential neighborhood to the south (Agassiz community). This site is situated on a large hill that provides a diverse panoramic view: automobile movement, commercial buildings, residential and pedestrians. There is an existing asphalt pad at this location.

Site 2
Site 2

The Competition Jury is composed of the following individuals:
Christina Harris [Landscape Architect, The City of Winnipeg]
Thom Fougere [Owner, Thom Fougere Studio]
Peter Sampson [Owner, PSA Studios]
Seema Goel [Artist]

alongside Co-Curators of Benchmark 2016:
Anders Swanson [Curator, BENCHmark 2016; Coordinator / Manager, Winnipeg Trails Association]
Suzy Melo [Curator, BENCHmark 2016; Board Member, StorefrontMB; Landscape Architect, ft3]

Post-selection Technical Advisors:
Andy Farrer & Kyle Lucyk [ The City of Winnipeg ]


A final budget for each bench will be subject to funding. The breakdown is as follows:

Team / Artist Fees: $1,500
Bench Fabrication & Installation: $5,000
Total Budget: $6,500

The winning entrants will manage and oversee the construction of the bench in consultation with the [ Benchmark ] 2016 curators. Installation of the benches will be executed by the designers and paid for from the Total Budget. In addition, up to $1,500 will be provided to help offset transport and accommodation costs for each winning team from outside the province of Manitoba. Out-of-province teams are encouraged to seek travel grants from their own jurisdictions to make up the difference. Teams are encouraged to source additional funding or in-kind contributions for their installation if actual costs exceed the Total Budget.


Winning proposals will be selected by the jury based on:
• Creativity, originality, clarity, durability, provisions for barrier-free access;
• Ease of fabrication and maintenance;
• Durability and ecologically conscious;
• Budget and potential for public engagement.

The selected benches will be announced in July 2016 on the Storefront Manitoba website and to local / international media. All participants will receive the results of the competition by email.


This Call for Submissions is open to teams and individuals consisting of designers, architects, landscape architects, and / or artists. Individuals may be students, interns, or practitioners. Multiple submissions are permitted.


The deadline to submit proposals electronically is WEDNESDAY JULY 6, 2016 at 4pm (Central Time). Applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

For further Information contact: Anders Swanson – Winnipeg Trails Association