Upcoming Events

Dec 13 2021 Calls / Competitions /

2021 Gingerbread City | Call for Submissions

Registration deadline (physical storefront): Dec 6
Submissions due (virtual): Dec 13
Drop Off for storefront display: Dec 15-18
Gingerbread Showcase: Dec 18 - Jan 4, at the Maker Bean Cafe (1052 Bloor St W)

Calling all makers and bakers! Get those ovens ready because Gingerbread City is back for another year of delicious structures and edible creations! A gingerbread showcase like no other, Gingerbread City brings together the TSA community in support of a local charity advancing work in housing and shelter. This year, funds raised will go towards supporting Red Door Family Shelter, a local organization that has provided emergency shelter and support for women and children affected by domestic abuse, families experiencing a housing crisis, and refugee claimants with nowhere else to turn.

This year’s city will be hybrid, with both a virtual display on our website and a physical one in the storefront window of the Maker Bean Cafe (1052 Bloor St W). Pre-registration is required by December 6 if you wish to display in storefront, and all digital submissions are required by December 13.  

2021 Theme: Tastes Like Home 

A theme so relevant we couldn’t help but doing it again! This year we are asking all our submitters to reflect on the theme home, and what home means to you. Whether it is a house or a tower, a room or landscape, what feels like home can be so many different things! We encourage you as well to think about the theme not only in the shape of your submission but in the edible components you use – perhaps a family recipe or an ingredient that instantly takes you home. 

Looking for inspiration? Check out last year’s amazing Gingerbread City creations.



Submission Guidelines 

Gingerbread City is all about having fun, so we didn’t want to bog it down with a lot of rules. We only ask that all visible elements in your creations are edible and that they incorporate a red door into their design – a nod to this year’s featured local charity!

For Physical Storefront + Virtual submission, please pre-register here prior to December 6 so we can plan for the exhibit! Photographs, completed submission form and description will be due December 13, and delivery to exhibition location will be between Friday, December 17 and Saturday, December 18. 

For Virtual-Only submissions, no pre-registration is required. Please submit your photographs, description and complete form by December 13.

Important Dates

  • Pre-registration deadline (physical only): Dec 6
  • Submissions deadline (for online showcase): Dec 13
  • Drop Off for physical storefront display: Dec 15-18 
  • Gingerbread Showcase: Dec 18 – Jan 4


We’ll need some photos for the showcase! Below is a list of what you’ll need to submit by December 13.

  • A completed submission form (fill out the digital form below)
  • Up to 5 images (A mix of vertical and horizontal formats works best)
  • Optional: Want to send us something extra special? Your submissions can include up to two bonus elements. So whether it be a video, flythrough, architectural plans, instructions on how to replicate them or a whimsical collage, get creative and surprise us!

Pre-Registration and Submission Links

Physical Storefront + Virtual Submissions:

Pre-Register for Physical + Virtual Submit Physical + Virtual


Virtual-Only Submissions:

Submit Virtual Only



Supporting a great organization: Red Door Family Shelter


Gingerbread City is a completely free event with no entry or viewing fee. In lieu of an entry fee, we encourage all participants – and gingerbread supporters – to give a donation to this year’s showcased organization: Red Door Family Shelter.

A locally based charity, Red Door Family Shelter has provided emergency shelter and support for women and children affected by domestic abuse, families experiencing a housing crisis, and refugee claimants with nowhere else to turn. Funds donated to the shelter will directly contribute to their work in providing emergency shelter and critical support services to families seeking assistance. From ensuring that their clients receive access to counselling, immigration, childcare, and medical services, to providing assistance in securing safe, permanent accommodation, the shelter gives residents the resources, support, and time they need to heal.

Donate Now!



Our 2021 Storefront Host: The Maker Bean Cafe

Our first physical storefront showcase for Gingerbread City, happening December 18 – January 4, will be generously hosted by the Maker Bean Cafe (1052 Bloor Street West). Check them out here!

Tips, Tricks and Resources 

Gingerbread can be tricky building material, so we’ve put together a list of tips, tricks and resources (including some TSA-tested recipes) to help you when creating your gingerbread creations. 

