Nuit Blanche

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The Nuit Blanche 2014 program is out
(Image: Scotiabank Nuit Blanche)

(Image: Scotiabank Nuit Blanche)

For weeks, we’ve been watching supermarkets slowly sneak Halloween candy onto shelves, and now here comes another nail in summer’s coffin: the city has just released the full program for the 2014 edition of Nuit Blanche, which is scheduled to take place on October 4. Among the highlights at this year’s all-night art fest will be Global Rainbow (pictured to the left), a massive, up-to-60-kilometre-long rainbow made of lasers, created by artist Yvette Mattern. Information on that and more than 120 other planned art projects is available on the Nuit Blanche website.

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Nuit Blanche 2013 Guide: 15 must-see spectacles at Toronto’s eighth annual all-night art crawl

Nuit Blanche 2013 Guide:

(Images, from left: Taipei Fine Arts Museum; Marcin Kedzior and Christine Kim (top); Diane Borsato (top); Daniel Suarez, courtesy of Tadashi Kawamata and Kamel Mennoun (bottom)

On Saturday, October 5, thousands of art lovers, merrymakers and idle observers will congregate downtown for the eighth annual Nuit Blanche, Toronto’s nightlong art festival. This year’s fest, which runs from 6:51 p.m. until dawn, brings an unusually weird and wonderful set of exhibits, including a bicycle-powered salmon smoker, an olfactory-based installation and an enormous float made up of 6,300 individual origami helmets. Here, our top 15 picks of the night (click here to see our picks on a map).

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The Dish

Where to Eat and Drink

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Nuit Mange: where to eat in the middle of the night during Nuit Blanche 2012

Nuit Mange: where to eat in the middle of the night during Nuit Blanche 2012

Shelley Miller’s Throw-Up will be outside Metro Hall (Image: Shelley Miller)

Nuit Blanche opens on Saturday night at 7:03 p.m. (see our full guide), and with an entire night of roaming Toronto’s transformed streets, galleries and everything in between, odds are you’ll get hungry. To help, the folks behind the festival have dispatched a fleet of food trucks, which will be out in full force at three designated downtown “rest stops.” Several restaurants are also keeping their doors open late with special offerings. Below, our roundup of where to eat in each zone, near city hall and outside of the box (i.e. near the independent projects in Parkdale).

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Events

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Nuit Blanche 2012 guide: our top 20 picks for Toronto’s seventh annual all-night art crawl

Nuit Blanche Guide 2012
Nuit Blanche 2012: City Hall
Nuit Blanche 2012: Zone A
Nuit Blanche 2012: Zone B
Nuit Blanche 2012: Zone C
Nuit Blanche Guide 2012

This Saturday, September 29, hordes of art lovers, all-purpose revellers and the generally curious will take to downtown for the seventh iteration of Nuit Blanche. The fun kicks off just as the sun goes down (7:03 p.m. this year), and continues until the sun rises the next morning (and if past years are anything to go by, the crowds will stay strong into the wee, wee hours). Essential provisions for the night: warm clothing (or better, layers), a little sustenance (liquid or otherwise) and this guide of the top 20 things to see, in which we translate the oft-baffling art-speak used to describe the various projects into plain old English. This year, the fest is divided into four areas: City Hall, Zone A (downtown south and west), Zone B (central downtown) and Zone C (east of downtown).

See all our picks, starting with City Hall »

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Events

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The Weekender: Nuit Blanche, Paper Bag’s 10th anniversary and six other events on our to-do list

Julia Sasso’s SLoE plays Harbourfront’s Enwave Theatre this weekend (Image: John Lauener)

1. SCOTIABANK NUIT BLANCHE (FREE!)
From dusk to dawn, the streets of Toronto will be packed with art and art lovers for the seventh iteration of Nuit Blanche. Over 150 contemporary projects will sprawl across three mostly downtown zones. Highly anticipated events include Reflexion, a 20-by-20-foot interactive “video crystal” at Yonge-Dundas Square, and Museum for the End of the World, a cluster of artworks in and around city hall (even inside council chambers). Check out our top 20 picks. September 29. Various venues. scotiabanknuitblanche.ca

