Guerrilla Fortress Chills Leslieville
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Guerrilla Fortress Chills Leslieville

Last night a gaggle of H2O architects descended upon the quiet Leslieville intersection of Queen St. East and Jones in order to convert a barren streetcar shelter into a snow palace. Organized by the TPSC subcommittee “Art Attack,” the event was designed to enhance the original reasons behind Toronto’s boxed bus stops—being shelter—while replacing ad space with icy ingenuity.
Torontoist joined a team of over a dozen amidst last night’s storm for the construction launch where the first (and only) two rules were mutually decided upon: 1. Do not obscure commuters’ view of oncoming streetcars and 2. Avoid at all costs the salty slurry. Early attempts of solid fortitude were shaky, with participants eagerly tossing flurries of slush in a race to cover up a garish mobile phone ad. But within minutes a pecking order was established and teams alternated between foraging for frosty materials and constructing solid bricks of packing snow.

The group was a little skeptical at first about the feasibility of the project, but when the first few building blocks were churned out everyone’s spirits were lifted and Torontoist was left wondering, what can’t you do with tupperware?
Before long several well-engineered walls encompassed the structure and passing strangers ranging from war veterans to individuals used to a completely different kind of snow—you know, blow—stopped to chat and offer us advice on the best way to apply mortar. Even several squad cars of Toronto’s finest swung by to take a peak (or a picture or two) and one friendly officer gave us an inside tip on the best place to score premium white stuff in the area.
Three hours and twenty four numb feet later the project was near completion. Featuring mixed media design from crumbling columns to finely laid rows of identical ice blocks, Jackson Pollack-esque food colouring decorations, a disturbingly giddy snowman and a completely furnished interior, our snow fort spared no luxury. Property values in the Leslieville area are expected to increase exponentially with this latest addition to the neighbourhood, though the housing market may experience a bit of a melt-down come late march.
Torontoist can only hope that this fine fortress survives a week before a wandering gang of schoolyard toughs make powder of it. For more pictures check here.
Photos by Dillon McManamy