Nuit Blanche is tonight — here's what to expect

The free, all-ages event runs from Saturday at 7 p.m. to sunrise on Sunday. The TTC will run all night and there are multiple road closures.

TTC will run all night, expect road closures

The scene at Nathan Phillips Square during Nuit Blanche Toronto in 2017. The free event will run this weekend from sunset to sunrise. (Courtesy of the City of Toronto)

Parts of Toronto will transform into an art destination Saturday night as Nuit Blanche takes over the city for its 14th year. 

The free, all-ages event will run all night from Saturday at 7 p.m. to sunrise on Sunday. It's set to feature more than 80 contemporary art installations in various neighbourhoods from downtown to Danforth East to Scarborough. You can see a map of the art projects here. 

The TTC will run all night and there will be several road closures. More than a million people are expected to attend. 

People in Toronto stand on a bridge overlooking an installation in Nathan Phillips Square Saturday evening. (Michael Aitkens/CBC)

The art

Art will be all over the city on Saturday night. 

People can see nearly 90 contemporary art installations in various neighbourhoods, such as downtown, Don Mills, Queen West, Sterling Road and the Waterfront.

'Peace to the Past, Reach for the Future' is an installation near Old City Hall honouring 25 years of the Toronto Raptors. (Michael Aitkens/CBC)

For the first time this year, Nuit Blanche will have a hub along Danforth East, between the Greenwood and Coxwell TTC stations.

Among the dozens of installations, Director X's exhibit Life of the Earth, which is expected to address climate change, will be at the back of the Ontario Science Centre building. The Eaton Centre bridge will depict the northern lights in Chasing Red by Bekah Brown. Raptors fans can see a championship sculpture on Bay Street.

A life-size image series will celebrate Scarborough's stars and pioneers at the Scarborough Town Centre (ReConnected STC by Mark "Kurupt" Stoddart).

'ReConnected STC,' by Mark Stoddart, is aimed at promoting the contributions and achievements of individuals who were raised in Scarborough. (Submitted by Michele Simpson)

The theme of this year's event is Continuum, showcasing the "renewal of night into day."

The theme "Continuum" is about working together to survive, said Umbereen Inayet, the City of Toronto's programming supervisor.  If we're going to continue "as a civilization, as humans, as people of Toronto," she said, we need to "continue to work at how we're going to serve each other." 

In Scarborough, the specific theme is "Queens and Kings of Scarborough."

'Scarborough Made' will depict the lives and stories of hardworking families and immigrants in the city's east end, according to the City of Toronto's website. (Submitted by Michele Simpson)

Curator Ashley McKenzie-Barnes said she wanted to honour and reflect the "bodies of Scarborough," in a way that isn't typically seen in high contemporary art.

There are so many first and second generation immigrant communities in Scarborough, said McKenzie-Barnes, who wanted to "flip] the script."

'Teknuset' by artist Jordan Bennett is one of the projects in Nuit Blanche Scarborough in the civic centre. (Supplied by Ashley McKenzie-Barnes)


The TTC will be extending its service for the event and will run all night. Train service will be available on Line 1 Yonge-University, Line 2 Bloor-Danforth and Line 3 Scarborough RT from 7 p.m. on Saturday to 7 a.m. on Sunday. 

TTC customers checking out the art in Scarborough will get free re-entry at Scarborough Centre Station, the transit agency's website says.

Artist Jonathan Schipper has created an installation at one of the city's salt yards on Wellington Street West, where he uses road salt and a 3D printer to create models of everyday objects. (Lorenda Reddekopp/CBC)

The Science Centre will offer free parking for the night, though space is limited. Unlike last year, there will not be a free shuttle from the subway, which was coordinated by "Nuit Blanche Independent Project partners."

Road closures

Partial and full road closures will be in effect this weekend as the event expects to see high volumes of people attending. Here is a list of road closures:

  • Bay Street between Dundas Street West and Adelaide Street West from 8 a.m. Saturday until noon on Sunday.
  • Queen Street West between Yonge Street and University Avenue from 4 p.m. on Saturday until 10 a.m. on Sunday.
  • Fort York Boulevard between Ianuzzi Street and Fleet Street from 4 p.m. on Saturday, to noon on Sunday.
  • Bay Street between Richmond Street West and Queen Street West from 8 p.m. on Friday to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Dundas Street East between Yonge Street and O'Keefe Lane from 8 p.m. on Friday to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Fort York Boulevard between Angelique Street and Fleet Street from 8 p.m. on Friday to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The following road closures in Scarborough will be in effect from 8 a.m. on Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday:

  • Borough Approach East between Borough Drive and Ellesmere Road.
  • Borough Drive between Brian Harrison Way and Town Centre Court.
  • Town Centre Court from south of the City of Toronto parking lot to Borough Drive.

Event centres

There will be four event centres that people can visit during Nuit Blanche. You can get a map, ask for information from a volunteer and take a break at these locations. The centres will have washrooms, food vendors and first aid services. Here's where you can find them:

  • Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W
  • Yonge-Dundas Square, 1 Dundas St. E. 
  • Fort York Visitor Centre, 250 Fort York Blvd. 
  • Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr.

You can find more information about the event here.

Nuit Blanche has been around since 2006 and is "the city's largest contemporary art celebration from sunset to sunrise," said Michele Simpson, the supervisor of special events for the City of Toronto.

More than one million people are expected to attend this year's Nuit Blanche. (Courtesy of Nuit Blanche Toronto)

"It has featured almost 1,571 art installations by approximately 5,600 artists and has generated more than $398 million in economic impact for Toronto," said Simpson.

With files from Here and Now


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