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Torontonians braved the city's blustery beaches on Family Day for wintertime art festival.

February 18, 2016 (Toronto) –  Lake Ontario's blustery shores were a buzz with crowds on Family Day at the grand unveiling of this year's Winter Stations.

“It was great to see so many people at the launch of Winter Stations. The power of public engagement and how art and design are able to capture the public's imagination inspired all those that ventured down to the Beaches on one of the coldest days of the year,” said Christopher Wein, President of Great Gulf, one of Winter Stations' platinum sponsors. “Art enthusiasts and the art installations brought Toronto's winter waterfront landscape to life.”

Now in it's second year, Toronto's Winter Stations Design Competition selected its four winning designs from 378 submissions. These four installations were joined by three student-led designs from participating schools. Built around the beaches' lifeguard stations, each interactive structure invited both adults and children to touch, climb and play with the whimsical pieces of art.

In addition, a brand new beach community fire place, donated by Diamante Developments and designed by renowned Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal was also unveiled in a special ceremony that included a blessing from Cardinal himself.  

Founded by RAW Design, Ferris + Associates and Curio, Winter Stations Design Competition's uses design to inspire Torontonians back outside.  

"Moving in to year two, we could not be more impressed with the calibre of design and dedication from each team," says Roland Rom Colthoff, founder of RAW Design. "Each installation brings its own unique story to the beach, demonstrating that, no matter what the temperature, design draws the crowds."
In the Belly of a Bear by Caitlind r.c Brown, Wayne Garrett and Lane Shordee. Calgary, Canada
Photo credit: Khristel Stecher

Juxtaposing a dark, charred aesthetic against the bright, stark landscape, In the Belly of a Bear invites the public to climb up a wooden ladder into a domed interior lined densely in thick, warm fur. Within this cozy, warm space, visitors can find reprieve from the cold outside or gaze out the large round window pointing towards the lake. A truly collaborative effort, In the Belly of a Bear was envisioned by a team of three Calgary-based artists, each bringing a distinct discipline to the project.
Floating Ropes by MUDO (Elodie Doukhan and Nicolas Mussche). Montreal, Canada
Photo credit: Khristel Stecher
Creating a highly sensory experience, Floating Ropes appears as a suspended cube of ropes, offering a playful and porous matrice into which visitors take shelter. At the centre of the multilayered rope forest, the lifeguard chair provides the perfect spot for the public to view the lake from a unique perspective. Based in Montreal, architecture collective MUDO bring a handcrafted approach to their work - ranging from microarchitecture to urban design.
Sauna by FFLO (Claire Furnley and James Fox), Kent, UK 
Photo credit: Khristel Stecher
Inviting the public to embrace this year's Freeze/Thaw theme, Sauna is a completely immersive art installation bringing heat to the blustery lakeshore. Built from timber, the interior is comprised of tiered seating, the higher the hotter. Meanwhile its transparent exterior walls allow walkers by to get glimpse of thawing bathers within, with solar powered lights illuminating the structure at night. The design was submitted by FFLO, a UK-based practice with a comprehensive background in landscape architecture. 
Flow by Team Secret (Calvin Fung and Victor Huynh). Toronto, Canada
Photo credit: Khristel Stecher
Capturing the transitionary moment between freeze and thaw, Flow re-imagines a single ice crystal as a 3D star-shaped module digitally fabricated through slot-fitting wood connections. While capable of crystallizing into a solid state, the material is able to be easily reconfigured, like a liquid, due to the system's loose bonds. Submitted by graduate students Calvin Fung and Victor Huynh, Flow is a reflection of the duo's interdisciplinary backgrounds. 

Building upon last year's participation from Ryerson, 2016 saw teams from three schools submitting design concepts; Ryerson University’s Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Sciences, Landscape and Design, OCAD University’s School of Environmental Design and Laurentian University's Faculty of Science, Engineering and Architecture.
Lithoform by Ryerson. Toronto, Ontario
Photo credit: Khristel Stecher
Project team: Remi Carreiro, Aris Peci and Vincent Hui, Associate Professor, Ryerson University 

Inspired by the natural formations formed by frost in the outer layer of earth, or Lithosphere, Lithoform aims to create a reprieve from the harsh winter winds. The structure's cleverly designed fissures create a polychromatic cavern of filtered light around the lifeguard station.
The Steam Canoe by OCADU. Toronto, Ontario
Photo credit: OCADU
Project team: Curtis Ho, Jungyun Lee, Monifa Onca Charles, Reila Park, Hamid Shahi, Lambert St‐Cyr, Jaewon Kim, Jason Wong and Mark Tholen, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental Design, OCADU

Composed of wood panels, OCADU’s design resembles that of an upside down canoe, creating an interior dome for the public to take shelter. Evacuated solar tubes placed at the rear of the structure are designed to turn snow to steam, creating a halo of fog emerging from within this ‘steam canoe’. 
Aurora Borealis by Laurentian University. Sudbury, Ontario.
Photo credit: Khristel Stecher
Project team: Chris Baziw, Ra'anaa Brown, Trevor D'Orazio, Andrew Harkness, Matthew Hunter, Danielle Kastelein and Terrance Galvin, Director of Architecture, Laurentian University

Made from sewn fabric, LED lights and a welded aluminium frame, Aurora is an kinetic sculpture that hovers above the lifeguard station like a spinning chandelier. As the visitor approaches and touches the illuminated tubes, they respond to body heat by changing colour. 
The beach's brand new community fire place, designed by renowned Canadian Architect Douglas Cardinal, shielded the crowd from Lake Ontario's blustery winds. Photo credit: Khristel Stecher
"The fire space is defined by a sinuous curved wall that grows out of the ground and wraps around the fire, blanketing the people around the fire and protecting them from the wind," says Cardinal. "The people sitting with their backs towards the wall can enjoy the view of the beach as well. The wall’s curve is symbolic of nature; the curves found in the land and the water. The charred cedar finish of the wall connects the wall to the fire."

All seven installations and the firepit are located along Toronto's east beaches, broadly located south of Queen Street East, between Woodbine and Victoria Park Avenues. They will stay open to the public until March 20, 2015.

Winter Stations is a privately funded design competition, thrown in partnership with the City of Toronto. Platinum Sponsors include the Ontario Association of Architects, Great Gulf and Diamante Development. Gold and Silver Sponsors include: Rockport Group, The Daniels Group, Demirov Group, Urban Capital, Fieldgate Homes, Marlin Spring, Ontario Association of Landscape Architects, Bousfields Inc., Bridging Finance, Grace Real Estate and the Design Exchange.

Winter Stations partners include the Gladstone Hotel and Scott Shields Architects.
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Media Contact                                                                                                     
Kim Graham & Associates – kg&a                                                                  

Vakis Boutsalis

Rebecca Eyres

Roland Rom Colthoff, RAW Design
Justin Ridgeway, Curio 
Ted Merrick, Ferris + Associates

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