CANstruction Toronto collects 57,527 lbs of food donations to support Daily Bread Food Bank

Adamson

The shelves at Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank are restocked thanks to the thousands of donations collected in the 21st CANstruction® build. In all, 57,527 pounds of donated non-perishable food were sculpted into 19 audacious, edible statues all in an effort to support Toronto’s hunger gap.

CANstruction® Toronto is one of the largest private donors to the Daily Bread Food Bank through an annual contest that challenges architectural and engineering firms to create structures from full cans of food that are then donated to the food bank. This was the first year of the event since it was put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The donations came as local food banks struggle to keep up with unprecedented demand from a record number of Canadians needing help in the face of rising prices.

“Creativity, innovation and corporate social responsibility come together at CANstruction®,” says Neil Hetherington, CEO, Daily Bread Food Bank. “Through this incredible initiative, teams involved are not only helping to provide much needed food donations for families facing hunger, but also raising awareness about food insecurity, and having a direct impact in our community.”

Pre-pandemic, Daily Bread Food Bank saw about 65,000 client visits each month. That number has now quadrupled with a record high of nearly 270,000 client visits in March 2023.

“We were excited for the design and construction community to be able to come together again to use our skills to fight hunger in our city,” says Christina Facey, co-chair of CANstruction® Toronto. “This friendly competition not only shines a light on the incredible creativity in our industry, it also casts a spotlight on the fact that hunger is a reality for many people right now.”

Over the last 20 years, the architecture, engineering, construction and design industry in Toronto has raised over 1,000,000 pounds of food donations through the annual competition. In 2019, CANstruction® teams donated 68,785 lbs of shelf-stable food to Daily Bread, which was distributed to its member agencies’ meal programs and community-based food banks. Now, the need is greater than ever. Food bank visits across Toronto increased by nearly 42 per cent in 2022 compared to the year prior. This level of growth is unprecedented.

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.

CANstruction® Toronto build took place on May 15th. The completed “Canstructures” were judged by a jury and winners were announced at an evening reception on May 16th.

From its humble beginnings in 1992, CANstruction® has grown to become the largest food drive in the world with teams competing in 200 cities and tens of millions of pounds of food donated.

CANstruction® Toronto 2023 winning “Canstructures”

Best Original Design

Architecture49 Inc.

Get Crackin!

Structural Ingenuity

Architecture49 Inc.

Get Crackin!

Best Use of Labels

KPMB Architects

Nature vs. Nurture

Best Meal

Diamond Schmitt Architects

Be Kind and Feed your Neighbours

Honourable Mention

BDP Quadrangle

Healthy Meal

Since the event started in Toronto in 1999, CANstruction® Toronto has donated over one million pounds of food to Daily Bread Food Bank.

CANstruction® Toronto 2023 Participants 

• Adamson Associates Architects 

Tower of Sauron 

Combining architectural finesse and creative prowess, our team’s Canstruction design depicts the awe-inspiring Tower of Sauron from the legendary realm of Middle-earth, captivating the essence of Lord of the Rings in an awe-inspiring tribute. 

• ARCADIS IBI GROUP 

Our bunny cares about hunger 

Our bunny cares about hunger and is the perfect advocate to eliminate food insecurity for all! 

• Architecture49 Inc. 

Get Crackin! 

The skyrocketing price of eggs in recent months is just one reason why feeding a family nutritious foods has become egg-ceptionally difficult, but with a bit of collaboration, creativity and egg-stra generosity, we can help those in need – so let’s get cracking! 

• BDP Quadrangle 

Healthy Meal 

Many Canadians rely on takeout and fast food as an easy and convenient food source, while the cost and health benefits of this do not always look quite like a Happy Meal. 

• Candevcon East Limited 

Home is Where the Heart is 

Our home welcomes you to open your hearts and give generously to your community. 

• Canadian Turner Construction Company 

Seize the opporTUNAty to feed the hungry 

Seize the opporTUNAty to feed the hungry, and be that glimmer of hope in the community. 

• Diamond Schmitt Architects 

Be Kind and Feed your Neighbours 

The raccoon sculpture encourages Torontonians to keep an open mind to all our neighbour and be kind to one another, especially in times of need. 

• Echologics 

Trashed Treasure 

Trashed Treasure sculpture serves as a powerful visual representation of the issue of food waste across the country, highlighting both the magnitude of the problem and the regional variations in food insecurity. 

• Grounded Engineering Inc. 

Next Stop… Donation Station 

Over 6000 cans stacked to form the newest iteration of the iconic TTC streetcar, reminding us that after a long day, food insecurity should not be on anyone’s mind. 

• Graham Construction and Zeidler Architecture 

Azadi (Liberty) Tower 

• HOK & WSP Canada Inc. 

Beyond the Event Horizon 

Inspired by one of the Universe’s great mysteries, the black hole, cans of food swirl around the event horizon, a nod to the issue of food availability which appears endless for some but is an illusion to others. 

• KPMB Architects 

Nature vs. Nurture 

A visual representation of nature reclaiming its dominance over human interference. 

• LEA Consulting Ltd. + CS&P Architects 

It’s a-me, CANrio! 

CANrio! represents a world where nutritious food is always readily available so anyone can power up like Mario and unlock their full potential. 

• NORR 

Food for Thought 

Our structure “Food for Thought” aims to provoke the thought of fighting hunger and helping those who are less fortunate in filling their tummies with much needed comfort and ease. 

• Q4 ARCHITECTS 

FOOD. FUTURE. FARMING. 

We are worried about the loss of Ontario’s farmland and its effects on our food security; our futuristic, all-purpose, farming vehicle stands as an optimistic vision of an ethically produced and sustainable local agricultural future. 

• RJC Engineers 

CAN you SEA the big picture? Let’s take a bite out of hunger! 

When we share our wealth with each other, as our oceans coral reefs, we can take a bite out of hunger and together thrive! This structure, by RJC Engineers Ltd, consists of close to 3000 cans of various food products depicting a Coral Reef complete with a Shark, Starfish and even a Treasure Chest. 

• TPL Lighting + Design Agency

Made in CANada 

A fully formed mitten, craftly made with intertwining stitches that serve the purpose of warming hands; this is a representation of our intertwining efforts to assemble a selection of cans to donate a full encompassing meal to fill bellies and warm heart. 

• Turner Fleischer Architects Inc. 

One Can 

One Can ignite change. 

• WZMH Architects 

Layers of Emotions 

Reaching through our inescapable visual overconsumption, sharing food brings layers of emotions to our lives, creates community and social connection, draws us all in. 

CANstruction® Toronto 2023 Jury 

• Sebastien Centner— Founder and Creative Director, Eatertainment 

• Brooke Guzar— CEO, Blackwell Structural Engineers 

• Elsa Lam — Editor, Canadian Architect Magazine 

• Ajon Moriyama— Principal, Ajon Moriyama Architect 

• Pascal Paquette — Visual and Experiential Artist 

CANstruction® Toronto 2023 Sponsors 

Gold Sponsors 

Smith + Andersen Consulting Engineers, Carpenters Union Local 27, Elevate, Design Exchange, Calador Communications 

Silver Sponsors 

Ontario Association of Architects, Construction Specifications Canada, DRE Industries, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (Ontario Chapter), Canadian Association of Women in Construction 

Bronze Sponsors 

Speciifx, Brampton Brick 

Hosts 

Cadillac Fairview 

Contributors 

Astley-Gilbert Reproductions, Printing; Aaron Borchardt, Photographer 

Organized By 

SDA Canada