Toronto’s 14th annual Canstruction helps to fill the hunger gap

Built with 52,200 pounds of canned goods, a collection of oversized sculptures were recently on display in Toronto’s financial district. On June 3, 2013, teams of professional designers, architects, engineers and students took part in Toronto’s 14th  Annual Canstruction Competition, donating their time, talent and 50,000 cans of canned food to build clever and edible structures, all destined to fill Toronto’s hunger gap.

“One of the most unique food drives in the world, Canstruction is a fun, visual way for the architecture and engineering industry to pull together and give back to the communities they build in,” says Helen Kabriel, co-chair of Canstruction Toronto. “It’s also a creative way to raise public awareness about the challenges of hunger in the city.”

The “canstructures” were on display for public viewing in the lobbies of the TD Bank, Ernst & Young, Royal Trust, and Canadian Pacific towers at 77 King Street West until June 8th, at which time they were disassembled and donated to Daily Bread Food Bank, the city’s largest food bank.

“Beyond impressive structures and creative designs, there’s this underlying message to the ‘canstructures’ that adds another layer of impact for people who walk by,” says Gail Nyberg, executive director of Daily Bread Food Bank.

The Canstruction competition recognizes a variety of factors, not just design aesthetics. For example, the “Best Use of Labels” award focuses on creative graphic possibilities, the “Best Meal” award considers the variety and quality of the fare, and “Structural Ingenuity” considers the complexity of the design.

The Jurors’ Favourite Award went to Turner Fleischer Architects Inc. for “TWO CANS Are Better Than One” while Structural Ingenuity went to the BA Consulting Group for “Hungry Humpty.” Best Meal recognized GHD’s “The Seasons Change, But the Need Remains” and the Best Use of Labels went to Hatch Mott MacDonald for “CARE-ousel of Hope.” Honourable Mentions distinguished “Hunger is No Game!” by EXP Services Inc. and “CAN See No Hunger” by AECOM.

Toronto is a Canstruction leader – the city’s last event raised over 85,000 pounds of food for the Daily Bread Food Bank, ranking in second place among the 200 cities worldwide that participated. Since the event started in Toronto in 1999, it has donated more than 680,000 pounds of food – enough to feed 28,000 people.

For the first time, Canstruction Toronto has moved from the fall to late spring. While the lead-up to Christmas is typically a high-donation time for food banks, as the weather gets nicer, the contributions decline. Canstruction Toronto is helping fill that gap.

“Many people don’t realize how close hunger is to them. It could be a neighbour, a coworker, a student in a child’s classroom and the need is consistently high throughout the year,” says Nyberg.

The participants for 2013 Canstruction Toronto is as follows: AECOM, Arup Canada Inc., BA Consulting Group, CORE Architects, Delcan Corporation, Diamond Schmitt Architects/Blackwell, Bowick Partnership, EXP Services Inc., GHD, Hatch, Hatch Mott MacDonald, HDR Architecture, Petroff Partnership Architects/ARK, Quadrangle Architects Limited, R.V. Anderson Associates Limited, Ryerson University Department of Architectural Science, Stephenson Engineering Ltd., TMIG | The Municipal Infrastructure Group Ltd., and Turner Fleischer Architects Inc.

The jury was comprised of:  Eb Zeidler, senior partner emeritus at Zeidler Partnership Architects; Edward Keenan, senior editor at The Grid magazine; Mani Mani, founder of Fishtnk Design Factory; Adrian Niman, founder and executive chef of The Food Dudes; and Barry Steinberg, Chief Executive Officer of Consulting Engineers of Ontario.

This year’s Canstruction Toronto build took place from 6:00pm on June 3rd to 1:00am on June 4th  in the lobbies of the TD Bank, Ernst & Young, Royal Trust and Canadian Pacific towers. The completed and anonymous “canstructures” were judged by a jury on June 4th and winners were announced at an evening reception held at the Design Exchange, with Master of Ceremonies Francis D’Souza, reporter and anchor at CityNews.

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