The Beach BIA to launch Beach Glow light-art installation displays this weekend

The Beach Glow installation in Woodbine Park at Queen Street East and Eastern Avenue (southeast corner) is powered by solar panels. Photo by Alan Shackleton.

By AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Beach BIA will be brightening up the neighbourhood through its Beach GLOW initiative, a series of interactive light art installations.

The project, which has been in the works since 2022, is funded by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario’s Tourism Relief Fund.

Beach GLOW aims to brighten up life in the community with hopes of inspiring residents and tourists to spend more time on Queen Street East following the hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the height of the pandemic, small local businesses had the highest level of restrictions placed on them which resulted in a lot of business turnover, according to The Beach BIA Executive Director Paul Bieksa.

“It was unprecedented times,” said Bieksa. “There was a lot of forced isolation. Plus our area is also susceptible to tourism dependency because of the fluctuation of the seasons.”

With most people opting to visit the area in the summer while foot traffic tapers off in the winter months, coupled with much of the summer visitors choosing to spend most of their time on the beach itself, Bieksa said he believes that beautifying the neighbourhood will “give people more of a reason to come up to Queen Street”.

There are currently five installations across Queen Street. They are located on the southeast corner of Queen Street East and Kingston Road; Kew Garden Park; Ivan Forrest Gardens; the Queen Street East and Kippendavie Avenue intersection; as well as Woodbine Park.

Although the project is yet to be officially launched, the installation process at Woodbine Park has received some criticism from a few locals who are unhappy with a solar panel fixture at the corner of the park.

“The deck is not attractive and is unsightly,” said one Beaches resident. “I’m not sure what the point of it is. It doesn’t fit visually in the park.”

Some residents are not happy with the installation of this solar panel built to power the Beach Glow art installation in Woodbine Park (southeast corner of Queen Street East and Eastern Avenue). Photo by Alan Shackleton.

Notably, much of the criticism comes as a result of a lack of information about the solar panel’s purpose considering the structure “appeared suddenly, without explanation or communication.”

However, Bieksa told Beach Metro Community News that he believes many residents will appreciate the use of solar panels to power this project.

“The area is strongly in favour of any initiative that is environmentally friendly, so the BIA maintains that throughout our work,” said Bieksa.

“We’re always trying to look for avenues of sustainability. We’re using a renewable resource to bring joy to the neighbourhood.”

Light-art installations have gained much popularity since the onset of the pandemic. But unlike other installations which have been temporary, Beach GLOW is built to last for five to 10 years and will become a part of the neighbourhood.

“You will see variations of these lights throughout the year,” said Bieksa. “And each of these installations will have an interactive component and they should react to the presence of people in some fun way.”

The installations were designed by WeatherstonBruer Associates.

The Beach BIA also partnered with ANNEX Industries to bring this project to life.

“We made sure that the contracts were local,” said Bieksa. “We really wanted to support the locals. That’s our initiative so we took that same lens and applied it to how we contracted.”

Beach GLOW will officially launch on Easter Sunday, March 31. There should be large crowds along Queen Street East on Sunday as the Toronto Beaches Lions Easter Parade will also be taking place that day.

For more information, please go to The Beach BIA Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/makewaves.TO/

– Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.

 


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