Doing Nuit Blanche 2009 The Smart Way

Nuit Blanche 2009
Nuit Blanche 2009

October 3 2009 @ sunset – October 4 2009 @ sunrise

In its 4th year, Toronto’s “all-night contemporary art thing” is set to be entering to its biggest yet.  With 130 free and accessible contemporary art projects within 3 zones (all located in the downtown core), Toronto will once again be sleepless for this night.  It is now a time honoured tradition of literally roaming the streets, along with a million other revelers, and discovering the unexpected.  And that’s the aim for most enthusiasts at Nuit Blanche: to stumble upon something so visually stimulating that it resonates with you well after the event.  From D.A. Therrien’s “4 Letter Word Machine” being illuminated high at City Hall, to eavesdropping on celebrities playing Monopoly with real money at the Toronto Stock Exchange, this year’s Nuit Blanche promises to be unique.

So, in order to best maximize your 12 hours being visually stunned, we give you a basic survival guide on how best to do Nuit Blanche 2009.

plan your course

With 130 exhibitions scattered all over the downtown core (literally from one end to the other), it’s almost impossible to be able to view and enjoy them all by foot.  The smartest way to alleviate this problem is to plan, plan, plan!  First things first, before stepping out, take a look at all 3 zones (as they are all unique in their own way, and curated by different people) and figure out which one speaks to you more.  Build a personalized itinerary and then go from there.  This in turn will save you time (and your sanity), while maximizing your interests.  Now perhaps you’re the more spontaneous type that enjoys being lost.  In this case, at least have an idea of what zone and area you are going to be lost in.  Rather than being completely lost, it’s better to know how to get from one exhibition (or zone) to the other if you find yourself not in sync with a particular presentation.  As mentioned, this will save you a lot of time.  The following is a brief glimpse into each of the 3 zones.

Zone A (Downtown North):


“Zone A offers 52 projects to explore.

Two separate Exhibitions produced by the City of Toronto and curated by Gregory Elgstrand and Thom Sokoloski present a playful, participatory and interactive environment where a circus of ideas are met with a nocturnal urban fantasia that explores the present, past and future.

  • Immerse yourself in the sounds of a parade that you can hear but cannot see at Old City Hall
  • Be the last person standing in a blindfolded, steel-cage battle inside the Toronto Coach Terminal
  • From the stage, experience Massey Hall played as the world’s largest instrument
  • Gaze into the Looking Glass high above your head in the Toronto Eaton Centre”  Scotiabank Nuit Blanche

Zone B (Downtown South):


“Zone B offers a total of 42 projects to explore.

Curated by Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher of DisplayCult, the Zone B Exhibition intensifies the links between bodies, sensory perception and shifts in capital.

  • Seek hi-tech clairvoyance in the secret waterfall garden of the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel
  • Eavesdrop on celebrities playing Monopoly with real money at the Toronto Stock Exchange
  • Catch the performance of a mobile pow-wow roaming the streets of the Financial District
  • Feel the rise and fall of the market on a Bay Street carnival ride
  • Groove to the pulsing lights of North America’s tallest free-standing structure, the CN Tower, synced to a simultaneous FM broadcast
  • Take stock of your reflection in a pool of vodka at Commerce Court”  Scotiabank Nuit Blanche

Zone C (South/West):


“Zone C offers 36 dusk-to-dawn projects to explore.

Curated by Makiko Hara and produced by the City of Toronto, this Exhibition addresses human strength and adaptability in the face of urban disaster, catastrophe and survival actions.

  • Experience an unexpected invasion of a local grocery store
  • Try your patience and get a new perspective on the phrase, “I’m Sorry”
  • Experience the haunting sounds of hundreds of crying souls
  • Test drive a new type of mobile home
  • See a construction site spring to life”  Scotiabank Nuit Blanche


On a last note on how best to plan your course of attack on Nuit Blanche 2009, be cognizant about when best to go.  In 2008, there were a million in attendance.  If you prefer not to roam the streets with crowds, it’s best that you venture out after the peak hours of 8pm-1am.  After 1am, you’re free to explore in relative total solitude.

maneuvering around

With such a massive event set to take stage all over the downtown core, it is best (and preferred) not to drive all the way down.  There will be extensive road closures, pedestrians galore (you will eventually be one yourself during this night) and limited parking spots.  There are 3 convenient modes of transportation:


By far the best way to explore Nuit Blanche, this year the exhibitions are closer together and easier to reach so you can see more in less time.


