Ice Breakers on Toronto's Waterfront 2018

Ice Breakers Returns to Toronto’s Urban Waterfront for Winter 2018




Through the Eyes of the Bear

 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".

"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.

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.

"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.

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.

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.

For more info visit: www.waterfrontbia.com/event/ice-breakers/. Note: Ice Breakers has been extended until March 18, 2018.

Introducing the 2018 Ice Breakers installations:

‘Through the Eyes of the Bear’ by Tanya Goertzen of People Places (Calgary, Canada)
Inspired by Ursa Major or the Great Bear constellation, this installation uses renewable, recyclable and compostable materials to ask visitors to consider how humans interact with nature, or to see the world 'through the eyes of a bear.'

‘Black Bamboo’ by Bennet Marburger and Ji Zhang of 2408 Studio ( Hangzhou Shi, China)
Black Bamboo is an installation made from 90 painted bamboo poles freely arranged to form a framework in an abstract cubic shape. Like the constellations, the cube as a shape only comes into existence within our heads. Black Bamboo is accessible and invites visitors to walk or climb through it. 

'Winter FanFare' by Thena Tak (Vancouver, Canada)
Winter FanFare is a series of rotating fan-sculptures that collectively form a circulation playscape for winter exploration. In the spirit of the competition's theme, 'constellations', Winter FanFare deploys individual fan-sculptures to create clusters of pockets where the public can meander through or run in and around. 

'Ensemble' by João Araújo Sousa and Joana Correia Silva, JJs Arquitectura (Porto, Portugal)
Ensemble merges architecture, music and astronomy to explore the dialogue between humans and the urban environment. The installation is inspired by wind chimes, which visitors can touch to create beautiful abstract compositions and ever-changing soundscapes. 

‘Root Cabin’ by Liz Wreford and Peter Sampson, Public City Architecture (Winnipeg, Canada)
Like a constellation, Root Cabin is a mystery waiting to be discovered. Coloured cuts of wood can be seen through gaps in an alluring pile of weathered roots. When further explored by a visitor, the colours reveal a void that can be inhabited, and an iconic, nostalgic form of Canadian dwelling emerges. 

Photo credits: The Waterfront BIA
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