Get those ovens ready because TSA Gingerbread City is back for its third consecutive year full of delicious structures and edible creations.
This community building event brings together architects, designers and gingerbread lovers alike to create whimsical and unique edible creations that inspire and delight. As with previous years, this year’s Gingerbread City is a hybrid event with both an in-person display at Maker Bean Café (1052 Bloor St. W.) as well as a virtual showcase on the TSA website.
Individual & Team Submissions
Our open-to-everyone category, where the only rule is that all visible elements should be edible! Whether done individually or in teams, we invite you to create fantastical gingerbread structures—real or imagined—that are both delicious to eat and a delight to see. Submissions will be featured on the TSA website as a virtual showcase with the option to also drop it off at the Maker Bean Café for in-person display. This category is open to all and free to enter.
Registration is required by December 4 if you wish to display at the Maker Bean Café, and all digital submissions are required by December 11.
Gingerbread City is all about having fun, so we won’t bog it down with a lot of rules. We only ask that all visible elements in your creations are edible. For those looking to display in-person, we also ask that you keep your creation’s base to no larger than 2’x2’.
For Digital Submissions, no advance registration is required. All we need are some photos for the virtual showcase along with a completed Submission Form! Please submit the deliverables outlined below by December 11, 2022 through the link provided below.
If you are also looking to display in-person, please register here prior to December 4 so we can plan for the exhibit. Once your creation is complete, fill out the Submission Form to confirm the details and submit your photographs for online display. In-person submission will then need to be dropped off on Monday, December 12 between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM at the Maker Bean Café (1052 Bloor St. W).
- Completed Submission Form (including a description of your creation)
- 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!
Can’t make it in-person? Join in the fun from home!
Make your façade at home and share it with us before December 11 to be included in the virtual streetscape! To help you on your baking journey, we have prepared 3 different Main Street templates you can choose from to print off and use as a starting point. All of them have been sized for 8.5×11 paper for easy printing.
When you are done, make sure to take a photograph of your finished building and send us a copy! Take your photos as flat as possible and ideally over a uniform contrasting colour background so that it is easier to collage into the final virtual streetscape (click here for an example).
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.
- 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 all about imaginative creations, 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:Nella
- Madame Gateaux
- The Cookery
- Tap Phong (Chinatown West)
- Bulk Barn
- McCall’s (membership required)
- 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!
- The Dos and Don’ts of Modern Gingerbread House Design
- A quick guide to creating a Gingerbread Diorama
- Tips for how to decorate your Gingerbread House (especially useful if you’re working with prefab elements!)
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 For Individual & Team Submissions
- 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 ask that bases are no larger than 2’x2’ – 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 third consecutive year, TSA 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. This event builds upon the local Annual East End Architects Gingerbread Competition, an event organized by MOSS SUND Architects started in 2017 to bring neighbouring studios together in support of a local charity.
Dec 4: Registration Deadline for In-Person Display
Dec 11: Deadline for Online Submissions
Dec 12: Drop-Off Day for In-Person Display
Dec 14 - Jan 11: Gingerbread City Showcase (Virtual and In-Person)