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Competition: Toronto Winter Stations 2017

An international design competition has been launched for a series of $10,000 CAD temporary winter installations on Toronto’s beaches (Deadline: 4 November)

Open to artists, designers, architects and landscape architects, the third ‘Winter Stations’ contest seeks proposals for temporary structures to entice visitors to area during winter.

The winning designs will be built between 20 February and 27 March 2017 on the Balmy, Kew and Ashbridges Bay beaches within The Beaches district of the Ontario capital.



Sling Swing by last year’s winner WMB Studio

According to the brief: ‘The theme for Winter Stations’ third year is Catalyst - especially fitting in this time of international, political, social and cultural search for a better way forward.

‘We ask that proposals seek to disassemble and re-shape our notions of Toronto’s waterfront, with particular attention to the sand and materials strewn across the beach.’

Stretching from Victoria Park Avenue to Coxwell Avenue – the district bordering Lake Ontario is popular with tourists, swimmers and volleyball players during the summer months but is less busy when cold weather arrives.

The structures, which must be able to withstand the rigours of the Canadian winter, will be fastened to existing metal lifeguard stands which are evenly spaced along the waterfronts.

Proposals may be any size but must be feasible within the $10,000 CAD construction budget which covers materials, labour and any taxes.



Winter Stations contest site

Participants should consider whether their installation could be relocated or its materials repurposed and recycled after the programme finishes.

Applications should include two A3-sized boards featuring a concept designs along with a 150-word explanation and a four A4 pages describing the team’s background and relevant design experience.

A shortlist of teams will be chosen by a jury which includes two of last year’s winners, the project founder, local design professionals and a novelist.

The winning teams – set to be announced on 21 November – will each be assigned project manager and local construction crew by the competition organisers RAW Architects, Ferris + Associates and Curio.

A $3,500 honorarium and a $1,500 travel and accommodation bursary will also be available to selected winning teams.

How to apply


The deadline for submissions is 4 November 11.59pm (EST)

Contact details


Visit the competition website for more information

Sauna ice bath case study: Q&A with James Fox

The partner at Fox Fernley Landscape Office discusses lessons learned designing a temporary sauna for last year’s Winter Stations competition



Sauna ice bath by FFLO

How did your sauna ice bath project transform visitors’ experience of Toronto’s beaches during winter?

We were in Toronto during the construction of the Sauna (and the other pavilions). The public found the construction process most engaging, and it was good to talk to them about the project as we built it. After we left we could see on Instagram how people where using the sauna. Some for steaming but most for sheltering from the wind - It was naturally hot inside even with the stove off because it was built like a greenhouse.

What issues are important when designing a temporary public structure for a wintry waterfront location?

In the end the need to feel warm and cosy on a beach is more powerful than the need to see something that looks cool. People respond to that.

Which material, structural and other design techniques are available to architects seeking an impressive outcome?

We found that the contractors had a great gift for improvisation and the Ad Hoc, but coupled with this a slight disregard for detail. If we were to design the project again with this in mind we would have made a more shaggy, baggy proposal. Less slick in intention.



Sauna ice bath by FFLO