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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.