Ashbridge’s Bay art installations wow beach goers for another year

Matthew Bingley/ Global News

For another year, Torontonians are being encouraged to escape their winter doldrums by taking in public art at the beach.

What began with a conversation about how to use the city’s vacant beaches in the colder months, has led to five years of Winter Stations.

The public art festival sifted through more than 300 applications resulting in six pieces which have now been installed at the Ashbridge’s Bay beach. The artists come from Poland, Mexico, and features work from students at Sheridan and Humber Colleges.

“We’re getting a huge amount of attention for it and giving a lot of young artists and designers a chance to break into public art,” said Jim Collins, Winter Stations administrator.

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While Collins said it was important to see the beach used in the winter, he admitted setting it up this year was no easy task, especially with last Tuesday’s blizzard.

Still, Collins said, it was easier to work through the storm than to wait for clear skies.

“The Cavalcade installation,” he said pointing down the beach, “that involved in excess of 80 four-foot poles to be dug into the sand.”

With temperatures dipping well below zero over the weekend, Collins said it would have been impossible to finish.

“If we tried to do it today, it’s concrete,” he said.

Matthew Bingley/ Global News. Matthew Bingley/ Global News

This year, the theme of the installations is migration. Collins said artists were allowed to draw from it as literally as they pleased.

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“We’ve got the butterflies which refer to nature’s migration or something more political like ‘Above the Wall’ here, about immigration,” he said.

Beaches-East York city councillor Brad Bradford said he was happy with what he had seen so far. Even more, Bradford was pleased to see people given a reason to come to the area in the winter.

“Having everyone come down to the beaches in the winter time and experiencing this landscape in a different way is something that’s very special,” said Bradford.

The installation will officially open Monday and it will remain for the next six weeks.

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