Canstruction returns to Toronto with 50,000 pounds of food transformed into edible statues

Visitors to Toronto’s financial district may be wondering why there’s an avocado made out of canned fish around the corner from the Energizer Bunny built from canned chili tuna in the lobby of the TD Centre. They’re just two of eighteen structures on display this week, as teams of professional designers, architects, engineers and students took part in Toronto’s 18th Annual Canstruction Toronto Competition.

In all, 50,000 pounds of donated non-­perishable food were sculpted into audacious, edible statues all in an effort to fill Toronto’s hunger gap. “Canstruction is a unique food drive and a way for the design community to collaborate creatively while giving back to our community,” says Helen Kabriel, co-­chair of Canstruction Toronto. “We not only make a meaningful contribution to Daily Bread Food Bank, but the structures also provoke a city-­wide discussion on hunger and the challenges facing Toronto.”

The “Canstructures” are on display for public viewing in the lobbies of the TD Bank, TD North and Ernst & Young towers at 66 Wellington Street West until May 19th, before being disassembled and donated to Daily Bread Food Bank, the city’s largest distributor of food to food banks and meal programs.

“Canstruction is a terrific, very creative way to get people thinking and talking about hunger in our city, and it fills our shelves with food during a slow time for donations, so it’s a complete win-­win,” said Gail Nyberg, executive director of Daily Bread Food Bank.

In 2016, Canstruction accounted for 56 per cent of public donations in May. The Canstruction competition recognizes a variety of factors, not just design aesthetics. The “Best Use of Labels” award focuses on creative graphic possibilities, the “Best Meal” award considers the variety and quality of the food donated, and “Structural Ingenuity” considers the complexity of the design. Canstruction Toronto will also have a “People’s Choice Award”, encouraging those passing through the TD Towers and others online to vote by liking a picture of their favourite sculpture on Facebook through the Canstruction Toronto page. The contest closes on May 20th at midnight and can be found at

Canstruction Toronto build took place from 6 p.m. on May 15th to 1 a.m. on May 16th. The completed “Canstructures” were judged anonymously by a jury on May 16th and winners were announced at an evening reception held at the Design Exchange with Master of Ceremonies Francis D’Souza, Anchor and Senior Editorial Manager at CityNews.

Canstruction Toronto 2017 winning “Canstructures”

Best Original Design
Aercoustics Engineering Limited
BeaCAN of Hope

Structural Ingenuity
Blackwell Structural Engineers
Hunger: Quite the Pickle!

Best Use of Labels
Turner Fleischer Architects Inc.
Can you see through the looking glass?

Best Meal
Alert: Hunger is in your neighbourhood

Most Cans
IBI Group
We can unite

Since the event started in Toronto in 1999, Canstruction Toronto has donated close to one million pounds of food to Daily Bread Food Bank.