Calgary's Canstruction builds on previous years

Calgary's best and brightest engineers, architects, designers and constructors have put their artistic can-do to the test. The third annual Canstruction charity event showcases elaborate artistic sculptures made of canned goods and other non-perishables destined for the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank.




The lobby of Calgary City Hall will be home to the towering sculptures from Feb. 22 to March 1. This year, 16 teams vie for coveted titles such as Best Meal and Best Use of Labels.

Participants have taken this year's competition theme-building a better future-in a number of directions. Some entrants focus on changing technology. Bantrel's piece, entitled The Future Can Be Rosie, is a giant Rosie the Robot from the television cartoon, The Jetsons. In CANadarm: Working Towards the Future, Spartan Controls has created a can version of Canada's big contribution to space exploration.

For The City of Calgary, a better future involves recycling while Fluor Canada Ltd. chose to focus on the future of art and culture. Other entrants have transformed soup cans into a giant bowl of soup and canned fish into a towering killer whale rising from the sea.

With two more teams than last year, Canstruction Calgary 2008 chair Sharleen Decelles expected to see about 4,000 more cans for the food bank. To her amazement, this year's competition has brought in a whopping 10,000 more cans than last year. In 2007, the event brought in 59,200 pounds of food.

Part of the reason for the growth in donations is the increased elaborateness of the pieces. Entrants are usually hooked by the challenge and fun of the event and for many, this is their third year in the competition. Design/build experience in the unconventional medium and watching what others have done lets them stretch their imaginations a little further each year.

Canstruction began in 1993 in New York and has since spread to 70 North American cities. The teams participating in Calgary include firms from the oil and gas, construction, architectural and engineering industries, as well as a children's team.

You can view the sculptures in the main lobby of Calgary City Hall until March 1, when they'll be "de-canstructed" to the benefit of hungry Calgarians. Sculptures from past years can be seen at

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