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Monday, September 24, 2018

The top 25 exhibits to check out at Nuit Blanche Toronto 2018

Nuit Blanche 2018 in Toronto will challenge your perceptions of the city, allowing you to explore familiar spaces with new eyes, from viewpoints as varied as the artists behind them.

This year's theme, You Are Here, is about the place we call home and the people within it —  past, present and future. From sunset to sunrise, the reinterpreted spaces of Toronto are yours to discover on September 29.

Here are my picks for must-see exhibits this year at Nuit Blanche.

Must-see exhibits

Photon Gallery 4.0 

This highly interactive group exhibit near Bloor and Ossington from Site 3 coLaboratory will feature a wearable version of the video game Frogger, an air-hockey table that shoots fire, a waterfall that lets you "freeze" droplets in mid air, sentient glowing orbs and more.

Cavalier Noir

Visual artist Ekow Nimako will be using more than 80,000 Lego pieces to build his most monumental piece yet in Scarborough. Meant to inspire critical thought about the idea of heroes, it will take the form of a black child warrior mounted over seven feet tall, riding a unicorn.

International Dumpling Festival 

Part side-street food court, part tribute to downtown Toronto's 19th century ethnic communities, Ken Lum's International Dumpling Festival next to the Eaton Centre at James and Queen will feature dumplings from around the world.

On Flashing Lights 

DJs from Toronto's queer, immigrant and racialized communities are set to perform against the lights of police vehicles, which will be forming a barricade along Bay Street as part of this thought-provoking, participatory installation by artist Brendan Fernandes.

nuit blanche 2018

See the latest from BirdO at 150 York St. near University and Adelaide in the Financial District.


Toronto street artist birdO is creating his first large-scale sculpture for the garden podium, an urban oasis above 150 York Street. Inspired by the small yet resilient Kirtland's Warbler, his vibrant, animalistic sculpture is expected to "loom large over the downtown core."

Make Your Mark

Interactive exhibitions never fail to disappoint. For this one, artist Meghan Ross is asking members of the public to dip their fingertips in glue, let the glue dry, peel it off, and then contribute their own unique patterns to a shimmering mass at Toronto's Coach Terminal.

nuit blanche 2018

Daniel Iregui is setting up some trippy tunnels at OCAD.


Visit OCAD this Nuit Blanche to experience Daniel Iregui's trippy "tunnels," which generate infinite ways to get to a distant point on the horizon. The unique combination of sight, sound and movement speaks to the idea that our present lives are forever fleeing us.

Demos – A Reconstruction 

The newly-opened MOCA on Sterling Road invites visitors to reshape their space using 74 different modules that can be moved to create different structures such as seating, walls, columns, thresholds, amphitheatres or stages. Designed by artist Andreas Angelidakis.

nuit blanche 2018

Don't let the human skelatons scare you at the exhibit by nichola feldman-kiss.

an initial aversion to the plight of the sufferer 

This haunting exhibition from nichola feldman-kiss features larger than life-sized portraits of young men holding an actual human skeleton. The anonymous skeleton is approximately the same age as the men who carry it in the style of Mary cradling the body of Christ.

Long Distance Relationship  

Participants are invited to communicate with each other using only light, sound and shadow in Christopher Dela Cruz and Patrick Atienza's two-part electronic installation. The kicker is that one half of the installation is downtown, while the other is in Scarborough.

What to see in Scarborough

nuit blanche 2018

Hiba Abdallah is planning a large-scale text installation at the Scarborough Civic Centre.

Everything I Wanted to Tell You

Artist Hiba Abdallah's large-scale text installation will display the untold personal stories, secrets and conversations of Scarborough residents in all of their complexity on the 90-foot facade of the Civic Centre for one night.


Straight up out of London, England comes this installation where volunteers get 3D-scanned, turned into digital avatars, and then project-mapped onto an artfully designed series of boxes. The more participants through the night, the bigger the projections will grow.

nuit blanche 2018

If you love globes you'll want to check out Walk Among Worlds. Photo by Sue Holland.

Walk Among Worlds

Surround yourself in globes of all sizes, shapes and states. This large installation by Mexico's Máximo González is meant to provoke discussion about how we understand worlds that are different from the ones we inhabit, but would also just make a great photo backdrop.

Sincerely, Scarborough

Helmed by the acclaimed Director X, this all-night program of talks, workshops, and live demonstrations begins with an exploration of Scarborough's influence on Canadian hip-hop and ends with sunrise yoga.

