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Monday 11th, March 2013 / 22:14


“Wouldn’t it be fun to build some stuff out of cans?”

Julie Brewster, a development coordinator for the Calgary Food Bank, describes CANstruction’s Gizmos and Gadgets event, an exciting fundraiser and competition happening right on Calgary’s doorstep.

“CANstruction is an international organization and it’s an organization of construction and engineering companies that do something for their community… the 17 companies involved have to do their own fundraising.”

CAN2Teams fundraise in the form of canned food donations that will become the materials they have available for designing complex and intricate structures out of as their submission in the contest. After the competition, the Calgary Food Bank “de-constructs” the sculptures and uses the food for things like food hampers that will help feed as many Calgarians as possible. Happening annually, the event has seen incredible growth. As Brewster observes, “It has been quite successful. We’re increasing the number of companies that participate every year… Over the past seven years, we’ve raised over $688,000.”

This year they have seen a record number of teams jump onboard to compete and this is also the first time that it’s been available to audiences “in a truly public place. Having it at Southcentre Mall, for us, is huge. Where people can see it… think of it as education for kids. They build stuff. It’s like giant Lego, right?”

March 14 will be the official day for building. All the teams have their flats of cans delivered to an open court in Southcentre Mall. They can begin working on their construction and “put their skills to work in a playful type of way,” as Brewster describes it. This year’s theme is Gizmos and Gadgets and celebrity judges will rate the submissions within the context of those guidelines. There are multiple aspects of the criteria that teams can work toward. Brewster says usually the teams tend to focus on one main consideration, with titles like Best Use of Theme, or Structural Ingenuity.

CAN3One of the main goals for this event is to raise the public awareness of food accessibility and stimulate more donations in a fun, creative way. Brewster sums it up in a simple sentence: “What we say at the food bank is that we would love to work ourselves out of a job. To eradicate hunger would be our end goal… we would like to make sure there is no family in need.”

CANstruction will take place on March 14th and the results will be displayed until the 21st at Southcentre Mall.

By Amanda Taylor

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