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Ice Breakers installations returning to Toronto’s waterfront in 2018


A giant red bear reclining in the snow, a cosy cabin made from tree roots and a jingling wind chime constellation are just some of the installations that visitors to Toronto’s downtown Waterfront can experience this winter as the winners are announced for the second annual Ice Breakers event.

Ice Breakers, the temporary Waterfront art exhibit presented by the Waterfront BIA and produced by Winter Stations, asked artists and designers to look to the stars for inspiration for 2018, with the theme “constellation.”

Ice Breakers, ‘Through the Eyes of the Bear’ by Tanya Goertzen of People Places (Calgary, Canada)

‘Through the Eyes of the Bear’ by Tanya Goertzen of People Places (Calgary, Canada)

“After the huge success of last year’s Ice Breakers event, we decided to open the exhibit up as an international competition for 2018. We were looking for installations that would bring colour, warmth and activity to the Waterfront – attracting visitors from across the City to experience this spectacular wintertime streetscape,” says Carol Jolly, Executive Director, The Waterfront BIA.

Ice Breakers, ‘Black Bamboo’ by Bennet Marburger and Ji Zhang of 2408 Studio ( Hangzhou Shi, China)

‘Black Bamboo’ by Bennet Marburger and Ji Zhang of 2408 Studio ( Hangzhou Shi, China)

On October 19, the Ice Breakers jury met to choose the final five art installations that will be built and featured along Queens Quay West. It was a full day of jury deliberations, where over 100 international submissions from around the world were reviewed. Jury members included Heather A. Meltzer, Principal, Bow Bridge Communications LLC, Udo Schliemann, Principal Creative Director, Entro Communications, Ilana Shamoon, Cultural Programming and Public Art Commissions Manager, Waterfront Toronto, Jeremy Smith, Chief Development Officer, Harbourfront Centre and Deborah Wilson, Vice President Communications and Public Affairs, PortsToronto, also joined by WBIA and Winter Stations organizers.

Ice Breakers, 'Winter FanFare' by Thena Tak (Vancouver, Canada)

‘Winter FanFare’ by Thena Tak (Vancouver, Canada)

“We were bowled over by the high standard of entries this year, and the creative responses to the theme ‘constellation’. We chose the winners based on their originality, feasibility and how interactive and engaging we thought they could be,” said Winter Stations co-founder Ted Merrick of Ferris + Associates.

Ice Breakers, 'Ensemble' by João Araújo Sousa and Joana Correia Silva, JJs Arquitectura (Porto, Portugal)

‘Ensemble’ by João Araújo Sousa and Joana Correia Silva, JJs Arquitectura (Porto, Portugal)

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. Ice Breakers is also a testament to the power of design, bringing strangers together and sparking a fresh dialogue about Toronto’s urban Waterfront.

Ice Breakers, ‘Root Cabin’ by Liz Wreford and Peter Sampson, Public City Architecture (Winnipeg, Canada)

‘Root Cabin’ by Liz Wreford and Peter Sampson, Public City Architecture (Winnipeg, Canada)

Developed in partnership with PortsToronto, all five Ice Breakers installations will be dispersed throughout the Waterfront between York Street and Spadina Avenue beginning January 19. The exhibition will run over five weeks, coinciding with the debut of the fourth annual Winter Stations competition in The Beaches on Family Day.


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