Big Sculpture | Big Event | Big Movie | Big Results

How do you promote the biggest blockbuster blow-out movie of the summer in a way that will engage as many people as possible? Simple: come up with a cool idea, bring it to Performance Solutions (PS) and sign the contract! When their client wanted something epic to promote the North American premier of X-Men: Apocalypse, that’s just what our friends at JamVan did and I guess you could say…. they’re pretty freakin’ happy! So, there’s a little more to this story but let’s just say that if you’re in the market for a 9-foot tall, foam-carved, hard-coated, scenic painted, weather-proof, fully portable, custom counter-weighted hand-crushing-a-skull, you don’t want to call anyone else. Anyway, if you’re looking for one of those, skip this article and give us a call! If that’s not quite your bag or your idea is even more EPIC, please read on…

This project was a great opportunity for PS to flex our design/build muscles, and fittingly, we came through like super heroes. Here’s how it went down:

  • JamVan provided us with some hi-res, client-approved movie poster art
  • PS custom-created a proof of concept to help JV’s client visualize the final product in a public space (approval took about an hour, with ZERO need for revisions – Hooray!)
  • PS sourced and ordered the materials, booked the sculptor, set up a work booth (what a mess!) and away we went
  • JamVan was kept in the loop constantly, receiving daily progress photos at every stage to make sure the project was living up to their massive (pun intended) expectations
  • grinder mainly), then the arduous task of surfacing began
  • Three days spent applying and working Aqua-Resin Fibre glass and mesh, and a generous coat of Block Filler, and this puppy was ready for paint
  • High grade metallic paints and some custom colour mixes for the skull, all sealed in a rock-hard semi-gloss clear-coat made sure this work of art wasn’t going to wilt under the elements

Once the piece was done and our special client(s) had ample time to simultaneously cower beneath and drool over the finished product, PS invited everyone down for a detailed seminar on how to set it up, load/unload it (for transport), tear it down, and store it. JamVan’s event went off without a hitch, making two-day stops at: Celebration Square, Mississauga; Dundas Square, Toronto; Union Station, plus a surprise activation at Jurassic Park during the Raptors’ historic Game 6 at the ACC. Think there was anyone at those locations? Nice choices guys! Eight long days on display in the heat, humidity and sporadic rain showers and our nine-foot beast finished its tour of duty looking brand new.

Catch you next time @Jam_Van. Thanks for choosing to work with Performance Solutions!

Our friends at JamVan:

More Experiential Marketing campaigns:

Full movie Trailer:

Keep the Ball Rolling Toronto: Hoops is Here to Stay!

The Maple Leafs are firmly rooted at the bottom of the league, mired in a rebuild. The Blue Jays are inexplicably playing miles below their championship winning potential. There is, however, one shining star on the Toronto professional sports horizon. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the Toronto Raptors. Playoff madness is upon us and our squad is safely through to the conference finals for the first time EVER. Let’s ignore the challenges the team has endured while scratching their way to this position, and turn a blind eye to the projected outcome of this series, which is [*ahem] tenuous at best, because it’s definitely time to embrace basketball!

This has been big year for hoops in our fair city. Only a few short months ago our city was invaded by giants as the NBA All Star Game rolled through town, and the title sponsor of the host city, BMO, took full advantage, developing some great experiential and viral campaigns to keep the buzz alive. Who did they call to bring their ideas to life? None other than Experiential Marketing ballerz, Performance Solutions (PS).

So, what did PS do to support BMO’s All Star Game campaign? If you found yourself at First Canadian place the week leading up to the event you may have laid eyes on a ten-foot tall BMO branded ATM. While only one machine was created, the piece sure seemed to grab a lot of attention. Maybe it was the well chosen, high traffic location. Maybe it was a timely activation, as the city was already gearing up for excitement of the game. Okay, let’s face it, it was a ten-frigging-foot-frigging-tall-frigging ATM! Well, whatever it was, it was successful and newsworthy on several news and social media sites, including CBC and CTV, and even ran rampant in the blogisphere while the event was in town. Judging by the results of my Google image search, it was also a popular photo-op!

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The second tier of the campaign featured a custom built, robot driven, two-way communicative basketball, known affectionately as the NBA “BallStar” (OMG – cute!).

