Spotlight: The Gather-Ring & Canada 150

Imagine this:

You are selected to design something that will become a part of Canada’s biggest celebration ever. Hundreds of thousands of people will see your work. And right when things get started, chaos happens. Everything that could go wrong, does go wrong.

Here’s that story.

Manuel Baez working on his contest-winning installation. 

Manuel Baez working on his contest-winning installation. 

Artist-architect Manuel Baez won a Canada-wide competition to design a public art installation “The Gather-Ring” as part of the Canada 150 celebration. Naturally, his studio on Loretta Street North was the space to get to work before moving to its final location on the Portage Bridge. Everything was going smoothly — until it wasn’t. Manuel lost access to his studio space and was stranded with nowhere to build.

Catastrophic would be a good word for the situation. 

Believe in fate? Destiny? Serendipity? Whatever you call it, it showed up. And right at the perfect time. Aletheia Guild’s Luc crossed paths with Makerspace North’s Sheri the very same day that Manuel had lost his studio space. Sheri was able to find just the right area in Makerspace North for the installation.

The staging of the ring — making use of the warehouse space at Makerspace North. 

The staging of the ring — making use of the warehouse space at Makerspace North. 

Over the next few months, Manuel and his team got to work. They worked long days and nights “staging” The Gather-Ring before finally moving the completed work to the Portage Bridge Plaza in the early Fall 2017. The warehouse space was a perfect fit for such a complex project — with accesible receiving bays, open and flexible working areas, and around-the-clock 24-hour access.

It got done. Crisis averted. Canada saved. Okay — sort of.

In fall, 2017, The Gather-Ring was on full display for all of Canada (and her guests) at the Portage Bridge Plaza. And now you know what had to happen behind the scenes to build a little piece of Canadiana.


The Makerspace North spotlight is a place for stories. We’re all about what’s happening in the Ottawa entrepreneurial, creative, and maker communities. We hope to inspire with awesome projects, motivating biographies, big ideas, and more.

Find out more about The Gather-Ring at Apt613, or visit Manuel’s website.

Learn about Luc and The Aletheia Guild over at

Have a project you are working on? Looking for a community space to make awesome stuff happen? Check out the Makerspace North Spotlight and share your story.