van gogh toronto

Giant hot air balloon of Vincent van Gogh's head fails to launch in Toronto

Go, go, van Gogh! Go!... Please go. Why won't you go?

Crappy Toronto weather. That's why.

Fans of fine art, hot air balloons and weird things in general were disappointed on Wednesday night when the scheduled launch of a giant Vincent van Gogh head into the skies of Toronto didn't quite pan out as planned.

Organizers of the wildly-popular immersive van Gogh exhibition, which officially reopened in downtown Toronto this week, had previously announced (to much fanfare) that they would be launching a 91-foot hot air balloon shaped like the iconic Dutch artist's head over Yonge and Queen's Quay on July 28.

"A Van Gogh hot air balloon is floating its way around the Toronto waterfront from 5-8 pm today," tweeted the Waterfront BIA around 5:30 p.m. when sharing video footage of the grounded balloon billowing in a parking lot.

People in the city were stoked, because why wouldn't we be? That giant rubber duck attracted more than 750,000 people during its first run at the Toronto harbourfront in 2017.

Onlookers quite enjoyed watching the head inflate near the site of the exhibition at 1 Yonge St. 

Something started to feel amiss, however, when at 8:10 p.m. — ten minutes past the spectacle's scheduled end date — the balloon had yet to launch.

In the end, despite multiple attempts at getting van Gogh's enormous, post-impressionist-style likeness airborne, the balloon didn't make it off the ground. Officials on site blamed high winds.

The deflation was also cool, albeit kind of sad, to watch — and some in the city were even a bit relieved to know that big van Gogh wouldn't be floating past their windows.

Fortunately for those who want to see (slash take pictures) of the giant Vincent van Gogh head, two more launches are scheduled in the near future: One on July 31 and another on Aug. 1.

Both flights are planned to take place again from 5 until 8 p.m. those evenings, but it's all "weather dependent" so... no promises, this wet, windy summer.

Lead photo by

Briana-Lynn Brieiro


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