Planning for a First Time Visit to Nuit Blanche

Toronto’s Nuit Blanche is taking over Toronto this weekend. On Saturday night from dusk till dawn the downtown core will transform into an all-night party. Visitors get a chance to see and interact with over 150 art exhibits featuring music, light and sound, dance, visual art and more. Hundreds of artists come together to create the show.

I have never been to Nuit Blanche before, but I hear it’s all the rage as many of the contemporary art projects are featured in strange and unconventional places, making it a must-see experience.

Good news for commuters like me is that Go Transit will be providing extra trips overnight on Saturday to accommodate the out-of-towners. This is great news because I can attend the art show and don’t have to worry about how I’m getting home.

The only problem I now face is how do I decide what to see and where to start? With over 150 exhbitis, planning is going to be necessary, and the people at Nuit Blanche have made it easy by providing an online nightly planner and an interactive map that shows where everything takes place.

After some solid research and tough decision-making here are some exhibits that I put on my must-see list:

1. Ryerson Image Centre Official Opening – located at Ryerson Image Arts Centre

Showing my #Ryepride by hitting up the debut of our school’s new Image Art Centre.

Archival Dialogues: Reading the Black Star Collection will showcase Canadian  artists’ work inspired from the Black Star Collection, a New York photo agency founded by three German Jews who were fleeing Nazi Germany in 1935. Many of the images from this collection were used in The New York Times and Life magazine. Alongside this exhibit will also be The Art of the Archive where your fellow students from the School of Image Arts will showcase their work.  You might also get a chance to create some art of your own by playing with the building’s exterior LED lighting system that is controlled by, get this, your own smartphone. Sounds pretty cool to me

2. More #Ryepride – Light Seeds – located at the bridge that connects the Rogers Communication Centre with Kerr Hall East.

Visitors to this exhibit will have a chance to control illuminated lights on the bridge from Kerr Hall to the RCC. Created by Ryerson physics and engineering students,  pedestrians on the street below the bridge will control sensors (musical, percussive, optical and kinetic) that use microelectronics to create a dynamic light show on the bridge above.

3. Fun House – located at Bay St and Adelaide St W

Carnivals and clowns are super creepy so I’m crossing my fingers this exhibit is the same! Created by Toronto Artist Thom Sokoloski, it’s a play on a classic carnival fun house where visitors can take a car ride and journey through a circus of light, sound and imagery that both scare and surprise you. I really hope this doesn’t disappoint! The creator was apparently obsessed with carnivals and fun houses growing up and has taken his inspiration from them. Visitors also get to participate by turning cell phones into flashing, coloured lights by scanning a QR code.

4. All Together now – located at Richmond Adelaide Centre, 111 Richmond St. W

A must-see if you’re a fan of dance parties! Each hour for the 12 hours of Nuit Blanche visitors to this exhibit will have a chance to learn a different style of dance. Each hour will have a different dance form and different instructor, beginning with a Flash Mob at 7 p.m.

5. Body Xerox – located indoors at King St. E and Toronto Street

Photocopiers will function as disco lights to animate this event. International DJs Craxxxmurf and Baglady will keep you dancing on the darkend dance floor while photocopy paper accumulates round the machines. The Nuit Blanche website says that flashes of green lights and puddles will create a night-club-meets-office atmosphere. Sounds awesome!

I read an article here that says over 1 million people took to the streets downtown to last year for the event, so be prepared for a crowd.

The event goes until sunrise so you have plenty of time to navigate the streets and hit up everything you plan on your route. If you’re a night hawk, why not head out late, say around 2 a.m. and stay out to catch the sunrise.

For more information on Nuit Blanche (such as where to eat and rest and what else to see) go to their website

Let me know if you have any tips for a first time Nuit Blanche visitor and what you’re most excited to see.