“Through The Eyes of the Bear” by Tanya Goertzen gives visitors a different perspective on the city. (Photo Credit: Briony Douglas)

Move over ‘The World’s Largest Rubber Duck’, Toronto’s downtown waterfront has a new animal visitor this winter – only this time it’s a larger-than-life reclining red bear that’s attracting all the attention.

The “Through the Eyes of the Bear” installation is part of the second annual Ice Breakers exhibition, presented by The Waterfront BIA, in partnership with PortsToronto. It is produced by Winter Stations, the successful international design competition that runs along Toronto’s east end beaches, now in its fourth year. Alongside the giant bear, visitors to Queens Quay can climb into a cube of black bamboo, take shelter in a pink root cabin, create music from a giant wind chime and pose by a fiery coloured sculpture while looking up at the CN Tower.

The five public artworks were winning entries to the first Ice Breakers international design competition. Hundreds of submissions were received from around the world. Entries were judged on their interpretation of the theme constellation, and their potential to break the ice with visitors to the waterfront using interactivity, colour and humour.

“The five installations that we have welcomed to the Waterfront this winter are exceptional designs that have really brought a community together,” says Carol Jolly, Executive Director, The Waterfront BIA. “We were thrilled to welcome teams from China, Portugal, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver, and would like to thank everyone involved for creating such a successful event.”

Ice Breakers jury members included Heather A. Meltzer, Principal, Bow Bridge Communications LLC; Udo Schliemann, Principal Creative Director, Entro Communications; Ilana Shamoon, Cultural Programming and Public Art Commissions Manager, Waterfront Toronto; Jeremy Smith, Chief Development Officer, Harbourfront Centre and Deborah Wilson, Vice President Communications and Public Affairs, PortsToronto, also joined by The Waterfront BIA and Winter Stations organizers.

Each installation was built and installed by Anex Works, a Toronto-based team that also creates the Winter Stations beach installations each year.

Ice Breakers will run from now until February 25, 2018.

‘Through the Eyes of the Bear’ by Tanya Goertzen of People Places (Calgary, Canada)
Location: HTO Park West
Inspired by Ursa Major or the Great Bear constellation, this installation uses renewable, recyclable and compostable materials to ask visitors to consider how humans interact with nature or to see the world through the eyes of a bear.
(Photo Credit: Briony Douglas)

‘Root Cabin’ by Liz Wreford and Peter Sampson, Public City Architecture (Winnipeg, Canada)
Location: We Brew Cafe, Harbourfront Centre
Like a constellation, Root Cabin is a mystery waiting to be discovered. Coloured cuts of wood can be seen through gaps in an alluring pile of weathered roots. When further explored by a visitor, the colours reveal a void that can be inhabited, and an iconic, nostalgic form of Canadian dwelling emerges.
(Photo Credit: Geoff Fitzgerald)

‘Winter FanFare’ by Thena Tak (Vancouver, Canada)
Location: HTO Park
Winter FanFare is a series of rotated fan-sculptures that collectively form a circulation playscape for winter exploration. In the spirit of the competition’s theme, ‘constellations’, Winter FanFare deploys individual fan-sculptures to create clusters of pockets where the public can meander through or run in and around.
(Photo Credit: Briony Douglas)

‘Black Bamboo’ by Bennet Marburger and Ji Zhang of 2408 Studio (Hangzhou Shi, China)
Location: Lower Simcoe Wavedeck
Black Bamboo is an installation made from 90 painted bamboo poles freely arranged to form a framework in an abstract cubic shape. Like the constellations, the cube as a shape only comes into existence within our heads. Black Bamboo is accessible and invites visitors to walk or climb through it.
(Photo Credit: Geoff Fitzgerald)

“Ensemble” by João Araújo Sousa and Joana Correia Silva, JJs Arquitectura (Porto, Portugal)
Location: Toronto Music Garden East
Ensemble merges architecture, music and astronomy to explore the dialogue between humans and the urban environment. The installation is inspired by wind chimes, which visitors can touch to create beautiful abstract compositions and ever-changing soundscapes.
(Credit: Geoff Fitzgerald)