Call For Entries: Benchmark Design Competition

Storefront Manitoba and the Winnipeg Trails Association invites individuals and groups around the world to submit a design that will challenge and transform the idea of the ‘common’ bench and create landmarks along Winnipeg’s trail systems.

Seesaw. Photo Credit: Jeong Choi Works

The Benchmark design competition will result in two permanent installations in downtown Winnipeg and Pinawa, Manitoba, which will be unveiled in July 2020.

“Trails Manitoba is really excited to support the Benchmark initiative. This being the first time the competition has selected a site outside of the City of Winnipeg. The Great Trail has a diverse network of experiences and we are happy to bring art and design interventions to the beautiful backdrop of the Boreal Forest and Pinawa Community. Benchmark will become an important destination and amenity on the Pinawa trail,” said Darcy Granove, Trails Manitoba.

Wall Chair. Photo Credit: Stationpoint Photographic

The downtown Winnipeg site is located on Treaty 1 land, along Graham Avenue, between Edmonton St. and Kennedy St. in a highly traveled pedestrian and transit corridor. The concrete sidewalk and precast unit pavers is shaded for the majority of the day — except for the late afternoon — due to the surrounding building orientation.

Key landmarks surrounding the site are: Portage Place Mall to the North, Bell MTS Place, True North Square & Hargrave St. Market and the MB Hydro Place to the East, RBC Convention Centre and the MB Legislative Building to the South and Hudson’s Bay, Winnipeg Art Gallery and the University of Winnipeg to the West.

Pinawa, Manitoba is located on Treaty 3 land. The 28.43 km long Pinawa Trail runs through Métis and Anishinabewaki territory, on its winding journey from Pinawa Dam Provincial Heritage Park to the Seven Sisters Generating Station.

Maintained by the Pinawa Trails Association and The Friends of The Ironwood Trail, the Pinawa Trail traverses scenery of the wetlands, granite outcrops, and trembling aspens that characterize the Lake of the Woods Ecoregion.

Along the trail lies the Pinawa Suspension Bridge. The 1m wide suspension bridge spans the 54m width of the Pinawa Channel, offering a view of the channel’s popular summer fishing and tubing recreation. The bridge also acts as a primary connection between the local hiking loop and The Great Trail, featuring a covered picnic shelter displaying the brass plaques honouring all the bridge sponsors at its western end.

The locations of the installations will be determined following award, in coordination with the design teams. The deadline for submissions is February 20, 2020.

For more information on Benchmark, visit: