Winter Stations unveils winning designs at Woodbine Beach
Winter Stations competition is back at Woodbine Beach for its eighth year, with three winning designs, alongside three student designs from Ryerson University, University of Toronto, and University of Guelph.
The winning designs overtook the lifeguard stations at Toronto’s Woodbine Beach until March 31st. In an exciting first, one winning station, Wildlife-guard Chair, was launched along Hamilton’s Pier 8 as part of Winterfest. The station will move back to Toronto’s Beach in early March to conclude its exhibition alongside the other stations.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Wildlife-guard Chair to Hamilton’s Pier 8, a jewel in the North End neighbourhood. We encourage Hamiltonians to come out to view the wonderful installation, go for a skate, and take in the waterfront’s beautiful views. We’re hopeful that the installation inspires joy and happiness at a time when communities need it most.” says Joe Valela, Principal of Tercot Communities, on behalf of the Waterfront Shores Partners.
“With all the uncertainty over the past two years, we’re overjoyed that Winter Stations is once again on the Beach,” says Roland Rom Colthoff, Founder, Winter Stations. “It’s great to be able to offer Torontonians a distanced and safe event to look forward to this winter. Whether it’s your first time seeing the exhibits or you’re returning for another year, we hope you enjoy the installations that artists and designers from around the world worked so hard to create. Thank you to everyone who submitted to the competition and our partners for making it happen. We’re hoping to garner additional sponsors to expand programming of the popular event further.”
This year’s Winter Stations theme is Resilience. Designers were asked to celebrate the ability of people to withstand and push through challenging and unprecedented times. The artists were asked to not only reflect on all the ways people have had to be resilient, but the ways people have channeled this resilience, be it through communities, movements, support networks and more.
Winter Stations has partnered with the YWCA to dedicate one station to the women and gender diverse individuals that lived at YWCA Toronto’s temporary emergency shelter at Kingston Road and Queen Street East.
The 2022 Winter Stations winners are:
The times of pandemic have changed our habits in multi-scalar aspects, but it especially affected the way how we perceive the world outside of us. More explicitly, it shifted our communication with people, interaction with the environment and the perception of our experiences by means of a single surface: the digital screen. Via offering the isolated a new version of coexistence, these screens not only made overcoming this challenging period possible but also became indissociable parts of lives as mobile “interfaces”. The project “enter-face” aims to reveal the dramatic influence of these screens, therefore, presents a spatial atmosphere that brings people together by means of a common vision\image while isolating them physically. It proposes two dark boxes with distant holes for people to get their upper bodies inside and stay detached from one another. Within the boxes, a textured transparent surface is placed through which the distant visitors, who became a group of viewers now, watch the life outside the box as if they are spectating a never-ending moving image on a screen together.
Inspired by the northern cardinal bird – a specie present all-year-round along Lake Ontario – the station seeks to engage the visitors with Ontario’s wildlife. The diversity of species taking refuge in the dense urban environment is both remarkable to observe and critical to preserve.
The resilience witnessed among communities in the face of challenging and unprecedented times is paralleled among the honey bee. Honey bee colonies are primarily composed of worker bees whose greatest measure of resilience is maintaining hive temperature throughout the cold winter months. This is achieved by adapting worker behaviour to use energy from stored honey to generate body heat within a tight hive cluster. The challenge of keeping the hive warm is met by a colony-level response – much like the collaborative community-level response that is mounted in the face of adversity.
The installation is designed with a hexagonal structure reminiscent of a honey bee colony, and it highlights the colour variation of honey, which is the result of diverse floral resources. Individuals are welcomed to experience the visual diversity of a honey bee hive and work together to form a collaborative community-level hive cluster.
The forces of nature are relentless. Like the falling snow of the sky and the shifting sands of the beach, the pavilion embraces local wind, snow, and sun conditions. Following these directions of force, the pavilion’s wings embody movement by harnessing snow and mitigating strong winds. Beach towels have been formed into dynamic concrete panels with varying openings. These panels control the amount of light and snow allowed to enter, while also creating unique views outwards. Together, the panels and wings protect users and encourage them to engage with their surroundings. Where the lifeguard station, beach towels, and marine ropes are more frequently used in the summer, the pavilion achieves resilience by employing these objects in the winter. The pavilion acts as a shelter for the community where winter conditions are celebrated by harnessing and adapting to natural forces.
In keeping with this year’s theme of resilience, we chose to base our design on the emotions felt throughout the past two years’ worth of quarantine and isolation. Playing with the idea of reflection, we utilize mirrored walls to cast the visitors as the subjects of our bright red pavilion, titled Introspection. While the trellis roof allows the sun to illuminate the interior and its visitors, the red lifeguard tower stands unyielding in the centre of the pavilion, reminding us of the inherent stability within us. In highlighting the subject’s presence, we hope to promote introspection into one’s own emotional resilience as one faces their own reflection. From afar, Introspection appears to float on the beach’s horizon. Behaving like a visual constant in the wild, Introspection and the lifeguard towers remind us that no matter what the whirlwinds of life may bring, they endure it all and remain resilient to adversity.
The Indigenous Peoples in Canada are an inspirational example of resilience due to their ability to withstand adversity and persevere through generations of oppressive colonial policies. Historic injustices persist, including the effects of cultural genocide from the residential school system of Canada. Here we symbolize bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples through gathering. Accomplished through the support of the seven grandfather teachings, represented by the seven rings of the installation, that originated with the Anishnabae Peoples, passed down through generations that ensures the survival of all Indigenous Peoples: Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, and Truth. Orange represents the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, and the reality that the support of non-Indigenous Peoples, as Indigenous Peoples assert rights to self-determination, will strengthen relations and begin to redress the historic wrongs. Orange is displayed in the ropes where the pattern pays homage to the creation of drums, where the ropes were weaved to honour culture. The installations flow towards the lifeguard stand reinforces the strengthening of the relationship and that the protection of Canada hinges on the unity between peoples. We aim to symbolize movement to a new relationship, one based on mutual respect that honours Indigenous treaties and rights. The road forward is long and nonlinear, but we commit to take the journey together.