by John Leung

The Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is an annual evening art event held in Toronto. Lasting all night (from sunset on Saturday to dawn on Sunday), it features artwork from local, national and international artists which is spread out throughout downtown Toronto. The art pieces we saw weren’t your typical paintings or sculptures – they were more urban, digital, and unique, comprised of stuff that you don’t imagine being put together.

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I went out with nine others in search of art on the night of October 3. We left U of T at 8:30 and headed south. It took us a while to find a Nuit Blanche sign with directions. However, the signs weren’t descriptive enough. When the sign pointed to the right, we expected the artwork to be on the end of the street. But my gang and I realized that the arrows were meant to send us in the general direction and the artwork could possibly be five blocks to the right or even a 10-minute walk till we could actually see it.

It took a while before we saw the first artwork: many bright inflatables popping up and down. It felt like an even longer time before we saw our second: some stereos glued together with music playing in the background. The best artwork was at Nathan Phillips Square (Queen West and Bay). The Toronto sign (huge, lit letters spelling out “Toronto”, originally installed for the 2015 Pan Am Games and retained by popular demand) was covered with translucent black and white photos of various celebrities . The square was covered with floodlit photos of visitors who had been invited into a photo-booth to take their portraits, and then paste the poster-size printed results onto the paving. To the east, Old City Hall was the backdrop for a projection celebrating that this was the tenth year of Nuit Blanche in Toronto.

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Nuit Blanche 10th Edition on Old City Hall

Although, my friends and I spent half of that night lost in downtown trying to look for the Nuit Blanche displays, I very much enjoyed that evening. It gave me the chance to explore the city. Although Vancouver is very pretty in my opinion, downtown Toronto at night is as lively and gorgeous as Vancouver!

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The artwork wasn’t what I expected. I was expecting more bright and flashy lights showcases. Even though the art wasn’t what I expected, most of the displays were very well designed. I loved how some of displays were raising awareness on a particular issue, such as garbage waste, indivdual’s rights etc. I would highly recommend visiting Nuit Blanche next year on October 1, 2016 – here’s some advice I would give all visitors:

  • Bring money. There are amazing food vendors that will make your mouth water. The food ranges from churros to poutine and much more!
  • Invite friends. Being around other people made my Nuit Blanche much more memorable! Maybe this can be a date with that special someone?
  • Do some research. Take 15 to 30 minutes to do some research to find out where the best displays are, this way you won’t spend time hunting for art.
  • Start early. Nuit Blanche starts around 7:00pm. I would suggest that you head out early, as that way you can see more artwork before you call it a night.
  • Wear layers. It can get cold in Toronto on an October night, so dress for the wind!

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Check out my Nuit Blanche album on Flickr for more pictures.

So, did you go to Nuit Blanche? What did you think?