Upcoming Events

Dec 14 2020 Calls / Competitions /

TSA Gingerbread City Showcase 2020

Submission Deadline: December 14, EOD

2020 has been a challenging year filled with unexpected turns, so let’s end it on a sweet note with our first-ever TSA Gingerbread City!

Looking to bring our community together for a little fun (and a chance for some friendly competition!), we are inviting you to design and build imaginative—and edible—creations as part of our first-ever TSA gingerbread showcase. Submissions received will be showcased on our website as well as on social media starting December 17 and all the way through to the new year.  So get creative and share your imaginative bakes with colleagues, friends, and family in this year’s gingerbread city! 

This year’s TSA Gingerbread City expands on the Annual East End Architects Gingerbread Competition, a local event organized by MOSS SUND Architects started in 2017 to bring neighbouring studios together for a little fun and in support of a local charity. 

2020 Theme: Home

In a year where our homes have been top of mind, this year’s gingerbread creations should explore what home means to you. This can be interpreted in any way that you like, and we encourage you to think outside the box. A gingerbread metropolis is one that is filled with comfortable rooms, whimsical structures, cozy furniture, and welcoming landscapes! More variety means a more dynamic, sweet city!

Entries will be showcased to highlight different categories such as exquisite craftsmanship, scenes that convey a strong festive mood, among others—keep this in mind when building!

Supporting a good cause: City of Toronto’s COVID-19 Relief and Recovery

The impact of the pandemic has been particularly acute for our city’s most vulnerable populations who face increased uncertainty as COVID-19 numbers rise and the winter season quickly approaches.

In lieu of an entry fee – or buying a ticket to our 2020 BASH – we encourage you to instead make a donation to support the City of Toronto’s COVID-19  Relief and Recovery Fund. Suggested amount is $35 (equivalent to a BASH ticket) per participant, but we of course encourage you to donate more if you would like! 

Funds donated to the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 response will directly contribute to the delivery of vital, community-focused services, both now and during recovery. From food support for the most vulnerable and personal protective equipment for frontline staff to much needed supplies and services for shelters during rapid rehousing, designating your gift allows the City to direct your donation to the highest priority need during this evolving situation.


**Please note that some of the required fields on this form (Where to Give and Program) have already been filled to ensure that funds go directly to the COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund

Submission Requirements 

This gingerbread showcase is all about having some fun, so we didn’t want to bog it down with a lot of rules. We only ask that all visible elements in your gingerbread creations are edible and that submissions are received by the TSA no later than December 14, 2020 at midnight



A virtual gingerbread city means you get to keep your creation, but we’ll need some photos for the showcase! Below is a list of what you’ll need to submit by December 14.

  • A completed submission form (download as a fillable pdf or fill out the digital form)
  • 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 one bonus element. So whether it be flythrough, architectural plans, instructions on how to replicate them or a whimsical collage, get creative and surprise us!

Ready to submit? Use the button below to complete your submission form, or download a PDF version and send it (along with any bonus content) to tsa@torontosocietyofarchitects.ca

Tips, tricks, and resources 

Gingerbread can be tricky building material, so we’ve put together a list of tips, tricks and resources (includes 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
    • Here’s a comprehensive list of grocery delivery services in the Toronto area, so you don’t have to leave the house to get baking supplies from your favourite local grocer! You can also place online orders for pickup at BulkBarn, which has locations across the GTA, or place an order for curbside pickup with Albion Baking Supplies in Etobicoke.
    • If you’re looking to get 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.
  • Recipes
  • Expert Advice:
  • 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! If you’re using your phone to document your submission, the flash light is often too harsh and might not work best to show your creation. 


Are there any size restrictions?

With it being a digital year, there are no size restrictions to your gingerbread creations. However, 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! 

Do I have to bake my own gingerbread?

Not at all! Whether prefab or custom build, the choice is yours! Whatever you decide to do, just make sure your creation is reflective of your design intent!

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?), all submissions are welcome. Just make sure to let us know in the submissions form!