Nuit Blanche Toronto 2023 is back on September 23, filling the city with art, performances, and cool installations all night long, with exhibits all over the city including Scarborough, North York, and Etobicoke.
This year’s theme is “Breaking Ground,” inviting artists to create artworks that explore how climate change and the development of Toronto’s urban landscape affects our communities.
Although it’s the only overnight art event of its magnitude coming to the city, it’s not the only art-focused event happening this month, with the Geary Art Crawl also taking place this weekend.
Nuit Blanche Toronto will start September 23 at 7 p.m. and go until 7 a.m. September 24. Make sure to dress for the weather as it can get chilly later at night!
Here are our top picks for must-see exhibits at Nuit Blanche 2023 in Toronto.
A massive inflatable sculpture of a “THANK YOU” plastic bag usually used by convenience stores is reimagined with the word “LOOT,” inviting you to forsake gratitude and instead take what you’re owed. You’ll find it at 390 Bay Street.
At Scarborough Town Centre, Philipino artist Leeroy New reimagines ancient Balangay boats as retro-futuristic space vessels made of bamboo and discarded plastics, inviting a conversation on the intersection of futurism and cultural heritage.
Head to Colonel Smith Park in Etobicoke and reflect on your memories as you watch a film about life’s experiences and how they shape and impact us. The movie’s full of prompts to make you question your own thoughts like, “What do you think of when you hear the word home?”
Ambient sound and pulsating electronic beats images ranging from raves to hermit crabs to someone using a power washer. Tillmans uses spoken word and other sonic elements to explore the role of music in bringing people together at this exhibit at the AGO.
At Nathan Philips Square, you’ll find soft textile sculptures inspired by childhood memories and large-scale satirical pop art by three female artists from different cultures and disciplines. The immersive installation is all about challenging gender stereotypes (while celebrating sisterhood).
This installation at The Creative School uses frames, portals, and mirrors to explore and disrupt the concepts of experience (like inside vs. outside and reflection vs. projection). New images will be revealed from every angle, so you’ll see a new piece depending on your viewpoint.
Head to the Bentway to see how dirty stormwater draining from the Gardiner Expressway is reused, filtered, and directed into nine different experimental gardens. Three large-scale screens will act as backdrops for passing cars, too.
The eastern facade of the Canada Malting Silos will come alive, thanks to a huge projection that invites you to reflect on the changing nature of the building, the city, and how we interact with urban spaces.
Framed by the Gardiner’s concrete columns, sculptures of mythical creatures tangle around the Expressway as commentary on the intersection of the urban world and wildlife. You’ll find it at 250 Fort York Blvd.
Head to Artscape Youngplace to see large-scale photo murals linking three moments that changed history: the Holocaust, the creation of a massive jewel-like synagogue in 2001, and the current war in Ukraine, all accompanied by live violin and clarinet players.
Exploring our innate human need for connection, soft arm-like sculptures will dominate the Gladstone with their illuminated, tangled forms. The piece also draws inspiration from the shapes of plants and fungi, further delving into the nature of interconnectivity.
Fort York is getting an immersive inflatable lounge, where single-use plastics are used to create a shared community leisure space. It explores our consumer habits and their relation to other species, allowing visitors to see our animal cohabitants in new ways through the use of UV light.
Several floors of The MOCA will play host to exhibits ranging from a lightbox installation to a new movement piece by artist Katie Adams-Gossage. Take a break from exploring with a DJ set offered by Pride Toronto on the fifth floor of the museum.
Visit Colonel Samuel Smith Park and check out this light installation that invites you to reconnect with nature and find your place (and rhythm) within it.
The famous missing piece of “The Humberside Mural,” a large-scale piece by a member of the Group of Seven, is reimagined, disrupting the narrative of the original painting and inviting you to imagine and reflect on Canada’s colonial past.
At Artscape Wychwood Barns, you’ll get a chance to ponder how construction and development in urban landscapes changes communities. Projectors and screens will make you feel immersed and ready to contemplate the interactions between us and the locations we live in.
By combining traditional African quilting culture with 3D printing and augmented reality, this exhibit at Scarborough Town Centre will offer a commentary on the merging of cultural process with the technologies of today.
Using augmented reality, this interactive video installation at Scarborough Civic Centre invites us to reflect on the importance of human connection and facial expressions through performances by ASL speakers.
At Albert Campbell Square, you’ll be invited to contemplate the sense of uncertainty in today’s political climate through this video installation exploring queer underground culture.
Exploring the pandemic from a molecular, human, earthly and cosmic perspective, this piece begins with a dance performance amidst animated 3D imagery at the Toronto Botanical Garden.
Visit the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre to see intricate washi pieces that explores communal and cultural memories, while reflecting on the disappearance of ancestral practices.
Enter a journey of music, art and dance inspired by the poet Rumi at the Aga Khan Museum, with poetry, storytelling, and video exploring the natures of culture and ritual.
This is your chance to imagine the future of Danforth Ave, with huge textile mountains, storefront galleries, and video projections exploring the past and ruminating on the future of the historic neighbourhood.
Nathan Philips Square is set to transform into a lunar landscape, thanks to augmented reality and artwork geomapped to actual spots on the moon. You’ll be invited to ponder question of human moral responsibility as the potential lunar tourism is explored.
The strange and unique relationshiop between ghosts, snails, farmers and rice is all explored in this event at Humber College, where you’ll learn how a snail meant to fuel the escargot industry became a major pest for rice agriculture.