12 installations you have to check out at Nuit Blanche this weekend

Oct 3 2019, 5:57 pm

On October 5, Toronto will be transformed into one of the largest and most unique all-night art festivals in the world, with contemporary art installations scattered throughout the city.

From sundown to sunrise (7 pm to 7 am), Toronto will be yours to discover. And with nearly 89 contemporary art projects by more than 300 local, national, and international artists there’ll definitely be something to pique everyone’s interests.

This year’s event will present two City of Toronto-produced, curated exhibitions in Scarborough and at Fort York, and a large-scale artist installation at Nathan Phillips Square will be presented under the event-wide theme, Continuum.

Not sure what to check out first? We’ve rounded up 12 installations generating serious buzz, in no particular order.

Peace to the Past, Reach for the Future


Peace to the Past, Reach for the Future/City of Toronto

As the Toronto Raptors turn 25, two Toronto artists, Bryan Espiritu and Esmaa Mohamoud, have partnered with the MLSE to create an 18-foot sculpture — honouring the NBA champions’ past, imagining their future, and celebrating the diverse communities that support them.

Where: Queen Street West and Bay Street

Life of the Earth

Director X/Instagram

Toronto’s Director X created the multimedia installation “Life of the Earth” in partnership with the Ontario Science Centre, and it involves a large-scale projection showing the Earth, as if seen from space, changing from the past to the present time and the future. This large-scale 360 projection will be on view alongside Death of the Sun, which was commissioned by Nuit Blanche Toronto in 2016.

Where: 770 Don Mills Road, Special Event Entrance off Gateway Blvd. (back of building)

Lunar Garden

Daniel Arsham/Instagram

Created by Daniel Arsham, Lunar Garden is a large-scale reinterpretation of a traditional Japanese Zen garden that’s complete with a musical score by Charlotte Day Wilson and Arsham’s iconic brightly coloured sand and sculptures.

Where: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West


Nuit Blanche Toronto/Instagram

At this installation, visitors will look up at an enormous, glowing orange orb, which is intended to be a reminder of the catastrophic effects of earth’s rising temperatures, before arranging their own beautifully-lit pathway, walking through a series of touch-sensitive, LED Nano Leaf light panels.

Where: MaRS Discovery District, 661 University Avenue


Nuit Blanche Toronto/Instagram

This Saturday, you won’t want to miss the captivating light installation ‘Nucleus’ under the Gardiner Expressway. Get ready for glowing pulses of light and radiating sounds, created by artist Nathan Whitford.

Where: 38 Dan Leckie (under the Gardiner Express Way at Dan Leckie Way and Housey Street)

Chasing Red


If you make your way to the CF Eaton Centre you’ll be greeted by a dynamic light installation depicting the northern lights house in the mall’s bridge arching over Queen Street. Created by Bekah Brown, an Anishinaabe artist, the installation will glow with hues that mimic the aurora borealis, with intensifying scarlet lights that symbolize Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Where: CF Toronto Eaton Centre Bridge, 15 Queen Street West

Creation: Destruction

Nuit Blanche Toronto/Instagram

This exhibit, which is made up of nine installations and created by Layne Hinton and Rui Pimenta, will challenge your understanding of creation and destruction. Visitors will have the chance to explore how these seemingly contradictory concepts are extensions of each other, two forces that both deplete and feed one another.

Where: Fort York, near 100 Garrison Road

The Big Feminist Game Show

Image courtesy of Hatecopy

Those who venture to Scarborough will have the chance to see Instagram sensation and artist Hatecopy host a large-scale interactive feminist game show, that exclusively features questions about prominent feminist figures, gender, pop culture, and more.

Where: Scarborough Town Centre, 300 Borough Drive

The Miss Chief Eagle Testickle Picture Show

Nuit Blanche Toronto/Instagram

While you’re in Scarborough, make sure to check out artist Kent Monkman’s bold and provocative new video installation highlighting Indigenous resilience through a cheeky collection of six videos starring Monkman’s gender-fluid alter ego.

Where: Scarborough Civic Centre, Council Chamber, 150 Borough Drive


Nuit Blanche Toronto/Instagram

“XSITE” will invite visitors to test their relationships with the heavenly bodies orbiting Toronto on Nuit Blanche. Two modified shipping containers will track planets and stars as they form aspects over the course of the night.

Where: David Pecaut Square, 215 King Street West

On Thin Ice 

Nuit Blanche Toronto/Instagram

Created by Ghost Atelier, On Thin Ice is a 25-foot (7.5 metre) high shard of “cracked ice” that will emerge on Yonge–Dundas Square as a massive reminder of the effects of climate change.

Where: Yonge-Dundas Square, 1 Dundas Street East

Kaleidoscope: A Social Media Trinity

Drake Hotel Properties – Kaleidoscope: A Social Media Trinity

Created by Alejandro Figueroa, this human-sized kaleidoscopic installation serves as a live feed of projections from social media — the “social media trinity” of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This Instagrammable installation invites visitors to explore a need for social validation and self-promotion in the digital age.

Where: Drake 150, 150 York Street

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2019

When: October 5
 7 pm to 7 am
Where: Locations throughout Toronto
Price: Free

Ainsley SmithAinsley Smith

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