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Ice Breakers hits the Toronto Waterfront

Ice Breakers hits the Toronto Waterfront

Three-dimensional, faceted hands standing three metres high; glowing modular boxes from Denmark; and oversized, camouflaged massing models will each mark Toronto’s Waterfront in January as part of a new public art exhibition entitled Ice Breakers.

A collaboration between The Waterfront Business Improvement Area (WBIA) and the founders of Winter Stations – the popular, annual art competition held along Toronto’s eastern beaches – Ice Breakers was conceived to inspire exploration of the urban waterfront in the colder months.

“Design is a powerful motivator,” says Roland Rom Colthoff, principal at RAW design and a Winter Stations co-founder. “The Waterfront is one of Toronto’s busiest communities in the summertime but, like The Beach, it can be under-appreciated as temperatures drop. Like Winter Stations, Ice Breakers is an interactive celebration of public art. We want to nudge Torontonians back outside and inspire them to keep engaging with the city.”

Whereas Winter Stations is a response to the open vistas of Ashbridges Bay and Kew Beach, Ice Breakers takes its cues from the commercial history of the harbour. The name Ice Breakers is inspired by the utilitarian ships once used in Toronto’s harbour to break up frozen bodies of water and keep commerce flowing into and out of the city. The name is also a testament to the power of design, bringing strangers together and sparking dialogue.

“We are thrilled to be working with the team behind Winter Stations on this brand new exhibition” says Carol Jolly, executive director of the WBIA. “Following the completion of the revitalized Promenade, we wanted to bring an interactive and design-centric event to the area. Ice Breakers will be our marquee winter event and our hope is to encourage people to get out and discover the beauty of the Toronto Waterfront, all year round.”

Developed in partnership with PortsToronto and Waterfront Toronto, all five installations will be dispersed throughout the Waterfront between Yonge and Bathurst Streets beginning January 21, 2017. The exhibition will run over five weeks, coinciding with the debut of the third annual Winter Stations Competition in The Beach on Family Day, February 26.

Ice Breakers will see design contributions from all three founders of Winter Stations: architect firm RAW, landscape architects Ferris + Associates and public art consultancy Curio. Toronto-based design team, and original Winter Stations contributor, Polymetis, will also be participating, with Denmark design studio Platant rounding out the group.

Founded in 2015 by equal partners RAW, Ferris + Associates and Curio, Winter Stations is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing temporary public art to the city. The marquee Winter Stations Design Competition is now in its third year. Winter Stations asks designers from around the world to transform utilitarian lifeguard stations into creative, imaginative works of publicly accessible art for six weeks. In 2017, the organization extends its programming slate with Ice Breakers produced by Winter Stations, a new event conceived on behalf of The Waterfront BIA.

Introducing the inaugural Ice Breakers installations: