Toronto’s Queens Quay transformed by “Ice Breakers” public art exhibition

‘Incognito’ by Jaspal Riyait and Curio Art Consultancy, Rees Street Parkette (Credit: Andy Barrow)
‘Incognito’ by Jaspal Riyait and Curio Art Consultancy, Rees Street Parkette (Credit: Andy Barrow)

Toronto’s urban waterfront has been transformed by five oversized installations that have taken over the parks, bridges and squares along Queens Quay.

Dubbed Ice Breakers, these five works of temporary public art are a new initiative presented by Waterfront BIA in collaboration with PortsToronto and Winter Stations – the popular annual design competition in Toronto’s east end beaches.

Five playful and engaging installations created by designers from around the world popped up, seemingly overnight, at Canada Square, Peter Street Basin, Music Garden East, Rees Street Parkette and HTO Park. They include three-dimensional, faceted hands standing three metres high; glowing, modular boxes from Denmark; and oversized, camouflaged massing models. 

“Ice Breakers is a celebration of the Waterfront area in winter,” said Carol Jolly, The Waterfront BIA Executive Director. “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. We are delighted that the installations have already attracted so much positive attention and we look forward to welcoming more visitors over the coming weeks.”

Whereas Winter Stations is a response to the open vistas of Ashbridges Bay and Kew Beach, Ice Breakers takes its cues from the commercial history of the harbour. The name Ice Breakers is inspired by the utilitarian ships once used in Toronto’s harbour to break up frozen bodies of water, keeping commerce flowing into and out of the City. The name is also a testament to the power of design, bringing strangers together and sparking dialogue.

The Ice Breakers installations will be up for everyone to enjoy until February 26. The third annual Winter Stations Design Competition will be unveiling this year’s eight built installations on the beach this coming Family Day.