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Toronto’s lakefront hosts pop-up pavilions that brighten the spring

Toronto’s annual winter stations competition is back, bringing experimental shelters to Lake Ontario’s shorefront, including one inspired by the city’s informal mascot…

This year’s crop of eight pop-up pavilions riff on the theme, ‘radiance’, and will be at Woodbine Beach until 3 April. They include Conrad – a giant raccoon-shaped shelter by Novak Djogo & Daniel Joshua Vanderhorst.

‘Trash pandas’, as the city’s raucous racoons are affectionately known, have become synonymous with the city and its sense of industry and adaptability. The shelter is a lighthearted ‘monument’ to a dead racoon that caught Torontonians’ attention back in 2015 and led to a surge of support for the local wildlife centre. It also cuts some keen angles, with a fabricated wooden frame covered in translucent siding.

Delighthouse, Nick Green & Greig Pirrie (United Kingdom). Photography: Winter Stations

‘Delighthouse’ by UK designers Nick Green & Greig Pirrie is part lighthouse, part helter-skelter, and has been given a vibrant paint job that cuts through the winter gloom. ‘Rays of colour fold around a timber tower standing proudly in the distance,’ says the studio, while the tower itself is inspired by the lighthouses that dot coastal Canada.

Local architect Scott Shields designed ‘House’, a timber wendy house that pays homage to the city’s distinct neighbourhoods. The structure’s siding is cut with lettering and backed by kaleidoscopic glass, playing with the idea of emitting and transmitting light.

The art pavilions will until 3 April, after which they’ll be relocated to 1381 Lakeshore Rd. E in Mississauga. Peek at the gallery for the full set of 2023 pavilions.

The (Home), Scott Shields Architects (Canada). Photography: Winter Stations

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