BLA students’ “OneCanada” Winter Stations installation symbolizes a collective responsibility for preserving Indigenous traditional knowledge

Posted on Monday, March 21st, 2022

People holding hands in front of "OneCanada" design installation at Woodbine Beach
The UofG team in front of the Winter Stations "OneCanada" installation (photo credit: Anahita Tayouri).

Congratulations to the “OneCanada” team of several second year Bachelor of Landscape Architecture students who designed and installed their winning submission for the 2022 Winter Stations International Design Competition.  Six installations were unveiled on February 22nd, 2022 and will remain on view at Woodbine Beach until April 8th, 2022.

Winter Stations is an open, single-stage, international design competition held annually in Toronto, Ontario, where participants are tasked with designing temporary winter art installations incorporating the existing lifeguard towers located in the city’s Kew and Woodbine beaches.  “OneCanada”, was one of several Guelph LA student submissions, and among several hundred submissions from artists and designers, worldwide.  Guelph students participated as an extra-curricular activity to their coursework and were the only representatives from the profession of landscape architecture provided an installation opportunity.

Aerial view of OneCanada“ installation at Woodbine Beaches in TorontoImage:  Aerial view of "OneCanada“ installation at Woodbine Beach in Toronto (photo credit:  Jonathan Sabeniano).

The BLA2 students’ concept revolved around interpreting and appreciating the inspirational example of resilience of the Indigenous people of Canada, who withstand adversity and persevere through generations of oppressive colonial policies. The installation seeks to symbolize bridging a gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through gathering, accomplished through the layering of the seven grandfather teachings (wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, and truth).  These are represented by seven white rings and their situational siting, embracing a Woodbine Beach life-guard station, represents the collective responsibility in the “guarding of life.”  The seven teachings originated with the Anishinaabeg and have been passed down through generations ensuring the survival for all Indigenous peoples.  The colour of orange, typically used in Canada’s National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, is integrated through the installation’s structural elements, referencing redressing of historic wrongs, the right of self-determination, and through the elements’ rope patterning and texturing, Indigenous culture, itself. The installation symbolizes responsibility, integration, the strengthening of relationships, and the protection of culture through the gathering and unity between peoples; it aims to symbolize movement to a new relationship, one based on mutual respect.

Rear view of OneCanada installation facing Lake OntarioImage:  Rear view of "OneCanada" installation facing Lake Ontario (photo credit:  Amirali Pirouzbakhsh).

The “OneCanada” student project team consists of University of Guelph BLA2 students Alex Feenstra, Megan Haralovich, Zhengyang Hua, Noah Tran, Haley White & Connor Winrow; advised by Assistant Professor, Afshin Ashari, and Associate Professor, Sean Kelly, and the many, many family members who pitched in.

Special thanks to SEDRD’s BLA2 class, Tacoma Engineers Inc., and Associate Professors Nadia Amoroso and Sheri Longboat.

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