Winter Stations open international design competition for Toronto beachfront

Although the Beach neighbourhood of Toronto is a summer-long festival of colour and pageant, this is not true of the winter months. No place is this more evident than along the boardwalk of Toronto’s east-end beaches, where vacant utilitarian lifeguard stations stand out as symbols of public space beholden to weather. 

In an effort to infuse colour and vibrancy back into one of Toronto’s most underappreciated winterscapes, RAW Design, Ferris + Associates and Curio have teamed up to launch Winter Stations, an open international design competition, welcoming artists, designers, architects and landscape architects.

Competitors are asked to create temporary wintertime installations anchored to the lifeguard stands that inject colour, movement, humour and more into the landscape. The theme chosen for this year’s inaugural competition is “Warmth.” There is no limit to the size of the installation, but jurors will take durability and constructability into account. Judges include Toronto Star architecture and urban affairs critic Christopher Hume, Design Exchange President Shauna Levy, Sputnik Architects Principal Peter Hargraves, independent curator Catherine Dean, and Toronto City Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon.

Registration is now open and submissions are due December 5, 2014, with winners announced in early January 2015.

This year’s competition will focus on 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. On the beach between the Leuty Lifeguard Station and the Balmy Beach Club are five evenly spaced metal lifeguard stands. These utilitarian structures will be the armature or foundation for pieces of public art. The selected pieces will be temporary installations and need to be able to withstand the rigours of Toronto winter weather. Installations will be unveiled on February 16, 2015 and will remain until March 20, 2015.
Winning teams will spend time in Toronto during the last phase of construction and will participate in activities surrounding the opening. These events include an opening party at the Balmy Beach Club and a speaking engagement at Toronto’s Design Exchange in February, where the team’s entry and portfolio will be exhibited. Winter Stations sponsors include Streetcar Developments, Urban Capital, Rockport Group, City of Toronto, Waterfront Toronto and Ryerson University’s Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science, which will also be leading its own team in the competition.
Winter Stations details and submission guidelines are available at