Ends on August 7, 2018

OPEN CALL: Ontario Place is seeking the imagination and creativity of Ontarians to take inspiration from our natural winter landscape and submit a proposal for the Winter Light Exhibition. Submissions for illuminated sculptures that shape, transmit, explore and/or contain light are now being accepted for the event, which will run from November 2018 to March 2019 throughout the 15-acre West Island, Ontario Place; located at 955 Lakeshore Blvd, Toronto, ON

The curatorial theme is Disruptive Engagement, further defined as causing or tending to cause disruption. Mimicking Ontario's wintry landscape of brisk wind, ice and extreme temperatures, we look to explore how light flows and fractures within the landscape and the impact this engagement has on the casual viewer. We want to explore the dichotomy of the impact of light and the forms it can take in a time of year dominated by darkness. Utilizing creativity, innovation, intensity and discovery, creators from all artistic streams are invited to submit new or pre-existing pieces that meet the curatorial theme and keywords. Taking place on the 15-acre West Island of Ontario Place, featuring both urban and natural elements, there is opportunity for works of varied styles and sizes. Applicants are encouraged to explore and combine unconventional materials and methods that respond and to light in different ways. Evaluations will be made based on artistic merit, experience, viability and consistency with the curatorial theme.

With a mandate to provide talented and creative people in the Province with the opportunity to exhibit their works and their abilities, the Winter Light Exhibition hosted by Ontario Place continues its momentum from last year’s exhibition which revolved around the theme of winter light. This exhibition will generate and continue to build both interest and awareness of Ontario Place as an explorative public space.

Keywords: Winter, Innovation, Light, Design, Resilient, Future, Culture, Exploration and Discovery

Project Timeline
Submission Period Start:      June 22, 2018, 12:01AM EST
Submission Period End:       August 7, 2018 at Midnight EST

Evaluation Period:                 August 10, 2018 to September 7, 2018

Awarded By:                          September 12, 2018 (follow up site visits will be scheduled)

Installation Timeline              November 2018
Exhibition Dates:                   November 17, 2018 to March 17, 2019

Applicants are invited to visit the site at their leisure. Should an artist wish for a guided tour of the exhibit locations a scheduled visit must be made in advance by contacting WLE2018@ontarioplace.com. Photos of the prospective exhibit locations and a map showing these locations can be found here: http://ontarioplace.com/en/winter-light-locations/

Relevant Budget Information
A proposal may receive up to a maximum of $7500 CAD including HST. We are happy to write letters of support for applicants seeking funding from elsewhere. Applicants will require OPC approval for all corporate branding requests for inclusion as part of a proposed piece. Ontario Place is not responsible for loss or damage of an exhibit for the duration of the exhibition, including install and tear down.  

Please note that this is a maximum amount and will be defined according to:

  • A review of the detailed budget to be submitted with your proposal;
  • The scale, scope of work and development stage of you proposed piece;
  • the work involved in producing the project and/or installing the work; and
  • the work involved in maintaining the piece throughout the exhibition period;
  • Each applicant must provide OPC with all relevant engineering certificates, insurance, permits, etc. prior to final approval of the piece and receivership of funds.

Tips for Funding Support

  • Artists in Ontario: Did you know you can get exhibition grants? Visit the OAC website page for information on how you can get support for your piece. 
  • Funding for Artists Participating in Exhibitions - http://interaccess.org/submissions

What makes a good Ontario Place open call proposal? 

We are looking for proposals that fit the Winter Light Exhibition curatorial theme Disruptive Engagement - Light, Innovation, Exploration, Imagination, Culture and Winter.

