CANstruction Toronto collects 57,527 lbs of food donations to support Daily Bread Food Bank

Architecture 49’s Get Crackin’ won the awards for Best in Show and Structural Ingenuity at the 21st CANstruction event in Toronto.


The shelves at Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank are restocked, thanks to the thousands of donations collected in the 21st CANstruction® build. In all, 57,527 pounds of donated non-perishable food were sculpted into 19 audacious, edible statues all in an effort to support Toronto’s hunger gap. 

CANstruction® Toronto is one of the largest private donors to the Daily Bread Food Bank through an annual contest that challenges architectural and engineering firms to create structures from full cans of food that are then donated to the food bank. This was the first year of the event since it was put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

The donations came as local food banks struggle to keep up with unprecedented demand from a record number of Canadians needing help in the face of rising prices. 

“Creativity, innovation and corporate social responsibility come together at CANstruction®,” says Neil Hetherington, CEO, Daily Bread Food Bank. “Through this incredible initiative, teams involved are not only helping to provide much needed food donations for families facing hunger, but also raising awareness about food insecurity, and having a direct impact in our community.” 

Pre-pandemic, Daily Bread Food Bank saw about 65,000 client visits each month. That number has now quadrupled with a record high of nearly 270,000 client visits in March 2023. 

“We were excited for the design and construction community to be able to come together again to use our skills to fight hunger in our city,” says Christina Facey, co-chair of CANstruction® Toronto. “This friendly competition not only shines a light on the incredible creativity in our industry, it also casts a spotlight on the fact that hunger is a reality for many people right now.” 

Over the last 20 years, the architecture, engineering, construction and design industry in Toronto has raised over 1,000,000 pounds of food donations through the annual competition. In 2019, CANstruction® teams donated 68,785 lbs of shelf-stable food to Daily Bread, which was distributed to its member agencies’ meal programs and community-based food banks. Now, the need is greater than ever. Food bank visits across Toronto increased by nearly 42 per cent in 2022 compared to the year prior. This level of growth is unprecedented. 

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 build took place on May 15th. The completed “Canstructures” were judged by a jury and winners were announced at an evening reception on May 16th. 

From its humble beginnings in 1992, CANstruction® has grown to become the largest food drive in the world, with teams competing in 200 cities and tens of millions of pounds of food donated. 

A jury including Sebastien Centner (Founder and Creative Director, Eatertainment), Brooke Guzar (CEO, Blackwell Structural Engineers), Elsa Lam (Editor, Canadian Architect Magazine), Ajon Moriyama (Principal, Ajon Moriyama Architect) and Pascal Paquette (Visual and Experiential Artist) selected the following designs to receive awards:


Best Original Design & Structural Ingenuity

Architecture49 Inc.

Get Crackin! 


Best Use of Labels 

KPMB Architects 

Nature vs. Nurture 


Best Meal 

Diamond Schmitt Architects 

Be Kind and Feed your Neighbours 


Honourable Mention 

BDP Quadrangle 

Healthy Meal 


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


Other entries in this year’s competition included:

• Adamson Associates Architects, Tower of Sauron 


• ARCADIS IBI GROUP, Our bunny cares about hunger 


• Candevcon East Limited, Home is Where the Heart is 


• Canadian Turner Construction Company, Seize the opporTUNAty to feed the hungry 


• Echologics, Trashed Treasure 


• Grounded Engineering Inc., Next Stop… Donation Station 


• Graham Construction and Zeidler Architecture, Azadi (Liberty) Tower 


• HOK & WSP Canada Inc., Beyond the Event Horizon 


• LEA Consulting Ltd. + CS&P Architects, It’s a-me, CANrio! 


• NORR, Food for Thought 




• RJC Engineers, CAN you SEA the big picture? Let’s take a bite out of hunger! 


• TPL Lighting + Design Agency, Made in CANada 


• Turner Fleischer Architects Inc., One Can 


• WZMH Architects, Layers of Emotions 


CANstruction® Toronto’s 2023 Sponsors include:

Gold Sponsors: Smith + Andersen Consulting Engineers, Carpenters Union Local 27, Elevate, Design Exchange, Calador Communications 

Silver Sponsors: Ontario Association of Architects, Construction Specifications Canada, DRE Industries, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (Ontario Chapter), Canadian Association of Women in Construction 

Bronze Sponsors: Speciifx, Brampton Brick 

The event was hosted by Cadillac Fairview, includes contributions from Astley-Gilbert Reproductions, Printing and Aaron Borchardt, Photographer, and is organized by SDA Canada.