Sitting next to our special effects (SFX) wizard as he painstakingly dismantled, tested and evaluated countless motors from RC vehicles, robotic toys and even power tools, showed what really goes into making these projects successful. I can promise you one thing, it’s a lot more than you think! The BallStar was inspired by the state of the art mechanics that powered Star Wars Episode 7 droid-darling BB-8. Performance Solutions created an expressive, dynamic and loveable character. Let’s check out his work, featured in a few viral spots below.

Whether it’s set design and construction, special effects, prop design or experiential marketing support you need, Performance Solutions always designs, develops and delivers, on time and on budget.

Here are some of the hilarious viral spots from the campaign:

Joy Goes Around: Two Wheels + One Vision = Bikes for Africa

How about we shelf the world’s more substantial problems for a few minutes and try to feel good about something, okay? Ah, here’s something: Cadbury has decided to give something back at the grass roots level, and they’re making a difference. Through their ongoing Bicycle Factory campaign, Cadbury continues their work to provide citizens of Ghana, Africa with dozens of brand new bicycles. Sure, a bike is just a bike (in Toronto anyway), but in an impoverished rural expanse like Ghana, it is so much more. Don’t believe me? Just take a look:

In 2009 Toronto’s The Hive launched a fantastic online campaign that makes lending a hand to help this great cause just a daily click-and-drag away. But seven years and over 26,000 Facebook page likes later, The Hive decided that 2016 needed to be even bigger…

So who did they turn to when they wanted to boost awareness about their campaign, and get even more people involved? They called Performance Solutions (PS): Toronto’s go-to for experiential marketing success. Because getting the public involved often means doing something BIG, PS helped cleverly brainstorm, custom design and build, lovingly deliver AND expertly operate a very memorable, very successful, and very BIG marketing experience, all right in the heart of Toronto. The event involved boys and girls, and men and women of all ages, and unified them toward a common purpose, all while getting some exercise and having a little fun!

So what did it all look like? Well here it is in a nut-shell.

Picture this: a custom designed and built 12-foot tall, 20-foot wide, 8-bicycle-driven purple steel carousel, propelling a 14-foot tall “joy meter,” loaded with close to 100lbs of Dairy Milk chocolate bars, towering next to a mammoth 120-inch flat-screen monitor, staged in the middle of Toronto’s iconic Dundas Square. And what happened when the peoples’ collective-joy hit critical mass, driving the meter right through the top? SWOOSH! A wave of FREE CANDY!!! WHAT, WHAT?!?! What’s the emoji for 100lbs of free candy? Probably an exploding smiley face! Enough words, let’s go to the tape:

Here’s the summary: great company hires great agency to stage great promotion. Great agency contracts great Design/Build Firm (Performance Solutions) to produce great (big) experiential marking experience. In short: it was great!

To get involved in the campaign, go here: For The Hive’s perspective, go here:


The Brain Project: Breaking the Fundraising Mould through Public Art

By 2011 close to 15% of the Canadian population over 65 was afflicted with Alzheimer ’s disease or another age-related dementia, and those numbers are growing. The overwhelming odds are that you or someone you know has been affected by a dementia. It’s devastating to those afflicted with it; it’s a grand scale hardship for our families and friends who live with it; and its prevalence means that the impact on our social and economic system makes it everyone’s concern. It is costing Canadians over $30 billion a year (in direct and indirect costs), and that figure may grow ten-fold by as soon as 2040 if more action isn’t taken to fight it.*

What is being done to further raise awareness and fund the research needed to battle this beast? With the help of Telus, the Baycrest Foundation (@Baycrest) is spearheading the fight through their public art-centred initiative, called simply: The Brain Project. Inspired by the success of NYC’s annual Faberge Egg Hunt (@TheBigEggHuntNY), the campaign was conceived over 18 months ago by Co-Chairs, Erica & Noah Godfrey and Jessica & Ben Mulroney. By the time the campaign reaches fruition this June, 100 uniquely adorned brains will be prominently installed in dozens of high profile areas around Toronto, such as: Nathan Phillips Square, the site of Mayor John Tory’s press conference on the subject on Monday, April 25th; The Distillery District; and Union Station. Each corporate and privately sponsored piece has been exclusively festooned by a commissioned artist. While most are Canadian, some of the artists have brought their talents from the U.S. and overseas. All contributors were hand-picked to participate in the initiative, including Toronto artist, Ekow Nimako (@EkowNimako).

