Here’s what this year’s Winter Stations on Toronto’s beaches look like

Toronto’s beaches can be positively hostile environments in the winter, but last weekend’s Chinook-like weather softened the grand opening of this year’s Winter Stations designs.

Along Kew, Ashbridges and Balmy Beaches, eight teams unveiled their winning designs for the third annual Winter Stations competition. It’s an international design contest that challenges artists to create a temporary installation “to celebrate Toronto’s winter waterfront,” inspired by the lifeguard stands that line the beach.

On Family Day (Feb. 20), Torontonians took advantage of the warm weather to see the designs up close. Here they are:

BuoyBuoyBuoy by Dionisios Vriniotis, Rob Shostak, Dakota Wares-Tani, Julie Foran (Toronto)

This kinetic piece, which moves like a series of buoys on the water, enfolds the beach’s lifeguard station with its cloud-like, shimmering pieces.

North by studio PERCH (Montreal)

You have to inhale this piece to fully appreciate the suspended fir trees, evocative of a forest that may have lived nearby the site at one time.

I See You Ashiyu by Asuka Kono and Rachel Salmela (Toronto)

This piece is the closest you’ll get to experiencing summer during Toronto’s winter at the Beaches. Inspired by a Japanese hot spring, dip your toes in warm water as you sit in the cold air.

Collective Memory by Mario García (Barcelona) and Andrea Govi (Milan)

Collective Memory is inspired by a statistic: by 2031, half of the Canadian population over the age of 15 will be the child of a new Canadian or born in another country. Recycled bottles, each carrying metaphorical lost messages, are used to create a kind of wall or border between the beach and the city.

The Beacon by Joao Araujo Sousa and Joanna Correia Silva (Porto)

The Beacon rises above the beach like a Medieval lighthouse, with alluring holes cut into the side to peek through. The site will host a temporary drop-off centre for food and clothing donations.

Flotsam and Jetsam by University of Waterloo (Waterloo)

From afar, it looks like a giant rabbit or friendly visitor. Up close, the installation reveals itself: recycled plastic garbage rests at the foot of the sculpture, as if the creature itself inhaled it as it traversed Lake Ontario.

The Illusory by Humber College School of Media Studies & IT, School of Applied Technology (Toronto)

From the outside, you’d have no idea a lifeguard chair was sitting in the centre of this gorgeous, alien-like structure – the reflective materials hide it completely.

Midwinter Fire by Daniels Faculty of Architecture, University of Toronto (Toronto)

Immerse yourself in a colourful, wintry forest by entering this sheltered area, lined inside with a reflective material that will all but erase the beach completely once inside.

Find out more about this year’s Winter Stations here. | @katierowboat

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