2. CANADA’S BAKING AND SWEETS SHOW
Those looking for an excuse to take a “cheat” day from that diet can indulge themselves at Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show. Professional chefs and amateur bakers will sample and swap recipes, with tons of workshops, baking competitions and product demonstrations packed into the three-day convention. Headlining the show are Duff Goldman of Ace of Cakes, Anna Olson and the cast of Sugar Stars. We’d advise multiple bags for all the goodies, and perhaps some carrot sticks to counteract the inevitable sugar rush. September 28–30. $14. The International Centre, 6900 Airport Rd., canadasbakingandsweetsshow.com

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The Goods

Homes

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Great Spaces: a graffiti-covered west end warehouse hides a loft of airplane hangar proportions

Great Spaces: Go Big, or Go Home Great Spaces: Go Big, or Go Home

A varnished cedar gate with a doorknob is the only indication that the commercial-looking building near Bloor and Dovercourt is still in use. The address doesn’t show up on most GPS systems, and it only got a postal code last year. This makes getting deliveries and hosting parties a little problematic, but Jonathan Rosenthal, a 47-year-old criminal defence attorney, is willing to put up with a few challenges in exchange for living in a truly unique space. When he bought the 8,000-square-foot warehouse five years ago, it was divided into small units (three residential and seven commercial), each with industrial-carpeted floors and tiny windows.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 27, because we’re night owls

Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 27, Because we’re night owls

At approximately 4 a.m. last Nuit Blanche, some friends and I filed into the brightly lit New Ho King on Spadina for heaping plates of General Tso chicken and hunan tofu. Similarly wired Nuit Blanchers squeezed past our chairs and guffawed loudly from neighbouring tables. The mood was celebratory and a little overwhelming, and by the time we left an hour later, stomachs full, there was still a lineup.

One mark of a great city is that its citizens can purchase a decent meal whenever they want, or a roll of aluminum foil whenever they happen to need it. Or play a game of five-pin whenever they’re feeling spontaneous (Rexdale Bowlerama is open till 4 a.m.). By this standard, Toronto is now officially a 24-hour city, accommodating all sleep schedules with a booming all-night culture.

It used to be that the only options were a handful of diners—The Lakeview, Fran’s and Vesta Lunch—or a quick taquito from one of our 19 7-Elevens. They’re now joined by restaurants you might actually visit during normal-person hours. The King West party crowd can rely on the Thompson Hotel for break-of-dawn burgers and Reggie’s Old Fashioned Sandwiches for the old-fashioned sandwiches one needs before staggering home to pass out beside the toilet. The County General, which took over Oddfellows’ old space last fall, is open until 3 a.m. from Thursday to Saturday, which is great for when you can’t sleep but don’t want to feel like the whole world is dead. Whenever I walk by, the sidewalk outside is clogged with belligerent men, and women in fearfully high heels. Sometimes I join them; more often than not I hike up to New Ho for the greasy, delicious carbs I know and love. It’s great to have options, even when you’re a creature of habit.

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The Dish

Food Events

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Dîner en blanc, Toronto’s other white meet

About 400 sartorial albinos descended on the Distillery District yesterday for Toronto’s first Dîner en Blanc (apparently unconcerned that Nuit Blanche usually has dibs on the colour this season). Partly organized by Suresh Doss—the man behind Food Truck Eats—the feast was a pilot of sorts, not formally affiliated with the official events in Paris, Berlin, New York and elsewhere. The concept remained the same: dress in your finest whites, bring your own haute cuisine and show up at a public locale that’s revealed only shortly beforehand. The dinner bills itself as a high-class affair; indeed, its code of conduct warns that “only the most proper decorum will be tolerated,” attested to in the photos up at Torontoist and The Grid. In Montreal, on the other hand, it seems they do things a little differently: this video from 2010 features a very posh Gandalf the White at 3:30, as well as a truly graceful conga line at 5:45. Read the whole story [Torontoist] [The Grid] »

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Culture

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Nuit Blanche 2011 guide: what to wait for and what to avoid at Toronto’s all-night art crawl