Since the Baycrest Foundation took the reins, the project has proven to be an epic journey for everyone involved, including Toronto design/build specialists Performance Solutions (PS), who were selected to build the brains. Known primarily for our successful work in special effects, set design and construction, movie props, and experiential marketing support, Performance Solution’s knack for embracing and delivering unique ideas, such as this one, made us the logical choice to execute the custom design and painstaking fabrication process, required to complete the project.

What goes into mass-producing a brain that’s big enough to make a bold artistic statement, strong enough to withstand the elements, yet light enough to work with, transport and eventually display? Love. Well… love and ‘Injection-Moulded-Fast-Set-Rapid-Curing-Aromatic-Two-Part-Expanded-Polystyrene-Foam-Spray,’ to be precise, (EP for short). For PS, the process was challenging and labour-intensive, and the timelines were tight, but we came through in the end (as we always do), economically delivering the initial 64 brains. As the project gained momentum, a second set of brains was requested. PS was able to further refine the fabrication process and deliver in an even more efficient timeline. The more we work with this dynamic product, the more we realize the myriad of possibilities that EP offers. Its durability makes it ideal for exterior applications, such as public art installations. Bring us your project and we’ll promise to wrap our brains around it [*groan] and deliver, just like we have for the Baycrest Foundation.

Big thanks to the Baycrest Foundation for choosing to work with us on this amazing project!

For more specifics about the project, including how you might become involved at the individual or corporate level, please visit:

For more insight into age-related dementias, including facts or to make a donation, please visit our friends at Baycrest here:

For more about Toronto artist Ekow Nimako, please check him out here:

*all statistics adapted from


Mr. Brainwash And Over 100 Artists Will Unveil Brain Sculptures

What Happens When the Most Creative Minds In Art and Science Brainstorm? The Brain Project, of Course!

Performance Solutions Answers the (Curtain) Call

There is a trend developing in the architectural realm, and it’s growing fast. The challenge: to maximize usage and revenue streams, particularly in public buildings, such as libraries, universities and sports complexes. The solution: make existing spaces more adaptable.

Space is at a premium. Construction and operating costs are soaring. So how did a modest yet stable community such as Lethbridge, Alberta acquire a mid-sized live concert venue, without forking out millions of dollars for a new construction? The answer is simple: they called Toronto’s custom fabrication specialists, Performance Solutions (PS). The municipally owned and operated ENMAX Centre, home of the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, is the latest sports venue to contract the services of PS to custom fabricate a motorized divider curtain system. The dynamic system has given the 7,100 seat ENMAX Centre, the entertainment hub of Lethbridge, the ability to host more intimate productions (as few as 1000 seats), while transforming a cavernous arena into an inviting theatre setting. The flexibility is opening up a world of new potential for the venue’s usage patterns and revenue streams.

Sure, you already know Performance Solutions for their decades of support and expertise in the areas of special effects, set design & set construction, movie props, and (the afore blogged-about) experiential marketing construction but PS is flexing their metal fabrication muscles in a different way, and has been for some time now. Their custom designed, expertly installed, all-steel, winch-driven, remote or pendant-controlled, proprietary system allows a team as small as two people to hoist 180 linear feet of 35’ curtain in as little as 45 minutes; and it comes down even faster! What does all of this mean? Less time + less effort + less manpower = lower cost per production. Are these attributes valuable to venue operators? Hmmm….. D’YA THINK?!?

The ENMAX Centre is not the first to knock on Performance Solutions’ door. Our reputation as experts in the field is growing as fast as the need for adaptable venues. You can find our motorized divider curtain systems in a host of other arenas, including Oshawa’s G.M. Centre (5,500 seats) and Kingston’s K-Rock Centre (5,700 seats), who loved it so much that they have now purchased three separate divider curtain systems, placing them in another stratosphere of flexible space. Performance Solutions has also delivered perimeter curtain systems to even larger venues, such as: Toronto’s Air Canada Centre (19,800 seats); Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre* (19,153 seats); and NYC’s Madison Square Garden (18,200 seats). Think your space is too big, too old or too weird? Try us: we’ll find a custom designed and custom fabricated solution that’s just right for your venue. [*Formerly Scotiabank Place]

Click the link below to see the ENMAX motorized divider curtain system in action. Visit our Architectural page, or just pick up the phone call us at 416.461.9600. We’ve got all of the answers!

