Winter at the Beach

2015 was the year of the never-ending winter. Although spring has officially begun here in Toronto, it seems like winter is fighting to hang on for just a little bit longer. Despite the lingering cold, the sun is shining, buds are blooming, and outdoor patios are in full swing. May should be a great month.

On a beautiful, sunny (and cold) day this past March, I took advantage of the clear blue skies to check out Winter Stations, a series of outdoor art installations in the Beaches. Commissioned by RAW Design, Ferris & Associates Inc., and curio, Winter Stations was an international competition with the goal of adding colour to Toronto's winter landscape. Using the theme of Warmth, designers were to use the five evenly-spaced lifeguard stands that span Kew, Scarborough, and Balmy Beaches as the foundation of their design, and create a colourful, intriguing, and durable structure to facilitate public art and discussion within Toronto's beach community.

Although this installation officially ended a month ago, some of the structures were kept in place for a few extra weeks, and may still be on site. I think this design initiative is a great way to pique interest and bring people outside during the winter months, and I'm looking forward to next year's results.

Snow Cone by Lily Jeon & Diana Koncan. This one was my absolute favourite.

Driftwood Throne by Daniel Madeiros.

Sling Swing by Ed Butler, Dan Wiltshire & Frances McGeown. 

Wing Back by Timothy Olson. 

Hot Box by Michaela MacLeod & Nicholas Croft. This one was interesting, as you had to walk inside (the entrance is facing the lake) and meander through a maze to the centre. Difficult to capture in a photo so I recommend checking out the design panel.

The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant is a stunning historical building located at the very end of the Beaches, where Queen Street East runs north and merges into Kingston Road. With a gorgeous vantage point of Lake Ontario, this hidden gem will be a great place to check out this summer. 

On my way back home, I stopped at one of my favourite spots in the city: Sugar Beach. Sugar Beach offers a beachy escape during even the coldest of winters, with the candy-pink umbrellas providing juxtaposition to the snow-covered sand and surrounding frozen lake. Sugar Beach is by far one of Toronto's greatest works of landscape architecture, and I hope the City of Toronto implements more of these fun urban parks in the future.

Kew to Balmy Beach
Between Woodbine & Victoria Park Avenues on the Lakeshore, south of Queen Street East
Toronto, ON

R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant
2701 Queen St East
Toronto, ON
M4E 1H4

Sugar Beach
25 Dock Side Drive (or Foot of Lower Jarvis)
Toronto, ON
M5A 1B6