Toronto’s Winter Stations competition flooded with submissions from around the world

Sometimes Torontonians need to be prodded into heading outdoors during the winter months. That’s why RAW Design, Ferris + Associates and Curio teamed up to launch Winter Stations, an open international design competition inviting artists, designers, architects and landscape architects to re-image one of Toronto’s most underappreciated winterscapes.

The premise for Winter Stations is straightforward; using the theme of warmth as a guide, design a way to turn the utilitarian lifeguard stations along Toronto’s east beaches into whimsical pieces of wintertime public art. After launching the competition in October, the national and international design community responded in droves, with nearly 200 submissions from places as far off as China, Japan, Russia, Holland, Spain and the UK.

“The goal with winter stations is to infuse colour and vibrancy back into the beach community, which is so lively in the summer months, but tends to slow down come winter,” says Roland Rom Colthoff, Principal of RAW Design.

The winning submissions will be announced on January 9, 2015. In the meantime, entries have been made public on as a way of honouring the designers who competed in this inaugural competition.

“I was so impressed with the creativity and hard work demonstrated by all 196 entries. This project has the potential to transform the beach during the winter and I am thrilled to be a part of it,” says Mary Margaret McMahon, Ward Councillor for the City of Toronto, and one of the competition’s five jurors.

“The submissions were all extraordinarily well thought out, considered and rational. Kudos to the jury for having the courage to narrow the choices down to four. The jurors’ choices are currently being vetted for constructability with the winners to be announced in the New Year,” says Ted Merrick of Ferris + Associates.

The public and media are invited to visit over the holidays and peruse 196 examples of designer ingenuity. See if you can spot the four submissions that made the jury’s final cut.

Along with McMahon, the jury included Toronto Star Architecture and Urban Affairs critic Christopher Hume, Design Exchange President Shauna Levy, Sputnik Architects Principal Peter Hargrave, and independent curator Catherine Dean.

The winning submissions will be built in the new year along Kew, Scarborough and Balmy Beaches in the heart of the Beach community, broadly located south of Queen Street East, between Woodbine and Victoria Park Avenues. Installations will debut February 16, 2015 and stay there until March 20, 2015.