Metal Kings Meet King of Beers: Performance Performs Impeccably (again!)

With the help of Toronto-based custom fabrication studio, Performance Solutions and our friends at Anomaly (@anomalyxd), Budweiser has added something new to their world famous, beechwood-aged beer recipe. Is it overpowering hoppiness? Nope. Is a natural lime flavour infusion, you ask? Not this time. For a limited run (…91,000 frosty cans to be exact), Budweiser has teamed up with heavy metal juggernauts Metallica, arguably one of the world’s most commercially successful bands, to release Metallica-infused beer. As mentioned, at the heart of the campaign was Performance Solutions. Here’s how it all went down…

On September 16, 2015, Metallica played a sold out show to launch the Centre Vidéotron, in Quebec City. The aim: to attempt to supply the oldest city in Canada with hard rock-infused Budweiser beer. (Okay, the real aim: to make even more money.) To make this experiential marketing stunt possible, Performance Solutions was commissioned for the custom metal fabrication of the speaker systems that helped imbue, not only kegs, but a full-scale tanker truck full of beer, with Metallica’s hard rock essence. In what seemed like no time at all, the complex rigs were custom designed, custom fabricated and lovingly delivered to the venue, in time for the sold-out show. The precious amber cargo was then promptly sealed in, badass looking, Metallica-branded, black cans. The Franken-beer hit shelves almost immediately. Was the event a success you ask? Well, months after the event we came across someone offering a sealed case (24 beers) for $300, and another savvy profiteer peddling individual cans for $15 apiece. In short, the product must have sold out, proving two things: 1) that experiential marketing truly is #1; and 2) Performance Solutions is #1 in experiential marketing fabrication.

Performance Solutions at work (aka. Just doin’ what we do…)

  • Designed and applied custom keg-wraps to brand each barrel-o-brew
  • Designed and fabricated the keg infuser (featured prominently in the video linked below)
  • Designed and fabricated simulated (sshhhh!), over-sized speakers, mounted on the beer tanker truck
  • Managed the whole sha-bang like rock stars: the entire job was costed, resourced, fabricated and shipped in under four days (…and all over a weekend, no less!!)

Watch below to see this bona-fide scientific process and media freak-fest in action.

What do Marilyn Monroe, Willem Defoe and Performance Solutions have in common?

A super bowl commercial is a major investment for any product and for this year’s game, Snickers stepped right up. Perhaps that’s why they approached Performance Solutions with the goal of creating a truly memorable commercial.

Recently the “Just not the same when you’re hungry” campaign has cast a diverse collection of stars, however this year was special. Marilyn Monroe was as the lead and the famous billowing skirt sequence from her film The 7 year Itch was the catalyst for this spot. Our task was to replicate that challenging scene.

Performance Solutions was asked to oversee the design and hardware configurations to make it all work. The skirt billowing wind doesn’t come from nowhere!

The setup was tested right here in Toronto where we made sure it was 100% perfect. We then sent test footage to the production company in New York and once approved we sent the design and hardware breakdown to them to make the magic happen.

Yes, we are loosely calling Willem Defoe in a dress and heels as ‘magic.’

Here is the ad:

The most memorable moment from our perspective was watching a short heavyset special effects man testing in the shop, wearing a cheap skirt and high heels.

But then again, that’s just another day at Performance Solutions.

This is our second opportunity to work on a Super Bowl commercial and we are certain it won’t be our last.

Tim Horton’s Fills a Cup of Good Deeds in Grimbsy, Ontario

Back in 2010, we worked with Tim Horton’s to celebrate the Ice Hockey World Junior Championships by turning an indoor rink into a festive outdoor skating pond. This year, we were fortunate enough to collaborate with the popular café and bake shop again to spread some holiday cheer in a small town in Ontario.

The campaign was called “#WarmWishes,” and the idea was to give the citizens of Grimbsy, Ontario a chance to grant holiday wishes for their friends and loved ones. Grimbsy locals could come into their Tim Hortons and deposit their wishes into an enormous coffee cup. Once the cup was full, the folks at Tim Hortons went to work to make those wishes come true. Some people wished for donations to charitable organizations. Others asked for the Tim Horton’s team to help their elderly neighbors. Before they could go to work to do these good deeds, however, they needed to turn an ordinary coffee shop into a cozy winter ski chalet.  Once that portion of the transformation was complete it was our turn to create the winter wonderland.

