Monday, March 11, 2013

"Canstructing" for a cause, City employees competing in Canstruction® 2013

How do young engineers just starting their careers gain experience working on large, multifaceted projects? They build giant objects out of thousands of cans of food.

Canstruction® is an annual competition where teams of engineers compete to build extraordinary structures made entirely out of canned food and other non-perishable food items. The structures are judged in four categories: structural integrity, best use of labels, best meal and juror’s pick.

The City's Canstruction team is comprised of 27 EIT’s employed through the EIT Rotation Program. All the participants are recent engineering graduates working towards obtaining their Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) designation. The team will compete against organizations such as Shell Canada and Suncor Energy to become the ultimate “canpions.”

This year's competition theme is "Gizmos and Gadgets." So the team held a kick-off meeting and chose three ideas for structures they could build. Then they divided into five smaller teams to execute the project: design, logistics, construction, marketing and  finance. They also assigned a Project Manager and Assistant Project Manager to keep everyone on track.

“We treat our Canstruction® project the same as The City would treat a major construction project,” says Mike Keith from the Design Team. “All the different teams have to work together and rely upon each other to complete the project. This is something we normally wouldn’t get exposure to as EIT’s, so Canstruction® is a great opportunity to see how big projects come together.”

It’s also a great way to give back to the community. When the competition is over, all the food is donated to the Calgary Food Bank. Since 2006, Canstruction® Calgary has provided nearly 300,000 pounds of food to needy Calgarians.

You can see The City’s Canstruction® team in action at the final event, which is open to the public. Head over to Southcentre Mall on March 14th and cheer them on. The structures will stay up for a week so you can also view them after the event.

For more information, visit

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