15th annual CANstruction aims to “fill the hunger gap”

Visitors to Toronto’s financial district may be wondering why there’s an elephant made out of black beans around the corner from a children’s slide made out of tuna cans in the lobby of the TD Towers. They’re just two of nineteen structures on display this week, as teams of professional designers, architects, engineers and students took part in Toronto’s 15th Annual Canstruction Competition.

In all, 50,000 pounds of donated food were sculpted into audacious, edible statues in an effort to fill Toronto’s hunger gap.

“Canstruction is a unique type of food drive and a way for the design community to collaborate in a creative way and give back to the community we build in,” says Helen Kabriel, co-chair of Canstruction Toronto. “Not only do they give back through food donations, but their structures attract an audience and provoke discussions on hunger and the challenges facing our city.”

The ‘Canstructures’ are on display for public viewing in the lobbies of the TD Bank, TD West, TD North and Ernst & Young, towers at 66 Wellington Street West until May 31st, before being disassembled and donated to Daily Bread Food Bank, Toronto’s largest food bank.

“The impact of Canstruction is enormous. It provides thousands and thousands of pounds of high-quality and nutritious food at a time of year when donations typically fall off,” says Gail Nyberg, executive director of Daily Bread Food Bank.

The Canstruction competition recognizes a variety of factors, not just design aesthetics. The ‘Best Use of Labels’ award focuses on creative graphic possibilities, the “Best Meal” award considers the variety and quality of the food donated, and “Structural Ingenuity” considers the complexity of the design.

This year, Canstruction Toronto will also have a “People’s Choice Award”, encouraging those passing through the TD Towers and others online to vote by ‘liking’ a picture of their favourite ‘Canstructure’ on Facebook through the Canstruction Toronto page. The contest closes on June 2 and can be found at https://www.facebook.com/canstructionTO.

Canstruction Toronto 2014 winning ‘Canstructures’:

Jury’s Favourite:

Cannon Design
CANPANION PLANTING: A Three Sisters’ Wampum Belt

Structural Ingenuity:

Aercoustics Engineering LTD and Rebanks Pepper Littlewood Architects Inc
This Loon Sure CAN Fish

Best Meal:

Aecom Canada LTD
Hunger, Just Like the Enemy, is Not Welcome Here

Best Use of Labels:

BA Consulting Group

A Queen’s Feast

Honourable Mention:

Turner Fleisher Architects
CAN’T Let Hunger Slide

Since the event started in Toronto in 1999, Canstruction has donated more than 790,000 pounds of food to Daily Bread Food Bank.

While the lead-up to Christmas is typically a high-donation time for food banks, as the weather gets nicer, contributions decline. Canstruction Toronto is helping to fill that gap.

“Canstruction is incredibly important, especially at this time of year, when people may not be thinking about the food bank as much. It helps us to keep our hampers full and nutritious throughout the warm months,” says Nyberg. “The real winners of Canstruction are the 60,000 people who will use our food banks each and every month.”

2014 Canstruction Toronto

List of Participants:

·       Aecom Canada LTD

·       Aercoustics Engineering Ltd with Rebanks Pepper Littlewood Architects Inc

·       Arup Canada

·       BA Consulting Group

·       Brian Isherwood + Associates

·       Cannon Design

·       Diamond Schmitt Architects with Read Jones Christoffersen

·       EXP Global Inc

·       Gensler Architecture/ Design Inc

·       GHD

·       Halsall Associates with Zeidler Partnership Architects

·       Hatch with Hatch Mott MacDonald

·       Playground with Architecture for Humanity Toronto

·       Petroff Partnership Architects/ ARK

·       Ryerson University, Department of Architectural Science

·       Stephenson Engineering Ltd

·       Turner Fleischer Architecture Ltd

·       Quadrangle Architects Limited

·       Q4 Architects Inc


Jennifer Bain: Food Editor at the Toronto Star
Allen Chan: co-founder at The Design Agency

Peter Halsall: President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute; 

David Pontarini: founding partner at Hariri Pontarini Architects

Peter Sobchak: editor of Building magazine & deputy editor of Canadian Interiors

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