Nuit Blanche brings spectators from all around the GTA


Helen Walsh has been a poetry advocate in Toronto for many years and her goal to reach across communities with spoken word came to fruition this past weekend at Nuit Blanche.

“We decided what we would do is take all of that work we’ve published over the past eight years and put it into a cloud. We found the lexicon for Toronto and we’re having people create poetry from the most popular words used,” says Walsh, president of Diaspora Dialogues, an art organization that publishes poetry and short stories that embrace diversity in the city.

People were lined up out the door at the Metropolitan United Church at Church and Queen streets to listen to people use familiar words in unfamiliar ways. A woman stood at the altar performing her poetry over a microphone for everyone to hear.

Busker, Toronto

Busker, Toronto

“We have people writing poetry, performing poetry, musicians and theatre groups coming until the early hours of the evening. We are looking to animate discussion,” said Walsh.

The church was only used as a venue for the performances and none of the authors or spectators were required to speak about religion.

“Our organization isn’t religious, but if someone wants to talk about their spirituality they are welcome to,” said Walsh.

Toronto brought back Nuit Blanche for the eighth year in a row as one of of 25 major cities worldwide to host the free, overnight contemporary art event that changes the everyday landscape of each city it consumes.

In other parts of the city, it was hard to manoeuvre around the massive crowds. This was especially true in Nathan Phillips Square where Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei exhibited his Forever Bicycles sculpture with 3,144 interconnected bicycles, creating a mesmerizing visual effect.

“I was enjoying my night but this is truly something else,” said Katie Masi contemporary art fan from Niagara Falls.

“This is spectacular in itself. It’s really cool that you can interact with the art by pushing the pedals and spinning the wheels. People seem to be really enjoying it,” said Masi.

Street performer

In the financial district, people roaming the streets were works of art themselves and one particular goblin was creating a stir.

“All monsters are welcome! We’re with the Zombie Walk and Halloween parade coming up at the end of the month,” said Tiffany Mark, a monster make-up enthusiast.

People were crowding around to see Mark’s elaborate snake-inspired makeup and costume.

“There are a lot of beautiful exhibits here and we’re happy to be a part of them. This year our Zombie Walk and Halloween parade is working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and we’re letting people know that CPR makes you un-dead,” said Mark.

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