Nuit Blanche livens up Winnipeg night life

Thousands of Winnipeggers lit up the city Saturday evening for all-night contemporary art show Nuit Blanche.

Free pop-up events transformed the city streetscape Saturday night

Hundreds of Winnipeggers channelled their energy while wandering through the Passage created by Serge Maheu. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Thousands of Winnipeggers lit up the city Saturday evening for the all-night contemporary art show Nuit Blanche.

Observers flocked to downtown, the Exchange District, Saint Boniface and the West End to see the streetscape transformed by interactive installations, travelling tours and performances.

The free event ran until midnight as part of Culture Days weekend organized by the Winnipeg Arts Council and Culture Days Manitoba.

Dozens of exhibits and events took over galleries, businesses and patios, as well as parking lots and back alleys.

Nuit Blanche transforms Winnipeg's Exchange District on Saturday night. (Ahmar Khan/CBC)

Created by Serge Maheu, pedestrians wandered through the Passage — a playful tunnel full of lights and sound — set up along the foot bridge at the Forks.

"Well that was trippy and weird," a passerby said while exiting the tunnel.

Art observers march through the Passage, a tunnel used to explore emotional connections using light and sound, created by Serge Maheu. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

"My wife wanted to see this thing," Allan Whickers said after passing through the channel with his wife. The two are veteran Nuit Blanche observers.

The highlight of the night for Whickers and the group he was travelling with was a play at Patent 5 Distillery on Alexander Avenue. Meanwhile, the sidewalks and roads were bustling with pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle traffic weaving around the central area.

Young march along a bright installation lighting up the sidewalk outside Red River College in the Exchange District. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

"We watched that show then we left and made a big mistake," he said. Whickers tried to re-park the group's vehicle, but between street closures and high traffic, parking was a problem for them.

"There is not a parking spot to be found over there," he said.

Despite that hiccup, Whickers and his group enjoyed their walk from St. Boniface over the Provencher Bridge.

A living mannequin poses in a storefront window at Chocolatier Constance Popp in St. Boniface, where DJBeekeeni provided the soundtrack. (Karen Pauls/CBC)

Sherrylyn Dumaua was joined by her two children, husband, additional family and friends at the Forks.

Dumaua said she enjoys looking at the different structures around the city. She took her one-year-old daughter to the mini-Nuit Blanche at the Children's Museum so her young child could experience some of Winnipeg's night life.

"I don't really like keeping her out late because she is still quite young, but there's a lot of people that have been attracted to the scene," Dumaua said as her daughter marched along by her side, hand-in-hand, long passed her usual bedtime.

A rogue exhibit rolled into a parking lot at the intersection of Inkster Boulevard and Main Street on Saturday evening, brightening up the North End.

Back at the Forks, some observers took the chance to see the Ai Weiwei sculpture made of 1,254 bicycles.

Ai Weiwei's sculpture lights up the night from the Forks. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

"I think it's beautiful, kind of mesmerizing," Suzanne Stobbe said, a first-time Nuit Blanche-goer, who stumbled upon the piece of work during a pit stop while travelling to the Old Market Square on her bicycle.

"I didn't really know what to expect," Stobbe said.

A cyclist experiences Ai Weiwei's new art sculpture at the Forks during Nuit Blanche. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

CBC Manitoba hosted Flow in the Dark — a glow-in-the-dark yoga class. Participants exercised to the beat of live music mixed by a DJ after getting jazzed up with glowing face-paint and glow sticks.

Winnipeggers lit up the CBC Manitoba studio during glow-in-the-dark yoga classes to the tune of a live DJ on Saturday evening. (Justin Deeley/CBC)

Erin Riediger, an architectural intern in Winnipeg said she thinks Nuit Blanche transforms the city for a night.

"I love the way Nuit Blanche transforms the city because it becomes a human centric city for a night. People recognize the joy of walking and biking, encountering art and culture, but more importantly other people. Something you can't do on a regular day in your car or in a rush between your daily tasks," Riediger said.

"In the exchange especially, I love seeing people recognize they can take up space in the street and the joy it brings them to dance, socialize and play without worrying about the rules of the road."

Nuit Blanche-goers took part in glow-in-the-dark basketball Saturday night. (Ahmar Khan/CBC)


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