A little faster than walking, and you definitely don’t need to worry about parking or gas, great way to see the exhibitions on a go.



The TTC is going to be “the better way” at Nuit Blanche as service from both the trains and buses are increased to accommodate revelers and to ease congestion off the roads from individual cars.

1. Normally the Subway/Rapid Transit runs on Saturday nights until approximately 1:30 am, and Sunday service starts again at approximately 9:00 am. Specifically for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche the TTC is offering all-night service to a portion of the subway line.

The Bloor-Danforth subway will run all night from Keele to Woodbine and the Yonge-University subway will run all night from St Clair West to Eglinton.

The 509 Harbourfront Streetcar will be extended overnight to shuttle audiences directly to and from Union Station (Zone B) and Liberty Village (Zone C) in the city’s west end.

In addition to the regular all-night Blue Night Network service, increased all-night service will be offered on:

300 BLOOR-DANFORTH all-night bus route to Kipling, Warden and Kennedy commuter parking lots.

320 YONGE all-night bus route to the Finch parking lot.

SPADINA SUBWAY shuttle bus from St Clair West Station to Yorkdale, Wilson and Downsview lots.

2. Most projects in Zones A & B are accessible by the Yonge-University subway.  Use the 509 Harbourfront Streetcar to shuttle between Zone C and Zone B.

3. The Scotiabank Nuit Blanche TTC Day Pass allows a single customer or a family/group of customers (up to 6 people, maximum 2 adults and 4 children/youths, 19 years of age or under) to pay one low price for unlimited travel on all regular TTC service.  For Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, the TTC Day Pass is valid from the start of service on Saturday, October 3, until 9 am on Sunday, October 4.  Day Passes are available at all subway stations starting September 8, at a cost of $9.

And if you’ve decided to risk driving down, here’s what the officials are recommending for parking:

“In Zone C park at Exhibition Place. From there you can walk to Zone C, or ride the Harbourfront Streetcar Rapid Transit to Union Station where you can easily get to Zone B or A.

Look for Green P pay parking lot locations near any of the all-night subway stations.

If you park at a TTC Commuter Parking lot beyond the all-night stations, after 1:30am you’ll need to transfer to the TTC’s shuttle buses to get back to your car. Please plan ahead!”

what to bring

nuit-blanche1-300x300As you will be outside exploring the urban jungle for long periods of time, be sure to pack a couple essentials with you…just in case.  Comfortable shoes are a given.  But don’t forget a camera, a flashlight, an extra layer of clothing, plus coffee, tea, water and snacks for quick rejuvenation throughout the night.  Also, check the weather forecast before heading out as we do still live in Canada where the weather can change in a blink of an eye (ie. our non-existent summer).  The forecast as of September 30 2009 calls for a low of 10°C on Nuit Blanche.  But as mentioned, for all we know, it could…well, you know, the white stuff could fall out of the sky.  Finally, bring your sense of observation.  You’ll never know what you’re going to see…


Make sure to have a goof full meal before you go out, this will give you the energy needed to survive an all-nighter.  But when it’s all said and done, it’s best to plan where you’re going to have breakfast club as most 24-hour restaurants will be busier than usual.  Although popular, Golden Griddle, Frans and 7 West will most likely all be crammed with hungry revelers.  Try the smaller neigbourhood diners (most should be open to accommodate Nuit Blanche).  This would be the perfect end to an artistic odyssey where you and your crew can all recount your experiences, and analyze what that particular exhibit actually meant.


But above all, bring an open mind and an all-nighter attitude!  This is an event that will open your eyes and your mind to different perspectives on all things in life.


related links

Nuit Blanche 2009 – “a free all-night contemporary art thing”

Caribana 2009: Breakfast Club

ROM: Vanity Fair Portraits 1913-2008

“In an Absolut World, Opportunities Always Pop Up”

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