Crowds flocked to Toronto’s Woodbine Beach this past weekend to experience this year’s creaive art installations at Winter Stations 2023.
The annual exhibition of reimagined lifeguard stations is back for its 7th year, running from Family Day through April 3, 2023.
This year’s theme is “radiance”, embracing change as we navigate through uncertainty and the new normal.
“Radiance is a powerful thing to harness, as it reflects brilliance, inner security, kindness, and gratitude – but it’s also unique in that it has a positive ripple effect from its origin. Radiance is beautiful in the way it spreads organically,” says Winter Stations about this year’s theme.
This year, there are 8 visually stunning exhibitions to experience but people were quick to point out that there was a problem.
How is this acceptable @winterstations @BradMBradford @marymargaretbey @beynate? Thousands at event. City needs to 1) winterize this washroom 2) not issue permits for events if organizers don’t provide washrooms AND there are better options than this poorly serviced supplier. pic.twitter.com/OzIAj8nlKs
— CathyCrowe (@cathyacrowe) February 21, 2023
Apparently visitors were not too thrilled with the lack of accessible washrooms.
Walked by tonight and watched family after family try the washroom doors fruitlessly. On the special event launch day for Winter Stations!
Our next mayor needs to see the bigger picture better than we’re getting today. #TOpoli pic.twitter.com/6QtJVoSE1M
— I’ll be @firstname.lastname@example.org with you (@syncros) February 21, 2023
Washroom issues aside, here’s what the installations for Winter Stations 2023 look like right now.
Possibly the most highly-anticipated installation of the year is the monument dedicated to Conrad, a Toronto raccoon that went viral on social media after his death on the corner of Yonge and Church in 2015.
The creators Novak Djogo and Daniel Joshua Vanderhorst say “Though Conrad was just a raccoon, he was human enough to inspire compassion and warmth in the hearts of Torontonians. This is a monument in his honour.”
The LIFE LINE installation is an interactive experience which allows participants to place a ball at the top of the tube and send it rolling through a series of windchimes, creating a lovely soundscape.
This station interprets the theme of radiance as joy, starting with one person and radiating outward to many, the creators James Bruer, Nick Roland, and Jacqueline Hampshire of WeatherstonBruer Associates say.
Ripple Hut is designed by a team at the Toronto Metropolitan University Department of Architectural Science.
This installation involves a series of aggregated canoes with small apertures depicting ripples in water. Ripple Hut expresses their take on radiance through form, materiality, and spatial interaction, using the effects of light and shadow.
3 Surfaces Pavilion
Utilizing three types of surfaces including pavement, metal, and wood, 3 Surfaces Pavilion allows the user to gather around or inside the pavilion, stand, sit, or lie on the surfaces that call to be inhabited in very different ways.
The curved structure is designed by Cesar Guerrero, Ana Cecilia Garza, and Orlando Garcia of S-AR.
Designed by a team from the University of Waterloo Department of Architecture, Winter-net features a series of layered nets woven between wooden posts, intended to catch snow and sand over time as it is carried by the wind, thus creating distinct shadows.
The installation encourages participants to interact with the nets by covering them with snow to create various forms and light conditions.
Created by a team from the School of Environmental Design & Rural Development at the University of Guelph, WE[AR] is an interactive virtual installation inspired by our capacity to come together as a community.
After downloading the app, participants can virtually move around installations which address social challenges, including human rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ2S+ rights, pay disparity, mental health, racial discrimination, and sexual violence.
The house-shaped structure designed by Scott Shields Architects took inspiration from the radiance theme using a simple definition of “home”, where “one feels security, strength, and freedom,” they say.
Playing with emitting and transmitting light, the pavilion has carved brightly-coloured walls, which create changing kaleidoscope patterns throughout the day and radiates from within after dusk.
Inspired by lighthouses in coastal settings, Delighthouse by Nick Green and Greig Pirrie is a colourful and welcoming structure scaled to house the lifeguard stand.
“While traditionally lighthouses are warnings, this installation is a welcoming beacon of hope, fun, energy, and pride,” they said.
Winter Stations is open to the public for free. You’ll find the exhibitions at Woodbine Beach until April.