by Lakshmi Sadhu

The Toronto Light Festival is a free open-air light art event taking place in the Distillery District until March 12th, running from sundown till 10pm (or 11pm on weekends). Light art is a form of applied arts where light is the medium of artistic expression, manipulated in creative ways that produce fascinating shadows, sculptures and colours. The event features artworks by Canadian and international artists. The Toronto Light Festival is intended to inspire the residents of Toronto, and serve as an escape from the dark and dreary days of winter.

If you go a little earlier, you can arm yourself with a delicious cup of hot chocolate from Soma’s or a creamy cappuccino from Balzac’s, and explore the the plethora of art works around the Distillery District. If you enjoy huddling around a fire with a warm blanket, sipping on sangrias and eating tacos, then I also recommend stopping by El Catrin’s for dinner after you your finish tour around the Distillery District!

Here are some of my favourite exhibits from my visit to the Toronto Light Festival! I have to admit, unless you’re armed with a professional camera, the light festival is not exactly smartphone friendly. My iPhone doesn’t do justice to these artworks.


1. Reactor

Toronto Light Festival artwork: "Reactor"

‘Reactor’ was created by Canadian artist Ryan Longo. It is a 15’ twisting light sculpture made entirely of steel. It is meant to represent the relationship between technology and nature, and was created by shaping industrial metals into an organic form.


2. Bands of Friendship

Toronto Light Festival artwork: 'Bands of Friendship'
Toronto Light Festival artwork: 'Bands of Friendship'

‘Bands of Friendship’ is the work of Indian architects Vikas Patil, and Santosh Gujar. It is meant to symbolise friendship, and has been positioned in a way that gives the spectator different meanings based on the angle from which the sculpture is being viewed.


3. Angels of Freedom

Toronto Light Festival artwork: 'Angels of Freedom'

This is a creative installation from Israeli architects, the OGE Group. Everyone was allowed to take pictures under the halo, and pretend like we were guardian angels!


4. The Uniting Lightstar

Toronto Light Festival artwork: 'The Uniting Lightstar'

Hailing from the Netherlands, artists Joost Van Bergen, Dirk Schlebusch and Onne Walsmit created ‘The Uniting Lightstar’ to demonstrate a characteristic of friendship, namely the human capacity to boost friendships and let them grow. ‘The Uniting Lightstar’ is a dodecahedron, which in turn consists of 12 pentagonal surfaces. The numerous strings of blue lights connect all of the points of this artificial star.


5. Digital Origami Tigers

Toronto Light Festival artwork: 'Digital Origami Tigers'

Toronto Light Festival artwork: 'Digital Origami Tigers'

Produced by Australia’s Lava (laboratory for Visionary Architecture), the ‘Digital Origami Tigers’ started their world travels in 2010 in celebration of Chinese New Year at Customs House in Sydney, Australia. The Digital Tigers were adopted by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) to bring attention to the international campaign to save tigers. The crouching Digital Tigers combine ancient methods of lantern making with cutting-edge digital design and fabrication technology, bringing together East and West.


6. Infinite Support

Toronto Light Festival artwork: 'Infinite Support'

Dutch artists Daniel Thomassen, Raoul van der Ploeg, Dorus van Lieshout and Ivar Posthumus together form the art collective called LightForm, the producer of ‘Infinite Support’. The work consists of two egg-shaped objects that need each other to stay upright. If we come even closer to the sculpture, we find mirrors inside that suggest an unfathomable depth. According to LightForm, the mirrors symbolise real friendship, “a bond without limits”.


7. The Love Locks

Toronto Light Festival artwork: 'The Love Locks'

‘The Love Locks’ is the brainchild of Canadian artist Mathew Rosenblatt. A love lock is a padlock that sweethearts lock to a bridge or similar public fixture to symbolize their love. Rosenblatt conceived the idea for this work as the love locks of Paris were being pulled from the famous Pont des Arts Bridge. He wanted to find a new home where couples could come and symbolise the permanence of their love, and reinforce what is already in their hearts. It also acts to create an intensely positive environment and inspiration for others.


8. It

Toronto Light Festival artwork: 'It'

My favourite piece out of all of the light art installations, ‘It’ was created by American artist Michael Christian. Inspired by the movie War of the Worlds, ‘It’ is constructed of 12,000 pounds of steel. The sculpture was first commissioned by Black City Nevada’s 2006 Burning Man Festival, and over 50,000 visitors viewed it when it was first unveiled.


That’s all from my end, folks! I can’t wait to hear what your favourite art works are 🙂