"What? Did I hear you correctly?" That's not usually how people react when they ask what you're doing on the weekend and you say you're going to the beach. However, that is an entirely appropriate reaction if you're going to the beach in Ontario. In winter.
The seven winning exhibits of the second annual Winter Stations design competition were on display from Feb. 15 to March 20. This year's theme was appropriately titled Freeze/Thaw and asked designers and artists to respond to the changing climatic conditions and transitions of the Toronto winter. The installations were built around lifeguard stands on Toronto beaches.
Ryerson University's Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Sciences, OCAD University's School of Environmental Design, and Laurentian University's Faculty of Science, Engineering and Architecture headed up teams of students that created installations for four stands.
I love public art. I went to Toronto with a friend to see the installations on the second last week before they were dismantled. It was technically still winter, but that day happened to be sunny with early spring like temperatures and no snow. I hate winter, but I was hoping to see the installations as they were intended, in a winter setting. I'm absolutely thrilled with the weather we had that day, but I think my experience would have been different if there was snow.
The CBC website had some great pictures of what the exhibits looked like in a snowy setting. You'll also see what Lithoform looked like before it met its demise.
I was really attracted to the textures of all the installations, so all my photos are close up shots.
It was wonderful seeing crowds of people out interacting with art. We initially skipped In the Belly of a Bear due to a huge line up to get into the installation. Our plan was to catch it on the way back before leaving, but when we did get back to it, the line had gotten longer. By now, the sun had gone away and we were getting hungry. We saw a man walk up to the entrance of the exhibit and poke his head inside for a moment. We asked him if it was worth waiting in line for and his response perfectly summed up the day. He said: “It’s good because it’s unusual for here”.
Story and photos by Glodeane Brown