Toronto is Getting Light and Sound Activated Seesaws Next to the Waterfront


The multitude of exciting events that take over Toronto during the warmer months may be behind us now, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to look forward to during the winter. 

Toronto always has something going on, and the arrival of the colder seasons also means the arrival of Winter Stations

In partnership with the Waterfront BIA, the event is an international competition and exhibition that receives design submissions from around the world.

It brings imaginative and unique art installations to the unused lifeguard stations along Woodbine Beach

The winter art festival will be in Toronto from February 17 to March 30, and the lineup of installations has yet to be announced. 

We do know, however, that there will be a series of exhibits leading up to the February Family Day launch of Winter Stations 

The first is called Impulse.

winter stations toronto

Originally presented as part of the sixth edition of Luminothérapie in 2015 and 2016 at the Place des Festivals in Montreal, Impulse is a series of 15 seesaws that form units of light and sound activated by the public. 

By playing on the seesaws, participants have the ability to create music and art all at once.

“Impulse embodies ideas of serialism, repetition and variation to produce both intense and calming zones,” according to its description.

The seesaws will be located outside the Harbourfront Centre from October 25 to November 12. 

The second pre-Winter Stations art installation is called Loop.

winter stations toronto

Also originally on display at Luminothérapie in 2015 and 2016, Loop can be described as a cross between a music box, a zoetrope (a 19th-century optical toy) and a railway handcar. 

When activated, it creates animated fairy tale loops.

In order to activate it, a group of people must work a hand lever, which then reveals a lit-up image cylinder that creates the illusion of motion in the drawings.

The public can control the speed of the images, the frequency at which the light flickers and the rhythm of the audio composition. 

Loop will be on display at York Street Park from January 15 to February 8.

“As an organization, Winter Stations has proven successful in using public art to draw people back down to the water’s edge in the colder months. As we explore ways to extend our partnership, we wanted to focus on creating more opportunities for artistic intervention,” Tim Kocur, Executive Director of Waterfront BIA, said in a press release.

“We also wanted to create a distinct experience from the beach by transitioning to invited exhibits.”

Photos by
Ulysse Lemerise / OSA