Tips and tricks

  • Plan in advance: Between templates, baking and decorating a gingerbread house can take some time so make sure to plan in advance and give yourself plenty of time to let things cool and set. 
  • Make some templates: Cutting out a cardboard template will make sure your pieces are a good fit and that you aren’t missing walls as you’re topping off your building! Bonus tip, when gingerbread is out of the oven you can put your template on top to recut any edges that have gotten misshapen. You can also use a microplane to sand an edge straight.
  • Gingerbread and Royal Icing: Good building materials are key for structural integrity, so make sure you have a good gingerbread and royal icing recipe! We’ve tested a few recipes for you (placed in the resources below) which worked out well for us (and were super tasty too!). 
  • Be patient: When assembling your gingerbread creation, be patient! Let the royal icing harden completely before putting on things like roofs or decorating, otherwise you risk structural collapse! 
  • Moisture control: Even in gingerbread, water penetration can be a problem! Humidity softens gingerbread and compromises its integrity, so make sure you are keeping your gingerbread somewhere dry if you want it to last.
  • Have fun!: Gingerbread is about imaginative creations and having fun, so don’t sweat the small details and just have some fun! 


  • Where to Get supplies
    • If you’re looking to get materials and baking tools from suppliers based in the area, here’s a list of some stores in the GTA:
      • McCall’s in Mississauga, which offers curbside pickup or delivery.
      • Nella, which offers curbside pickup at three Toronto locations.
      • Madame Gateaux, an east-end supplier that offers online ordering with curbside pickup.
      • The Cookery, which offers curbside pickup at two Toronto locations.
      • Tap Phong in Chinatown West, which offers curbside pickup.
      • Bulk Barn, several locations in GTA, which has an excellent candy selection and also baking supplies.
  • Recipes
    • Gingerbread: A quick recipe that will give you a well-spiced dough that’s great for building (and snacking!)
    • Royal Icing: Make sure to use royal icing to keep everything together—it’s the glue that will bind the best! 
  • Tools of the Trade:
    • You don’t need to invest in specialty made pastry bags to get those icicles—a few kitchen staples can get you ready to pipe to your heart’s content!
    • A few tips and tricks to help plan your gingerbread structure (make sure not to try and do everything in one day!)
  • Photography Tips:
    • Make a Plan
      • Consider how you want your gingerbread creation to be shown: will a bird’s eye view or an eye-level picture best capture the different shapes and decorative elements? Do you want to show your structure in context, or get close up to it?
    • Lighting
      • Use multiple light sources: It’s important to have at least two light sources when taking pictures of your model, using whatever you have in your own home, whether it’s a reading light, spotlight, or even a candle! This will help to add more depth to your picture, along with helping show the different textures.
      • Do you want your gingerbread to be backlit, with soft or bright lighting? The best way to tell is to experiment! 
      • No need for flash! A lot of the time, the flash light can be too harsh and might not work best to show your creation. 



Are there any size restrictions?

There are no height restrictions in our Gingerbread City! For physical submissions that will be displayed at the storefront, we recommend the base sizes 6” x 6”, 1’ x 1’, or 2’ x 2’ – this makes it easier for us to plan for the display layout! However, if you would like to make your gingerbread creation another size for in-person display, please let us know in the registration form.

If you are planning to submit only online, there are no size restrictions to your gingerbread creations.  That being said, if you are new to gingerbread we recommend keeping your creations to no bigger than 24”x24”x24” – this will make the spans a bit easier to deal with and make sure it fits in your oven! 

Can I only use gingerbread and do I have to bake it myself?

Not at all! Whether prefab or custom build, gingerbread or another sweet creation, the choice is yours! Whatever you decide to do, just make sure your creation is reflective of your design intent and that it is edible. We highly encourage material explorations so while gingerbread is a strong and reliable structural material, feel free to explore alternatives! 

I’m not an architect, can I still submit? 

Everyone is invited to take part—you don’t have to be a TSA member (or an architect) to participate! 

Are team submissions acceptable? 

We’ve designed this year’s showcase for maximum flexibility, so whether you are an individual or a team (perhaps a studio or a family?), all submissions are welcome. Just make sure to let us know when you complete the submission form!



About this Initiative

Now in its second year, the Toronto Society of Architects’ Gingerbread City is a unique creative showcase and community building event bringing together architects and gingerbread lovers alike for a little fun and innovative city building all while supporting a good cause. This event builds upon the local Annual East End Architects Gingerbread Competition, an event organized by MOSS SUND Architects started in 2017 to bring neighboring studios together in support of a local charity.