Competition Deadline:
Nov 24, 2020

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    What is

    Winter Stations is a single-stage international design competition held annually in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Participants are tasked with designing temporary winter art installations which incorporate existing lifeguard towers spaced strategically across the city’s Kew and Woodbine beaches. The structures (not in use in the wintertime) must not be ignored in the design and can be used as either an armature for the installations, a central feature, or other- wise linked to the installation.

    As in previous years, Winter Stations intends to build approximately four winning proposals for a six-week exhibition along the waterfront, funding permitted.

    While Toronto beaches are not typically as well visited in the colder seasons, Winter Stations has captured the imagination of the city. Designers can expect their designs to be well-visited, and should anticipate public interaction.

    The competition is open to everyone in the world. There is no fee to enter.


    For the Winter Stations 2021 edition, we may reflect back on the year we have left behind and consider what refuge means to each of us: a shelter; a place of comfort and security, a sanctuary. As a community we may offer refuge. As individuals, we may protect one another, providing respite from danger or insulation from harsh realities. Refuge evokes discovery and the idea of exploring remote places. It reflects a renewed appreciation of the outdoors, while highlighting the importance of our safe spaces.

    Each Winter Station practically acts as a refuge from the elements, so this year we suggest design competitors play with the literal and figurative, exploring what refuge means as we re-examine the importance of public space. How can we evoke refuge in an exhibition that will necessitate physical distance between visitors? And how can we promote interactivity when our ability to relate with the stations may have to omit physical touch in the name of safety.


    The lifeguard stands are essentially identical. They are sturdy steel structures to which the installation can be fastened. The method of fastening is up to each competitor, however it must not result in any damage to (or modification of) the structure.

    Please assume minimal security and the possibility of vandalism or simply wear and tear from the curious. There would be no power or utilities available. Installations should not propose use of electricity or fire. Proposals should indicate how materials would be disposed of, recycled and/or repurposed at the end of the display period.


    The entries must be submitted electronically as two separate PDF files not exceeding 7MB each. Each entry should contain, in order, the following documents (in English):

    Page One – 11” x 17” (279mm x 432mm) – Project Summary
    • 1 page maximum
    • A maximum of 150 word text describing the project and presenting the experience offered by the visitors
    • Layout of selected images and drawings describing the project
    Page Two – 11” x 17” (279mm x 432mm) – Images and Drawings
    • 1 page maximum
    • 4 main views or elevations of the installation indicating size and specification of materials
      Entrant is free to choose the scale
    • A perspective showing the design in its entirety
    • Rough-order-of-magnitude cost for artwork installation
    • Each document must include the name of the project however there must be no information on page one or two of the design proposal that would identify the entrant.
    • Only single-page PDFs will be accepted.
    • Proposals may be landscape or portrait format.
    • Please be aware that submissions will be reviewed by the jury as hard-copies (i.e. do not attempt to attach hyperlinks, videos, or any other digital content to the pdf files).
    • Submissions by email will not be accepted; if you wish to submit, please do so electronically through this website by signing up, logging in, and following submission instructions.
    • Please use the following naming conventions: save your files with the first and last name and the name of your organization. For example: First.Last.WinterStations. For multiple files, add a number at the end of the file name. For example: First. Last.WinterStations1 and First.Last.WinterStations2.
    Additional Resource Files:


    Proposals should adhere to the following budget for submissions:
    • $5,000.00 CAD for materials
    • $10,000.00 CAD for labour


    An honorarium will be provided to winners and allocated as follows:
    • Design Fee – $3,500.00 CAD
    • Artist Travel and Expenses – $1,500.00 CAD (if applicable).


    Is it possible to apply to Winter Stations as a team?
    Yes, you can apply as a team or individual. If you’re applying as a team, you only need to register one team member and if you have a collective name, put that in ‘Organization’. All team members will be properly credited when the winning teams are announced.

    Can I submit more than one proposal?
    Yes, you can submit more than one.

    Does the design have to include a lifeguard stand?
    Yes, every design must include and/or interact with the existing lifeguard stand in some way.

    Does the proposal have to be submitted in a specific language?
    Yes, please submit your proposal in English. The jury selection will be primarily based on your design and supporting visuals.

    Can we temporarily remove the structure for the installation?
    No, the intent of the design brief is to incorporate the lifeguard stands as part of the overall design.

    Can every country participate in this competition?
    Yes, this competition is open to everyone.

    Is there a specific file name required for the submission?
    Yes, please save your files with the first and last name and the name of your organization. For example First.Last.WinterStations. For multiple files, add a number at the end of the file name. For example First. Last.WinterStations1 and First.Last.WinterStations2.

    If there is no organization just save with first and last name. First.Last.

    Do I have to login in with the same email I registered with to submit the files?
    No logging in is required to submit files to the Winter Stations Dropbox. Please follow the naming convention listed above.

    Is registration supposed to provide a unique ID for submitting?
    No. Registration is used to help us gauge interest in the competition and to collect contact info to cross reference with the naming convention listed above.

    Is there a cash prize?
    There will be an honorarium of $3500 for each winning artist. Travel expenses will be covered up to $1500. Please note Winter Stations will adhere to any travel restrictions that are in place due to Covid-19. Back up plans are in place if travel is restricted, with details to come.

    Is the deadline for submissions before midnight on November 17th? Or just before, November 16th 11:59pm?
    We have decided to extend the competition deadline by one week. The deadline for Winter Stations will now be November 24th at 11:59pm.

    How important is the integration of the lifeguard stand in regards to judging criteria?
    All designs must integrate an existing lifeguard stand. This is a key component of the judging criteria.

    How much detail regarding construction does the proposal need to provide?
    The proposal should take into account the construction budget and general feasibility of the design. Our fabrication team will connect with winning design teams directly to go over the construction in more detail following the competition.

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