Toronto’s Nuit Blanche 2017

Our plan to explore Nuit Blanche in Toronto this year is simple: Start in the middle. In conversation, we chart a rough course to spiral across some big intersections we see on the official website. But we hope to get lost in the little places.  Those spots that are off our mental roadmap.  The sights that seem most illuminated on an evening complemented with a crisp, autumn air.

From sunset to sunrise, the city spanning art festival attracts thousands. You can never see everything. Therefore, we are always on the move to see many of the free large-scale installations and immersive performances. Tonight takes a political edge for 2017. There is a total of 90 official exhibitions with more 350 artists contributing. We see few of them. Instead, we’re choosing to share the best of the little things that caught our wondering eyes.


Nathan Phillips Square


Our first stop is usually our typical starting point for Nuit Blanche. An easy meeting place. This year, we find floating nearly 45 feet above us at Toronto’s city hall, Hendrick’s Gin’s Levitating Elevating Voluminous Illuminating Tantalizing Amazingly Towering Roaming Eye (L.E.V.I.T.A.T.R.E.).

We ask ourselves, is this hot air balloon gin powered?

After a chuckle, we lament that we’re not among the lucky few to have a unique bird’s eye view of the festivities below.

Graffiti Alley


We follow the crowd along Queen Street. A group of Toronto lighting designers, architects, and art students create a temporary site-specific installation to animate features, public art, and buildings at the popular Graffiti Alley.

With patience, a portrait of a friend candied in a kaleidoscope of colours awaited. The crowd here is dense and it’s easy to be swept along with them. But take a look around. Blink and you might miss the sex-worker reading pages from her memoir…

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House of VR


With doors wide open, this state-of-the-art VR hub wisely capitalizes on the steady sidewalk shuffle to throw its grand opening.

Channelling Warhol’s Factory with a shot of millennial futurism, we find many dancing and locking lips to the techno beats provided oxymoronically by a cowboy costumed DJ.

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Trinity Bellwood’s Park


Beating out the dampness of the early morning, the faint warmth of discarded glow sticks acts as our breadcrumbs to Nuit Blanche’s best-kept secret.

Pulsating within the ravine of Trinity Bellwood’s Park, ‘Raveslave’ played host to DJs spinning dubstep and trap music to the likes of party-seekers and flame jugglers.

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It’s about the Journey


We avoid the crowds of some of the larger attractions. As a result, we feel we have a more expansive night filled with random discovery.  With our map only in our minds, we commit to seeing no one installation. Subsequently finding, and photographing the joy in the little corners of the event.  The ones that larger crowds might have obscured had they been there.


Our last stop was at 401 Richmond.  Again, straying from the interactive chandeliers on the floors above to enjoy a screening of some titillating prints of 1960’s American and French jukebox films.  With dawn approaching, and camera batteries low, we thus conclude our Nuit Blanche 2017.

From under the stars and the spell of indelible celluloid magic, we look forward to next year.