8 art installations on Toronto beaches aim to draw people outside

Mayor says the temporary artworks are helping to make the city 'winter-friendly'

Posted: February 20, 2017
Last Updated: February 20, 2017

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Winning entries of an international design contest have transformed the winter waterfront of Toronto's Beach area. Here’s a look at the installations on a foggy morning, starting with BuoyBuoyBuoy by Dionisios Vriniotis, Rob Shostak, Dakota Wares-Tani, and Julie Forand of Toronto. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)
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The Beacon, created by Joao Araujo Sousa and Joanna Correia Silva of Porto, Portugal, is a wooden structure based on an archetypal lighthouse configuration. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)
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The Illusory, an installation by Humber College School of Media Studies & IT, School of Applied Technology, consists of reflective linear panels that mirror both the surrounding landscape and the viewer who is drawn into its circular structure. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)
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University of Waterloo architecture students created this towering, lopsided structure by stacking cages, many of them filled with plastic bottles. It's titled Flotsam and Jetsam. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)
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Designed by Studio Perch in Montreal, this work titled North suspends 41 fir trees in a way that upends your conception of a forest. Winter Stations will run until March 27, and the falling needles will create part of the intended effect. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)
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Viewers of the installation titled Collective Memory are invited to write down a personal memory and insert the paper into one of the recycled glass bottles that form the two translucent walls. It's the work of Mario Garcia of Barcelona and Andrea Govi of Milan. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)
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Midwinter Fire, created by the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto, appears deceptively simple. To feel its full warmth, you need to enter inside. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)
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The interior walls of Midwinter Fire reflect a garden of plants chosen for their winter colours. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)
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I See You Ashiyu, a quirky installation by Asuka Kono and Rachel Salmela of Toronto transforms a lifeguard station into a Japanese-style wood-fired hot spring, complete with foot bath. (Bruce Reeve/CBC)

Toronto Mayor John Tory officially launched eight temporary art works on Monday that transform lifeguard stations on beaches in the city's east end into playful structures.

The Winter Stations Design Competition, now in its third year, features art installations that celebrate the city's winter waterfront landscape. Hundreds of people flocked to the beach for the official opening on Family Day.


Tory said the Winter Stations are a "great thing" for Toronto because they give residents a reason to go to the beach in the winter. The art installations are helping to make Toronto "winter friendly," he said.

'The Beacon' was designed by Joao Araujo Sousa and Joanna Correia Silva from Porto, Portugal. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

The mayor said Toronto is a great city because of its artists and the Winter Stations are proof of that vibrancy.

"This celebrates artists from here and from abroad," he said. "It allows part of the soul of the city to come out."

He said the installations are bringing people together and when people talk about Toronto being a liveable city, they are referring in part to the arts. 

"We embrace artists. They allow our city to express itself. They allow us to celebrate things like this. They even allow us to be happy outside in the winter looking at creativity."

A Toronto resident smiles in front of 'BuoyBuoyBuoy,' designed by Dionisios Vriniotis, Rob Shostak, Dakota Wares-Tani and Julie Forand from Toronto. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Five of the designs come from international and local artists, designers and architects, selected out of hundreds of submissions. The other three are installations from students at the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo and Humber College.

Rob Shostak, one of the creators of an installation titled BuoyBuoyBuoy, told CBC Toronto the piece is designed to spark childhood memories.

He said he means specifically "their memories of water, summer camp as a kid, swimming lessons as a child, going on vacation."

Joao Araujo Sousa, one of the creators of The Beacon, came from Portugal to take part. His cone-shaped piece projects a ray of light into the sky at night. 

"The inspiration behind it is that of a lighthouse at the beach," he said.

Hundreds of people flocked to the beach in Toronto's east end for the official opening of the Winter Stations. Mayor John Tory said the temporary art works are helping to make the city 'winter friendly.' (Martin Trainor/CBC)

The theme for the third year is "catalyst," with artists and designers asked to consider their submission as a catalyst for change and to think about how materials may be reused in future artworks.

The designers and builders of the art installation entitled 'Midwinter Fire.' It was designed by the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Lisa Rochon, design jury chair for Winter Stations, said in a recent news release that the artworks are "gutsy" and "lyrical."

"Visitors will be able to touch and feel their way along the beach, experiencing luminous shelter from the wind, warming waters for their feet, and designs that celebrate the Canadian nation of immigrants," she said.

Founded by RAW Design, Ferris and Associates, and Curio, the Winter Stations Design Competition began as a way of using design to inspire Toronto residents to visit the beach in the winter.  

The Winter Stations will be open to the public starting Family Day and can be seen until March 27.

With files from Greg Ross