We had two weeks to come up with a way to make the snow dress process happen in a six hour window while the store was closed for the night. Our six-person team started work at 11 p.m. on a Sunday, and by 5 a.m. the next morning the transformation was complete.

We covered the entire rooftop and surrounding area with a soft layer of synthetic snow. Our simulated falling snow ran intermittently throughout the day to keep the illusion as immersive and realistic as possible for the coffee shop’s patrons.

We had a great time working to make this remarkably generous idea a reality in conjunction with Tim Horton’s and Toronto-based Boom Marketing. It’s always nice to see a company reaching outside the boundaries of its stores to give back to its local community. This is the first time we’ve worked with the folks at Boom Marketing, but we have a feeling it won’t be the last.

Check out the video below to see what we were able to accomplish in just one night!

What Do Drake & Performance Solutions Have In Common?

Just a little video you may have heard of called Hotline Bling?

If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing this internet sensation and visually unique music video then we must question – what have you been doing with your time on the internet?

The hugely viral video for Hotline Bling has taken the internet by storm.

Published on YouTube in the DrakeVEVO channel back on October 26th, the video now has over 65 million views.

In no time, viewers took to social media to create memes, GiFs, Vines, and tweets based on Drake’s dance moves.

Guardians of the Galaxy Hotline Bling

Even the celebrities took to the web and television to parody the video.

Verne Troyer to Saturday Night Live with Donald Trump got into the act.

This complex and challenging set was constructed with the skills of 12 carpenters in an extremely tight 5 day turn around racking up almost 1300 man hours, and spending a ton of money.

Materials included:

What Do Drake & Performance Solutions Have In Common?

120 Rubber wheels, 1125 square meters of white spandex fabric, 206 gallons of white paint, 100 sheets of ¾ inch plywood, and 55 sheets of ¼ inch luan.

With the help of local Torontonians, such as Director X and production designer Jeremy Macfarlane, combined with the herculean efforts of our crew at Performance Solutions, and with the musician himself, fellow Canadian and Torontonian Aubrey Drake Graham, everyone was able to come together and make this video possible.

Performance Solutions has been working with Drake since back in the Degrassi days, where Drake first showcased his talents to the world.

Performance Solutions creates special effects and unique props for the marketing and entertainment industries in Toronto for over 27 years.

Our projects, like Hotline Bling, are finished on time and on budget.

If your company is looking for experiential marketing, special effects, set construction or architectural installations, contact us today!

Salute To A Small Town With A Big Job

Salute To A Small Town With A Big JobEver heard of a small town in Northern Quebec called Saint-Jerome? Truth be told we hadn’t either.

Turns out Saint-Jerome has a story to share and our friends at Budweiser felt it needed to be told.

Performance Solutions was asked by Anomaly to help tell this story and salute the folks of Saint-Jerome, Quebec.

What we learned is that Saint-Jerome is the birthplace of the official hockey puck to the NHL. A company called Soucy Baron produces all the pucks, its one of only a few hockey puck factories in the world, they produce about 5 million pucks each year.

After production, the pucks are sent to the league’s official supplier, InGlasCo in Sherbrooke, Quebec. InGlasCo stamps each puck with the necessary logos and distributes them to the individual teams.

Thank You For The Goals!

What Budweiser and former NHL player Mike Bossy wanted to do was to create a one-of-a-kind gift, a town sign, actually fabricated with hockey pucks which were signed by famous personnel and passionate hockey fans.

Traveling around Canada, Anomaly acquired over 900 autographed pucks, which would be integrated into the sign.

Performance Solutions was contracted to produce the sign, and deliver it to Saint-Jerome where the sign was reveal to a large audience of local dignitaries, families and friends.

Goal Homecoming Video

After its initial reveal, the sign was donated to the city, for everyone who enters the town to see.

From concept to design and on to fabrication, Performance Solutions will make sure your experimental marketing project is completed to highest standard. For more information on how we made this one of a kind sign or any of our other services, please feel free to contact us today!