Disrupting Design

How a cozy cave brought people together to fend off winter on a frozen beach

Last winter, a secret fur-lined room inside an imposing sphere appeared on Toronto's east-end beach as an 'invitation to be with strangers' and persevere through winter.

Three artists built a secret fur-lined room on Toronto's east-end beach


Last winter, three Calgary artists — Caitlind Brown, Wyane Garrett, and Lane Shordee — built an imposing sphere on the windswept and frozen beach in Toronto's east end. Then they invited the public inside.

Built for the Winter Stations Design Competition, In the Belly of the Bear was constructed around one of the beach's life guard towers that sits unused during the winter. Inside the charred cedar sphere was a secret fur-lined room that invited people to connect to the space and share it with others.


In The Belly of the Bear is meant to be a space to physically fend off the cold and bleak physical nature of winter, but also its physiological effects — isolation, depression, and a narrowing of our social lives.

Wayne Garrett, Caitlind Brown, and Lane Shordee with their installation In the Belly of the Bear (CBC)

Caitlind Brown says that the installation is an "invitation to be with strangers, to be with other people, and to encounter these circumstances that are maybe just a little bit outside of what you would normally consider an everyday winter day,"


For Wayne Garrett, the project was a way to build strength as a community: "When you persevere through something adverse with other people that builds a stronger friendship and a stronger connection."

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