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Hands up! Large-scale art installations warm up Toronto's winter waterfront

We want to nudge Torontonians back outside and inspire them to keep engaging with the city
– Roland Rom Colthoff, Winter Stations co-founder

Toronto's urban waterfront has been transformed with the temporary addition of five mysterious installations in the parks, bridges and squares along Queens Quay.

The large works of public art, dubbed ‘Ice Breakers,’ have been added to animate the city’s public areas during the cold winter months. The initiative is a collaboration between community group Waterfront BIA and the annual Winter Stations competition – which creates installations in the lifeguard posts along Toronto’s east end beaches.

“Design is a powerful motivator,” said Roland Rom Colthoff, principle of local practice RAW design and a Winter Stations co-founder. “The Waterfront is one of Toronto’s busiest communities in the summertime but, like the beach, it can be under-appreciated as temperatures drop.

“We want to nudge Torontonians back outside and inspire them to keep engaging with the city.”

The Ice Breakers, which will be on display till the end of the month, include a giant pair of golden hands and a shimmering diamond-inspired structure. The pieces are inspired by the commercial history of the harbour and “the power of bringing strangers together and sparking dialogue.”

"There is a slow pace and quiet serenity that attracts people down to this part of the city and we wanted to animate that experience with public art,” said Carol Jolly, executive director of the Waterfront BIA. “We’re delighted that the installations have already attracted much positive attention and we look forward to welcoming more visitors over the coming weeks.”

The five installations are:

‘Tailored Twins’ by Ferris + Associates, Peter Street Basin

Tailored Twins

“A set of faceted wooden hands rise three metres from the lookouts at the Peter Street Basin. Their gold-mirror palms bath the basin in a warm sun-like glow.”

‘Incognito’ by Jaspal Riyait and Curio Art Consultancy, Rees Street Parkette

Incognito

“Using architectural massing models as the inspiration for the structures, ‘Incognito’ explores what happens when you make the City’s architectural interventions invisible. Adopting the same camouflaging technology used by warships, the wintery environment will render the installation truly incognito, shaping the public’s interaction with the piece.”

‘Leeward Fleet’ by RAW, Canada Square, Harbourfront Centre

Leeward Fleet

“Celebrating Toronto’s rich harbour history, design studio RAW introduces three pivoting structures to Canada Square. Inspired by ice and sailboat technology, enamel masts hold up brightly coloured sails, each of which serve as sculptural references to the days prior to ferry transportation.”

‘ICEBOX’ by Polymetis, HTO Park

ICEBOX

“The Canadian winter is a landscape of contrasts: between empty blank whiteness and things not fully shrouded in snow and ice; between the (more-or-less) static physical world and the temporal surfaces of frozen water that accumulate and dissipate over it; between being inside, in the warmth, and being outside, in the cold. 'ICEBOX' seeks to manifest these contrasts and provide space for introspection, social interaction, and shared appreciation of winter.”

‘Winter Diamonds’ by Platant, Music Garden East

Winter Diamonds

“The shimmering lights emitted from 'White Diamonds' attract contemplation of these fragile, yet solid structures. The viewer is invited to engage with a poetic and dreamy focal point, in a vast winter landscape.”

Toronto  Ice Breakers  Winter Stations  Raw Design  public art  architecture 
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Toronto's urban waterfront has been transformed with the temporary addition of five mysterious installations in the parks, bridges and squares along Queens Quay. The large works of public art, dubbed ‘Ice Breakers,’ have been added to animate the city’s public areas during the cold winter months. The initiative is a collaboration between community group Waterfront BIA and the annual Winter Stations competition – which creates installations in the lifeguard posts
CLD,VAT,AAC,ARC,DES
Tailored Twins by Ferris + Associates, Peter Street Basin / Andy Barrow
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