AR Experiences at Toronto Waterfront Festival

Float4 develops AR experiences for the socially distanced edition of Toronto’s Redpath Waterfront Festival.

The Augmented Reality trail invites you to travel through the past, present and future of Toronto’s scenic waterfront. Its five AR experiences incorporate historical views, present-day artistic content and futuristic architectural models. Furthermore, they aim to inspire, educate, engage and entertain visitors of all ages. 

Each stop features a kiosk with a map of the trail and interesting facts about its location. Then, visitors can use their mobile phones to scan the kiosk’s QR code to launch the Augmented Reality. The seamless experience is powered by Web AR technology. This technology allows content to play directly on a mobile web browser without needing to download an application.

There are three types of AR experiences: time travel portals to the past (2), augmented elements in the present (2) and a holographic voyage into the future.

Time Travel Portals to the Past

First, by scanning the image of the portals on the kiosk, they open up to reveal historic 3D scenes that visitors can explore in AR. Through augmented archival photographs, one could virtually walk on water where Toronto’s waterline used to be 100 years ago and discover how the area used to look when Lake Ontario’s shoreline reached the Old Port Building. 

Augmented Present

Then, visitors can augment their present reality by bringing to life artistic elements found on the trail through their phones. The first element would be the mural of the whales on the iconic Redpath Sugar building. More specifically, the giant whales fly around and above visitors in an enchanting choreography. The second element is the meeting of Mama Duck. Since the largest rubber duck in the world could not float on Lake Ontario as it would have in the past, visitors could still see her in AR.

Voyage Into the Future

Finally, visitors can check out an interactive hologram of upcoming developments on the Waterfront. The hologram is a 3D model of future architectural developments in the neighbourhood.

The Redpath Waterfront Festival (RWF) is an annual summer event that provides on-land and on-water programming with the goal of promoting Toronto as a premiere waterfront destination. With music, food, nautical programs and entertainment, the festival has something for everyone to enjoy. In 2021, to uphold government covid-19 regulations, the festival pivoted towards a socially distant experience including the AR Trail as well as art installations, and local promotions at waterfront businesses.