  • Proposals must bring together design and light in a creative way that not only responds to, but meets, the curatorial theme
  • Due to the geographical location of Ontario Place, proposals must include planning and install that takes into account the extreme environmental elements of winter at the waterfront. Ontario Place can reach temperatures of extreme cold, high winds and sporadic inclement weather.
  • Successful proposals must have a significant scope of visual impact and be pleasing to the eye during the day and at night
  • Proposals must meet safety standards, electrical codes and other reasonably feasible requirements for acceptance.
  • Proposals should be developed taking into account that Ontario Place is a free, public space open from 5am till 12am and experiences heavy foot traffic. While there is Security that roams onsite, exhibits should be robust enough to withstand the elements and risk of exposure to the public.
  • An aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye during day as well as night. What will the piece look like when it is daylight? Daytime aesthetics is an important criterion for this year.
  • Details as to how the Exhibit will be self supported and free-standing (weighted as needed for stability).  Minimal ground penetration may be approved dependent on the final location of the Exhibit.

Exhibit Locations

Ontario Place has identified up to 15 potential locations for the exhibits. Applicants are invited to schedule a guided visit at WLE2018@ontarioplace.com. Photos of prospective exhibit locations can be found here: http://ontarioplace.com/en/winter-light-locations/

  • Each applicant is encouraged to identify their top three preferred locations as there is no immediate guarantee a first choice will be awarded,
  • OPC will provide final location assignments after the exhibits have been chosen; therefore, each applicant is encouraged to incorporate adaptive designs to deliver the final piece.
  • OPC will work with the artist to ensure the location supports the success of the exhibit
  • Each applicant should provide details as to how the Exhibit will be self supported and free-standing (weighted as needed for stability).  Minimal ground penetration may be approved dependent on the final location of the Exhibit.

Submission Guidelines

Applicants must include in their proposal:

  • Bio and current CV (including examples of previous works)
  • A description of the proposed piece and how it meets the curatorial theme
  • Project Delivery and Installation plan that includes, but not limited to, fabrication timeline, a load in timeline, onsite build timeline,      contingency planning (production/build delays and weather, etc.), breakout of resources and labour that the artist will have onsite and removal plan
  • A description of how the design and build of the exhibit address the outdoor winter elements including freezing rain, strong winds and extreme cold temperatures
  • A description of the aesthetic of the Exhibit during the day and during the night. Daytime aesthetics is an important criterion for this year.
  • Details as to how the Exhibit will be self supported and free-standing (weighted as needed for stability).  Minimal ground penetration may be approved dependent on the final location of the Exhibit.
  • Applicable permits the applicant will secure, engineering certifications required, etc.
  • Project Budget: a detailed itemized budget must be provided with the proposal
  • A Mock Up of Design (Images and specifications for the proposed piece)
  • Material List (materials must be suitable for outdoor winter weather, wet environments, etc.)
  • The exhibit will be accessible at all times of the day. Visual aesthetics and durability must therefore be considerations for all submissions.

Applicants who do not adhere to these criteria will be disregarded. Ontario Place reserves the right to engage specific artists should it be required to fulfill the deliverables outlined. While we appreciate all those who apply, only successful applicants will be contacted. This is a temporary exhibition that will run from November 2018 until March 2019. Ontario Place will in no way own the piece post-exhibit unless otherwise discussed with the applicant directly.

Participant Engagement

Creatives that are successful in their submission will be asked for the following:


  • Bios, Photos, Social Media Handles and Formal Imagery to be used on didactic signage and on social media to promote the Exhibition
  • Written consent to market and promote the individual and collective pieces as part of a marketing campaign in support of the Winter Light Exhibition and Winter Program at Ontario Place
  • Consider media requests either onsite, in studio or on the phone
  • Support the Exhibition by utilizing key messages and social handles that will be provided in an Artist Kit


  • A mandatory light test will take place prior to the start of the Exhibition. Each Artist is expected to be onsite for this
  • A review and sign off on an agreement that outlines both the Artist and OPC’s deliverables including site access, OPC policies and procedures, payment information, etc.
  • Address maintenance calls in a timely fashion to maintain the aesthetic of the exhibit
  • Provide a post-mortem at the end of the Exhibition (quick survey) in order to continue to build the Exhibition in the future

Ask questions! If you are unsure about an aspect of your proposal, please use the comments section below and/or email WLE2018@ontarioplace.com.