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Nuit Blanche is upon us this weekend, which means revellers will be wandering the streets into the wee hours of the morning. The arty fun starts at 6:59 p.m. on October 1 (when the sun goes down) and continues until sunrise on October 2 (which, according to our research, is approximately 7:16 a.m.); this means planning accordingly for midnight crowds and late-night installation viewing (and, of course, snacks and drinks). We recommend what to see and what to skip from zones A, B and C after the jump.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Food Truck Eats to pull an all-nighter for round three

Food Truck Eats has proven itself a hugely popular new addition to Toronto’s street food scene (despite a setback earlier this month), but there is truly no greater hell than waiting in line for over an hour for a caramel apple pie, only for Cupcake Diner to sell out. Organizer Suresh Doss is taking a bold step for round three on October 1: meals on wheels from dusk till dawn. The late hour would normally ease the labyrinthine lines and food shortages, but there’s no guarantee, since the event overlaps with Nuit Blanche. Expect two new trucks, Portobello Burger and Felix and Norton Cookies, as well as several new vendors.

The Informer

Culture

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The Great Nuit Blanche Scavenger Hunt: spot these 30 items

Let’s face it, the annual all-nighter art fest isn’t for everyone—whether it’s the chilly weather, crowds or corporate sponsors, attendees can always find something to complain about. So to make Nuit Blanche a tad more fun, we created a scavenger hunt perfect for waiting out long line-ups. Below, a list of 30 items to check off throughout the night.

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The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: Nuit Blanche, a David Sedaris reading and six other can’t-miss events

1. NUIT BLANCHE (FREE!)
Nuit Blanche, Toronto’s once-small all-night arts festival, has exploded. Now in its fifth year, there are more than 130 listed art projects in three cross-city zones, and it’s time to admit there’s no way a person could conceivably see everything. Check out our top 10 must-see events instead. Oct. 2. Various locations, scotiabanknuitblanche.ca.

2. BLASTED
When this now-celebrated play first premiered in England in the mid-’90s, critics were less than impressed (the words “a disgusting feast of filth” were used). In the intervening years, opinion on the work may have shifted, but Blasted hasn’t become any less intense. Playwright Sarah Kane uses cannibalism, rape and brutality to draw parallels between domestic violence and war. On Sunday, check out the post-show pub, where some of the artists behind the play will be on hand for discussion at a “cocktail party meets book club.” To Oct. 17. $23–$33. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St., 416-975-8555, totix.ca.

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The Informer

Features

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Nuit Blanche Guide: 10 must-see spectacles

Overwhelmed by the prospect of navigating Nuit Blanche’s 12-hour downtown art party? Don’t be. Here’s an insider’s guide to the top 10 spectacles on October 2, mapped for your convenience. Read about each of our picks after the jump.

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The Informer

Features

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Get off the Road: Toronto street festivals take the whole city hostage. Jan Wong says that it’s time we learn to say no

Illustration of Toronto road closures due to festivals

(Image: Jack Dylan)

One of Toronto’s biggest, most aggravating problems is traffic. In a recent poll about the upcoming mayoral election, Torontonians ranked congestion as one of their most significant concerns, above even the economy. Gridlock costs Toronto untold millions in lost productivity. Then there’s everyone’s wasted time, not to mention missed flights and appointments, and overall frustration. “Our roads and transit systems are strained,” says Julia Deans, CEO of the Toronto City Summit Alliance, who believes efficient roads are critical to our competitiveness and quality of life.

This summer, if getting from one part of the city to another seemed particularly hellish, that’s because it was. The 2010 municipal capital budget is 50 per cent larger than last year. In addition, road repairs ramped up as the city eagerly spent federal infrastructure stimulus funds that will expire at the end of March.

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The Informer

Culture

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Nuit Blanche exhibit will allow spectators to control CN Tower light show

The lights on the tower will change with every new text (Image: Rupert Taylor-Price)

The nightly CN Tower LED display has garnered mixed reactions since it began in 2007—some even compared it to a sci-fi Christmas tree. Perhaps that’s why “E-TOWER,” one of this year’s Nuit Blanche exhibits, is giving power to the people, literally, by allowing spectators to control the light display via text messages.

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