Site Magazine launches design competition for 2017 celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial

As part of volume 37 of the Site Magazine and in conjunction with the 2017 celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial, the editors invite submissions to a juried competition that projects the theme of Future Legacy into Canada’s next 150 years.

The magazine is looking for design responses that take a position on the future history of a national project and offer perspectives on the role of legacy as a driving force in the creation of the nation. What parts of the past drive us into the future? What scales of time influence our view of the passage of history? What do we pick up and what do we leave behind?

The competition asks for a re-evaluation of the Canadian national project across multiple lines. Entries may consider various scales of site and time—addressing patterns of use and place from the scale of the human to the geological scale. Canada has many readings—entrants are encouraged to identify and articulate specific legacies for investigation, considering elements including history, memory, events, marks of passage, physical and ephemeral traces of the past in both the landscape and built environments, recurring themes, heritage, identifying terms, definitions of belonging, and sites of conflict and contestation. Entries may celebrate, critique, challenge, and reinvent those legacies through a design proposition for Canada’s future legacy.

Into this geographically, ecologically, and infrastructurally defined territory come questions of belonging, citizenship, and transit. Who gets to hold the identity of the nation going forward? How do cliché markers of national belonging fit into identities fractured and multiplied by displacements, generations, ideologies, and personal histories? Whose nation achieves the status of sovereign, of state? And how do the forms of sovereignty that emerged at the end of the 19th century change to meet the challenges of the 21st when between the two lies a period defined by colonial reorganization and schisms that erupted on regional, religious, ethnic, and linguistic lines? How do shifting nations affect the future prognosis of the nation state? If not a nation, what might we be?

As we re-think memory and history in terms of different scales and placements in time, we begin to see these relationships to the past as active forces, ones that determine the affective aspect of the nation. Set to the task of creating national feeling, memory begins to structure ideology, with consequences for the development and delineation of space and time in ways calculated to ascribe and remove power from individuals, groups, places, and narratives. Selected projects will address this malleable ground, offering future visions for Canada that challenge the idea of a static timeline for the nation, visions that intervene in the assumed causality of historical narratives.

The magazine encourages submissions that engage with the following themes, sites and their definitions and implications for Future Legacies:


What will be the conditions of arrival and departure on the scale of the individual or the national collective? What could happen to the spatial definitions of national belonging in the time of migration pressures and digital omnipresence? How will we think of future citizenship, and how will it intersect with multiple and contested versions of sovereign identity and territory? Will it become more local and voluntary or quite the contrary?


What are the defining signs of the past and future nation? How will we mark out spaces and times of mourning and celebration? Will we continue traditions or redefine them? Which ones will continue and which terminate? What will happen to current clichés of national identity? Which processes currently underway could define new national marks?


What currents and flows shape the future nation, both from outside and from within? How can these interdependencies shape new types of spatial relationships and landscapes? Can we talk not only about markets and resources, but about resourcefulness in the national context and thus new kinds of flows which might become powerful in the future?


What happens when we go big or small in our future visions? What do units of time and space look like held against different scales and measures? Should we think in utopian grand visions, the framework of the butterfly effect, or viral behaviour as we define our ideas on the future?

The magazine is interested in projects of regional variety and specificity, and encourages entrants to consider the site as flexible, contested, and temporal. Site—its definition, boundaries, and conditions—is subject to change as we project our vision forward, inventing futures and future pasts.


The competition welcomes new work that has been created as a response to this call. This competition is open to creatively-minded individuals or teams (amateurs or professionals), including artists, designers, landscape architects, architects, theorists, philosophers, planners, ecologists, historians, writers, poets, activists and nationalists, etc. The magazine encourages collaborative interdisciplinary teams and is interested in bringing together diverse points of view and visions related to the spatial manifestations of Canada’s future legacies.


Formats may include but are not limited to:

  • Images including photography, drawings, renderings, collages, etc.
  • Text submissions including manifestos, speculative policy, fictions, predictions, pamphlets, manuals, and other documents
  • Video
  • Proposal for installation or other site-specific project or object
  • Cartographic projects
  • Architectural and urban design proposals
  • Strategies

All submissions should include a cover letter including a 200 word description of the project and brief (100 word or less) biographies of any and all members of the submission team. Additional project materials should be restricted to the following: no more than (4) 8 1/2 x 11 pages detailing the project and including all relevant images and video files. All submissions must be submitted online.


The magazine is looking for responses that consider the historical perspective while offering a critical and imaginative look into the future. Proposals may present partial or comprehensive visions, but they should outline a specific response to the theme and engage with the spatial dimension of the questions outlined in the call. The magazine encourages creative use of different media and formats relevant to the presentation of a particular idea and collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches to the call. All submissions will be judged by a jury of leading Canadian thinkers, designers, and engaged citizens.


Awards will include a total of $3000 in prize money and all finalists will be published in a special spring/summer 2017 double issue of The Site Magazine.


February 12 2017: Submission deadline
March 12 2017: Announcement of winners
June 2017: Publication of finalists’ projects in a special double issue of The Site Magazine Volume 37: Future Legacies

For more information, please click here.