This Saturday (October 3) the 10th annual Scotiabank Nuit Blanche festival will transform Toronto’s core for the beloved all-night celebration of art.
The occasion marks the chance to wander the city streets and take in (and document on social media, obviously) all the unusual and innovative exhibitions from some of the city’s most creative and quirky minds.
The festival runs from sunset until sunrise, and it’s truly impossible to see everything – even for the most seasoned Nuit Blancher. Here are nine notable places to hit this year.
1. The Gardiner Museum
If you’re a lover of Lego (and, really, who isn’t?), you’re probably going to want to check out the Gardiner Museum. Made with over 50,000 Lego pieces, Silent Night is artist Ekow Nimako’s monumental tribute to the barn owl. The all-white, larger-than-life sculpture captures the essence of this Ontario wilderness staple with the help of variations of both sloped and angled Lego pieces. If you miss it on Saturday, the project will run until October 10.
Where: The Gardiner Museum (111 Queen’s Park)
2. Bell/Trinity Square
If you’re looking for a memorable experience for you and your significant other or lover, you will find it at the installation by Renova and George Brown College. The Lovers of the River Almonda is a piece lead by the college’s Dean of the Centre for the Arts, Luigi Ferrara, and is made almost completely of Renova tissue paper. Based on the theme of “the infinite risk of love,” couples and friends are invited to take a photo by a massive tableaux of a riverbank (made of tissue paper) by photographer Voitek Pendrak. The details of their relationship are then created into a custom poem. The photo and poem are then combined and projected throughout the evening, while each participant gets to keep a copy to share.
Where: Bell Trinity Square ( 483 Bay Street), inside main doors, north of Queen Street West.
3. Tiger of Sweden
If you’re in the Queen West neighbouthood (prime Nuit Blanche real estate) and looking for some action, you may want to stop by Tiger of Sweden’s flagship location. The clothing store will host PEEP, a live photography and performance-art drag show that will star some of Toronto’s top drag and burlesque performers including Judy Virago, Maximum Capacity, Flare, Jade Elektra and Dolly Berlin. It will feature 10 iconic images projected onto the side of the store, and the audience will also be able to “peep” into the store window to see performers at various stages of preparing to recreate the famous photos in drag.
Where: Tiger of Sweden, (56 Ossington Ave).
4. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
From sunset to sunrise, the AGO will offer on-the-dot tours and no shortage of savoury bites while you experience new works alongside the AGO collection and exhibitions. Foodies will appreciate two special works: Each Portion by Lisa Myers and an occasion hosted by Isabel Lewis.
Where: The Art Gallery of Ontario, (317 Dundas Street West).
5. The Drake
Light Cave, curated by Che Kothari, is an epic sculpture by Miami collective FriendsWithYou. The 55 x 25 x 14 ft. semi-translucent inflatable structure will be a living, breathing piece of architecture, pulsating with energy and light that promises to creates a sensory rich experience for guests. Drake One Fifty, meanwhile, will debut L.A-based contemporary art star Gary Baseman’s multifaceted visual feast, My Eyes are Bigger than my Stomach, which unites art, food and celebration with a new series of site-specific works, including an awe-inspiring mural featuring his trademark cartoon characters, food-inspired decals, plates, and serving trays mounted on the walls.
Where: The Drake One Fifty (150 York St.), and The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St. West).
6. The Bata Shoe Museum
The Bata Shoe Museum presents Scotiabank Nuit Blanche with Shoes That Line The Lane by artist Cyril Williams, as well as independent projects I, Pave by artist Anchi Lin and Empreintes by artist Pascale Peyret. Shoes That Line the Lane focuses on the tradition of hanging shoes on wires in public spaces to honour personal memories and the lives of those who have had an impact on us. Messages can be placed directly onto the soles of the shoes.
Where: The Bata Shoe Museum (327 Bloor St. West).
7. City Hall
If you’re in the market for something interactive, you should stop by Inside Out, which takes over most of the Black and White Night zone with New York and Paris-based artist JR’s acclaimed project. The TED Prize-winning artist’s project allows participants to be photographed and have their portrait pasted in support of a shared idea, project, or action. Starting September 28, participants were invited to add their face to the installation at an Inside Out photo booth truck at Nathan Phillips Square.
Where: City Hall (100 Queen St. West).
8. The Power Plant
Whether moths scare or annoy you, you’ll find 30,000 of them at the Power Plant Gallery for Black Cloud, hanging from (or clinging to) the walls and ceilings of the space are paper black moths of varying sizes. The somewhat creepy piece has exhibited in a variety of places, including art galleries, an art fair, museums, the house of a collector and in a former church. The installation is the work of Mexico City’s Carlos Amorales and will be on display until January 3.
Where: The Power Plant Gallery (231 Queens Quay West).
9. The Thompson Toronto
If you’re in need of a place to warm up in the downtown core on Nuit Blanche, you may want to hit The Thompson to check out their installation in both the lower lobby and the screening room. Artist Michael Kim’s Consumption Overload is a photo project that addresses human impact on the environment. It’s comprised of a body of large-scale, multi-layered photomontages, projections, and a photographic book, assembled with downloaded photographs from the Internet, presenting a range of problems that we face today, like air pollution, climate change, deforestation, and nuclear disasters. If you miss it on Nuit Blanche, the exhibit runs until October 7.
Where: Thompson Toronto (550 Wellington St. West) lower lobby and screening room.
Don’t forget: not only do many bars have extended 4am liquor licences, the good old TTC will run throughout the night.