Ice Breakers was launched in 2016 as a partnership between the organizers of Winter Stations and the Waterfront Business Improvement Area. Now embarking on its third year, Ice Breakers is seeking proposals for temporary art works to produce and exhibit along Toronto's Queens Quay for Winter 2019. This year, we will be selecting four unique installations as well as one invited University installation for five unique sites which will be exhibited from January 17, 2019 until March 03, 2019.

This is a single-stage international competition open to everyone. We welcome artists, designers, architects and landscape architects to submit concept proposals for Ice Breakers' temporary artwork installation.

Signal Transmission

For Ice Breaker's third year the theme is "Signal Transmission". The theme is open to interpretation, but as always, we are hoping to see work that is challenging, while also accessible, and a reminder that public art can be fun and engaging. Signal Transmission may be approached as an exploration of data, digital and analog communication, including the various modes and codes involved; it may also veer into the realm of biology, ecology and sociology. Simply, Signal Transmission is about how humans and other species speak - to each other and to our self, internally. We see Ice Breakers as a catalyst for discussion, a moment of wonder, and an invitation to local residents and visitors from further afield, to step out of their buildings and take a winter walk along the Waterfront to appreciate the unique Toronto landscape at this time of year.

There is no limit to the size of the installation, but please note that included in the jurors’ instructions will be durability and constructability. Installations cannot exceed the total cost outlined and may consist of a singular object or a configuration of dispersed elements.


Location 1 - We Brew Café

Ontario Square, located at 235 Queens Quay West, is an outdoor venue and part of Harbourfront Centre. To the east of the square is We Brew Café. The specific artwork location is on the flat turf surface in front of We Brew Café.

Click to download photos of the We Brew Café

Location 2 - Simcoe Wave Deck

Located at 243 Queens Quay West, the Simcoe Wave Deck is an urban landscape feature, including a 2.6 metre tall curve. Its eastern portion provides a relatively flat area for an installation.

Click to download photos of the Simcoe Wave Deck

Location 3 - HTO Park East

Located at 339 Queens Quay West, a location central to the Ice Breakers exhibition. Proposals should focus on the pedestrian experience at the north end. The public will have access to the area, allowing for both visual and physical interaction with the installation.

Click to download photos of HTO Park East

Location 4 - Peter Street Basin at The Quay

Located at 370 Queens Quay West with a bridge that separates HTO Park from HTO Park West. The artwork site is the northern side of the bridge spanning the basin and includes set-back promontories on either side of the bridge.

Click to download photos of the Peter Street Basin

Location 5 - HTO Park West

Located at 375 Queens Quay West. While proposals may span any length of the park, they should maintain a significant degree of visual presence when experienced from the north pedestrian promenade. As with HTO Park to the east, public access to the park offers multiple opportunities for visual and physical engagement.

Click to download photos of HTO Park West

Site Constraints

It is the duty of all designers to determine any foreseeable constraints applicable to their choice of location. The following are general notes, considerations and assumptions outlined by the organizing committee to assist with your own research process:

Snow will not be removed from the artwork area.

There will be no electricity, water or plumbing to the sites. This includes solar power.

Fire cannot be part of the submission.

Concepts may either be singular in nature or dispersed as a series of objects. In all circumstances, artwork should not impede pedestrian traffic or cause potential injury.

Submission Guidelines

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
Page Two - 11 x 17" (279mm x 432mm) - Images and Drawings

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 (e.g. do not attempt to attach hyperlinks, videos, or any other digital content to the pdf files).

Note that each proposal must clearly identify which of the five sites the installation is to be located in, though the organizing committee may make an effort to relocate proposals should multiple suitable proposals be chosen for a single site.

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.


Competition Launch September 10, 2018
End of Question Period September 17, 2018
Submissions Open October 05, 2018
Proposals Due October 22, 2018
Jury Meets October 25, 2018
Costing, Collaboration with Short-listed Artists October 26 - November 9, 2018
Construction Begins November 10, 2018
Winners Announced December 03, 2018
Opening Day January 17, 2019
Conclusion March 03, 2019


The budget for the installations is as follows:

An honorarium will be provided to winners and allocated as follows:

The budget will be controlled with funds held and disbursed by Winter Stations Inc.


To be determined.

Supply, Install, and Fabrication

A General Contractor under the direction of Winter Stations will be responsible for consultation, fabrication, installation and removal. The Artist will be expected, and can expect, to coordinate with the supplier through all phases of project execution, including design development, fabrication, and installation and commissioning. Winter Stations Inc. will be involved in the coordination of the design, supply, delivery, installation and removal of the installations and ensure compliance with local building codes, as well as the artistic intent of the installations and the project.

The Artist will provide drawings, materials specifications and other materials of detail sufficient to construct the artwork. The Artist can expect to review and comment on the progress of the fabrication of their artwork, including installation and commissioning.


The project Sponsors and their sub-contractors will provide project-specific general commercial liability insurance for the installations throughout the duration of the exhibit.


Non-Canadian artists, should they be awarded this contract, are responsible to submit an application waiver for withholding tax for artist fees on work done in Canada to the Canada Revenue Agency. If a waiver is not obtained 6 months before the installation date, the City of Toronto is required to withhold 15% of the total artist fees, for work done in Canada, in order to release the artist's final payment.

More information is available at the following links:

About the Presenters

The Waterfront Business Improvement Area (WBIA), established in 2004, is the voice of the business community. Toronto’s WBIA is a community-driven organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing the economic and cultural vitality of the Waterfront area. The WBIA welcomes 17 million visitors annually with a service area population of 57,121 and growing rapidly. 68% of the area's residents are under the age of 45. Unlike most Toronto BIAs, the Waterfront is both a full-service residential area and a tourist destination, committed to improving the Waterfront area and new pedestrian-friendly promenade. Through marketing and promotion, special events, streetscape enhancement, strategic planning and advocacy initiatives, the WBIA continues to secure its position as one of Toronto’s premier destinations. The Waterfront BIA has been the proud recipient of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) Awards in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017, as well as the 2015 Downtown Merit Award from the International Downtown Association (IDA), and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) Awards in 2016 and 2018. More information about the WBIA is available here.

About the Producers

WinterStations Inc. is a not-for-profit organization co-founded by RAW Design, Ferris + Associates, and Curio. Winter Stations is an award-winning, annual international design competition and exhibition of temporary public art installations affixed to the lifeguard stands along Ashbridges Bay, east to Balmy Beach.