This Saturday the city will be transformed for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, the annual arts festival that sees hundreds of installations and performances throughout the core from dusk till dawn. With events spanning from Greenwood to Roncesvalles, Lakeshore to St. Clair, you will undoubtedly be able to find something to suit your fancy. Being UrbanToronto, we have a particular interest in all things architecture- and city-themed, so we’ve done a little digging and come up with a list of projects that we’d like to share with you.

Light installation at City Hall in 2008, image by smuncky

This list is in no way exhaustive. There are over 150 unique projects to explore, many with somewhat-cryptic descriptions, but nonetheless intriguing. For a complete list of Nuit Blanche events, check out the map here.


Alison Norlen (Sculpture)

Norlen’s installation draws inspiration from the often-eerie skeletal lighthouses that dotted shorelines in the 1800s. The installation will be erected within the cavernous Brookfield Place, an interior defined by arching expanses of steel and glass that we expect to wonderfully coalesce with Norlen’s work.

Beam of Underground Sun

Arezoo Talebzadeh, Kaven Ashourinia (Light Installation)

While we like to think of ourselves as experts on all things Toronto, we know relatively little about what goes on beneath our very feet. Talebzadeh and Ashourinia’s project seeks to draw attention to the extensive infrastructure mere metres below the pavement. Bright lights will shine up from airshafts in an attempt draw light into these oft-overlooked caverns that dot the city streets.


University of Toronto Schools Public Arts Team (Light Installation)

The contemporary art world is not known for being particularly welcoming, especially to students. This year a collective of students from UTS has brought Nuit Blanche to the classroom, using the historic building’s façade as a canvas upon which they will project various lights in an attempt to “reveal, conceal, expose, clarify and transform” the building.

Magic Window

St. Joseph’s College School (Light Installation) 

Another student-led project, Magic Window will see restored abandoned slides illuminated onto a 1960s building in order to create an illuminated "stained-glass quilt." The slides have been sourced from the Toronto Catholic District School Board, providing perspective on a world that many have not experienced and paying homage to the board’s history within the city.

Top Down

BRDGLab (Installation)

Located across from St. James Cathedral on Church Street, Top Down proposes to create an artificial topography of Toronto’s skyline, reducing buildings to heights that ebb and flow through space. Viewers are encouraged to walk through the space and encounter the city’s form through this unique lens. BRDGLab is composed of  four architecture students from the University of Waterloo.

Our Lights Are On!

ArtHeart/CSI/COBA/Native Earth Peforming Arts/Regent Park Film Festival + School of Music (Interactive Installation)

Following UrbanToronto's extensive coverage on the opening of Daniels Spectrum (re: Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre), we encourage you to stop by the centre yourself to check out a few of the diverse tenants that are calling it home. The full schedule of events and peformances can be found through the link above, with a variety of presentations running from 7 PM to 7 AM.

Archival Dialogues: Reading the Black Star Collection

Variety of artists - see event listing for detail (exhibition)

Located in Ryerson University's new Image Centre, Saturday night opens the doors of the Diamond Schmitt-designed building to the public, allowing you to check out the building as well as the extensive Back Star Collection of photojournalistic prints. 8 artists have been asked to create individual responses to the collection, formulating a dialogue between the archive and contemporary culture.

Future of Architecture 

Ontario Association of Architects (Exhibition)

While not an official part of Nuit Blanche, the OAA’s exhibit should be on every city-slickers agenda for the night. A number of proposals from various architectural firms will be exhibited, projects that re-imagine the future of urban landscapes that are unencumbered by overly-complicated planning and building codes. The exhibition will run from dusk till dawn and can be found in the Design Exchange; more information can be found in the link above.

Art Train Conductor No. 9

Go Transit (Mobile Art Project)

For those in and around Union Station, be sure to stop by platform 26 where the colorful Go Train coach will be parked for the night. The train features designs by Toronto-based artists Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins, and will be in-service until December 1 on the Richmond Hill and Lakeshore lines. The train will be accessible from 7 PM until 2 AM, with ‘art docents’ on board to explain the train's colorful design.

Related Companies:  Artscape, CFMS Consulting Inc., Diamond Schmitt Architects, NAK Design Strategies, Ryerson University, tcgpr (The Communications Group), The Daniels Corporation, Toronto Community Housing Corporation