nuit blanche toronto 2019

Nuit Blanche put on an unreal display in Toronto for the 2019 edition

Nuit Blanche has come and gone, marking yet another exciting edition of this citywide arts fest. 

The 14th year of this sunset-to-sundown event sprawled from Fort York to Scarborough, with a new addition to the Nuit Neighbourhoods list: Danforth East, meaning more pockets of Toronto involved than ever. 

Starting the night on the right foot was a traditional Indigenous jingle dance inside the Eaton Centre Bridge, as part of Bekah Brown's Chasing Red, a beautiful depiction of the Northern Lights. 

Nearby outside Old City Hall, Peace to the Past, Reach for the Future  was easily one of the most popular exhibits of the evening.

nuit blanche 2019 toronto

Peace to the Past, Reach for the Future was popular by Old City Hall. Photo by Andrew Williamson. 

This 18-foot-tall hands sculpture by Esmaa Mahamoud and Bryan Espiritu threw up deuces and a five in honour of the Raptors' 25th anniversary. Word on the street is it might actually become a permanent installation in Toronto. 

You might have spotted the dancing potato-looking thing further down Queen Street, which was apparently doing its special dance all night long. 

Another hub for dancing: Queen and John, where an impromptu dance party took over the intersection. 

nuit blanche 2019 toronto

Hundreds lined up for Lunar Garden throughout the night. Photo by Andrew Williamson. 

Nathan Phillips Square was also packed for Daniel Arsham's Lunar Garden.

Hundreds of people waited in line to snake around the Zen-style garden, which included a 30-foot moon orb, blue sand, a photo-op bridge, and white-attired staff who periodically raked the sand.  

nuit blanche 2019 torontoWorld-famous Director X brought a massive glowing orb to the Ontario Science Centre. Photo by Aaron Navarro. 

Orbs were definitely a theme across the city: Director X brought his sequel to his hit 2016 installation Death of the Sun with yet another massive glowing sphere, this time with Life of the Earth at the Ontario Science Centre.

Down by Dan Leckie Way, Nucleus brought another illuminated sphere, suspended under the Gardiner. 

Not far, Hoarding's hazard tape wrapped around the pillars of the Bentway for a simple yet highly immersive experience. 

nuit blanche toronto 2019

Dancers worked with sound and video under the Bentway. Photo by Matt Forsythe. 

Fort York actually might have had some of the most interesting exhibits of the entire event, including some great politically charged work, which was pretty refreshing. 

As planned, members from the organization Toronto Pig Save crashed the Anatomy of Abattoir show at the abandoned Quality Meats Abattoir on Tecumseth.

nuit blanche 2019 toronto

Eulogy for the Coffin Factory made a statement on eviction and tenants rights. Photo by Matt Forsythe. 

And just down the street, 24 artists and tenants who were evicted from the historic Coffin Factory lined the street with caskets that touched on the ideas of home (and lack thereof) in a thoughtful and appropriately morbid dislay of anti-displacement. 

Meanwhile babies (fake ones) were being shot out of a cannon courtesy of a super playful performance called Everyone Wants a Free Baby, organized by Studio F Minus. People were loving these faux newborns parachuting down into the crowd. 

nuit blanche 2019 toronto

Detritus allowed access to the salt dome on Wellington Street. Photo by Matt Forstythe. 

If you didn't get a chance to visit Detritus on Wellington Street, you missed out on a glimpse inside this towering salt dome. 

Lines were also long for a pair of humming shipping containers at David Pecaut Square. Here, Javid Jah's artwork XSITE became a hub for sacred geometry and some very soothing frequencies. 

Speaking of frequencies, there were some sweet beats that only headphone-wearers could hear at the silent disco, an event not officially part of Nuit Blanche which utilized Graffiti Alley perfectly. 

nuit blanche 2019 toronto

Scarborough exhibits highlighted local heroes. Photo by Fareen Karim. 

Meanwhile, the unsung heroes of Scarborough were showcased front and centre in multiple different exhibits like Scarborough Made and the Kings and Queens of Scarborough. 

(Speaking of kings, did you catch a selfie with the self-proclaimed King of Nuit Blanche outside Old City Hall?)

nuit blanche 2019 toronto

Artist Jordan Bennett brought colour to Albert Campbell Square with Tepknuset. Photo by Fareen Karim.

Tepknuset was a colourful display of Mi'kmaq visual culture at Albert Campbell Square, while other big ticket artist included Alexis Eke, Durothethird, and pop artist Hatecopy, who hosted the Big Feminist Game Show. 

Ephemeral Artifacts was a ritualistic performance which took over STC with hanging bells and live acts of stringing fresh jasmine garlands. 

Danforth East's inaugural offerings were small in number, but Tile-Scape was definitely a fun and highly interactive installation that used Scrabble pieces. 

nuit blanche toronto 2019

Yonge-Dundas Square got a 25-foot-tall glacier. Photo by Hector Vasquez. 

Other installations were less interactive but grander in scale, like Yonge-Dundas Square's On Thin Ice, which was a basic walk through beneath this 25-foot-tall glacier.

And the historic Campbell House, also not officially part of Nuit Blanche, got a futuristic makeover with Tron-like lighting, which effectively transformed this old space into something out of a movie. 

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim


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