What to see in Don Mills

nuit blanche 2018

Go inside a yurt at the Aga Khan Museum this Nuit Blanche. Photo by Connie Tsang.

Arrivals and Encounters

If you're looking to take in as much art as possible without all the walking, consider Aga Khan Museum's all-night cultural exploration of art, music, comedy and dance. The program features more than 80 artists in ten spaces across the property — one of them, a Mongolian yurt.

STEAM-Powered Stories

Science, technology, engineering, math and art will collide this nuit blanche for some truly unforgettable stories and interactive experiences at the Ontario Science Centre. Walk through a 3D model of a constellation, for starters, between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

What to see in Bloor Yorkville

nuit blanche 2018

A ghost school will be projected near Queen's Park. Image via St Joseph’s College School.

Ghost School

A massive projection of the original St. Joseph's School, founded on principles of social justice by the Sisters of St. Joseph, will be projected onto the government towers that came to replace it in the 1960s. The "ghost school" will be visible all night near Queen's Park. 


Another collaborative, multi-artist exhibition, W-O-M-A-N promises to lead audience members through "societal rites of passage" for women with costume design, horticultural art, mosaics,  sculpture, videography, performance art and more.

What to see Downtown

nuit blanche 2018

Keep your eyes on the sky bridge during Nuit Blanche. Photo by Justine Levesque.

Continuum: Pushing Towards the Light 

Circus artists and dancers will fill the CF Toronto Eaton Centre's spectacular new bronze and glass sky bridge over Queen Street West for what promises to be one heck of a light and colour show. Performers will be moving as an ensemble inside the tube all night.

Down at the Twilight Zone

Hit the City Hall loading dock between sunrise and sunset for what acclaimed artist Harold Offeh calls a "participatory investigation" of nocturnal queer identities. The space will be transformed into a club-like setting reminiscent of Toronto's legendary Twilight Zone.

nuit blanche 2018

Old photos will be on display in a parking garage near City Hall. Image via Gayle Chong Kwan.


Hosted in the underground parkade beneath Nathan Phillips Square, this installation from award-winning British artist Gayle Chong Kwan will see collages of old photos from early immigrant neighbourhoods like Toronto's Ward blown up to the size of theatre sets.


Projects that ask audience members to anonymously spill their guts are a recurring thing at Nuit Blanche, and for a reason: They're cathartic as heck. You can share your most scandalous secrets for this exhibit by Concordis in a booth on Sept 29, or ahead of time online.

nuit blanche 2018

City Hall will be covered in a patchwork of jute sacks during Nuit Blanche. Image via Ibrahim Mahama.

Radical Histories 

For this gigantic installation, Artist Ibrahim Maham will cover the front-facing edge of Toronto City Hall with a masterfully-sewn patchwork of jute sacks, which are used in his native Ghana to package goods like cocoa and coffee for export to the Americas and Europe.

Mirrors of Babel

Words become structure in two complementary works by French-Tunisian artist eL Seed. One piece sits at Yonge-Dundas Square while the other is at Scarborough Civic Centre. Both are works of "calligraphic architecture" based on the Arabic translation of a 1903 poem.

Special Events

Hendrick's Gin Hot Air Balloon

Those lucky enough to score a pair of golden tickets will get to see Nuit Blanche from above in the 65-foot Hendrick’s Gin L.E.V.I.T.A.T.R.E. hot air balloon. Visit the Air Departure Lounge at Nathan Phillips Square for the chance to win a flight every hour between 7 p.m. and 12 a.m.

nuit blanche 2018

The Hendrick's Gin Hot Air Balloon will once again be giving free rides in the sky during Nuit Blanche. Photo by Hector Vasquez

Photo challenge

Nuit Blanche is a huge photo opp, so why not tag your photos on Instagram for a chance to win prizes? The contest starts when Nuit Blanche does at 6:58 p.m. on Saturday September 29 and the deadline to submit is the end of day September 30.

All you have to do is tag your best shots with the #blogTOnbTO hashtag. Not on Instagram? You can also e-mail the photos to us at photochallenge [at] blogto [dotcom].

We'll then narrow the entries to ten finalists and put the winners to a vote from October 1 to October 7 after which the winners will be announced.

Prizes for the top three photos include:

  • 1st place: $200 Henry's giftcard
  • 2nd place: $100 Henry's giftcard
  • 3rd place: $50 Henry's giftcard

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

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