Toronto’s 16th annual Canstruction aims to fill the hunger gap

Visitors to Toronto’s financial district were likely wondering why there was a giant fish made out of tuna cans around the corner from a fortune cookie made out of canned tuna in the lobby of the TD Center. They’re just two of 20 structures on display until May 9, as teams of professional designers, architects, engineers and students took part in Toronto’s 16th annual Canstruction competition.

In all 71,035 pounds of donated food were sculpted into audacious, edible statues all in an effort to fill Toronto’s hunger gap.

“Canstruction is a unique type of food drive and a way for the design community to collaborate in a creative way and give back to the community we build in,” says Helen Kabriel, co-chair of Canstruction Toronto. “Not only do they give back through food donations, but their structures attract an audience and provoke discussions on hunger and the challenges facing our city.”

The Canstructures are on display for public viewing in the lobbies of the TD Bank, TD West, TD North and Ernst & Young, towers at 66 Wellington St. W. until May 9, before being disassembled and donated to Daily Bread Food Bank, the city’s largest food bank.

“The impact of Canstruction is enormous. It provides thousands and thousands of pounds of high quality and nutritious food at a time of year when donations typically fall off,” says Gail Nyberg, executive director of Daily Bread Food Bank.

The Canstruction competition recognizes a variety of factors, not just design aesthetics. The Best Use of Labels award focuses on creative graphic possibilities, the Best Meal award considers the variety and quality of the food donated, and Structural Ingenuity considers the complexity of the design.

For the second year, Canstruction Toronto will also have a People’s Choice Award, encouraging those passing through the TD Towers and others on-line to vote by “liking” a picture of their favourite Canstructure on Facebook through the Canstruction Toronto page. The contest closes on May 10 and can be found at  


JURORS FAVOURITE • BA Consulting Group Ltd.: Fotuna

STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY • Turner Fleischer Architects Inc.: Hunger is No Illusion

BEST MEAL • Stephenson Engineering Ltd.: CAN You Help Bridge The Gap?

BEST USE OF LABELS • HDR: Hunger for Sport

HONOURABLE MENTION • Quadrangle Architects Ltd.: Shifting Perspective

Since the event started in Toronto in 1999, Canstruction has donated more than 860,000 pounds of food to the Daily Bread Food Bank. While the lead-up to Christmas is typically a high-donation time for food banks, as the weather gets nicer, the contributions decline. Canstruction Toronto is helping fill that gap.

“Canstruction is incredibly important, especially at this time of year, when people may not be thinking about the food bank as much. It helps us to keep our hampers full and nutritious throughout the warm months,” says Nyberg. “The real winners of Canstruction are the 60,000 people who will use our food banks each and every month.”

2015 CANSTRUCTION LIST OF PARTICIAPANTS • Aecom Canada Ltd • Aercoustics Engineering Limited • AFHTO • Arup Canada Inc. • BA Consulting Group Ltd. • Cannon Design • DIALOG • Diamond Schmitt Architects with Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. • Echologics, A Division of Mueller Co. • GM BluePlan Engineering Ltd. • HDR • GHD • PCL Constructors Canada Inc. with Entuitive • Petroff Partnership Architects / ARK • Quadrangle Architects Ltd. • rebanks pepper littlewood architects inc. • R.V. Anderson Associates Ltd. • Ryerson University, Department of Architectural Science • Stephenson Engineering Ltd. • Turner Fleischer Architects Inc.  

JURY • David Bowick: Principal at Blackwell Engineering • Diarmuid Nash: partner at Moriyama & Teshima Architects • Diego Burdi: creative director at Burdifilek • Elsa Lam: editor of Canadian Architect magazine • Susur Lee: chef and owner of Lee, Bent & Luckee


Canstruction Toronto aims to engage, amaze and inspire professionals and students in the design, architecture and engineering industries to work together to gather food donations and raise public awareness to fight hunger and poverty.

For more information, visit  


A leader in the fight against hunger, Daily Bread Food Bank is a non-profit, charitable organization that serves people through neighbourhood food banks and meal programs in 170 community agencies across Toronto.

Find out more about Daily Bread Food Bank at