Art hijacks the downtown core


Brute force winds and plummeting temperatures weren’t enough to stop the stream of pedestrian traffic that was Nuit Blanche 2015.

Inside Out

The TORONTO sign illuminated with some of artist JR’s Inside Out headshots at Nathan Phillips Square. (Photography by Stefan Lee/ The Sheridan Sun)

In a night when Taylor Swift played a show, it’s hard to believe any other form of art took over Toronto; Nuit Blanche however, did just that.


Scotiabank Nuit Blanche began in Fall 2006, an annual event that transforms the downtown core into a massive outdoor art installation, each year outdoing the previous in terms of attendance and art projects. Last year’s event drew a crowd of over 1.2 million.

Last Saturday’s city-wide event was often hard to navigate.

Due to the many road closures, the night featured an endless rendition of “horn honking,” by drivers.

“The traffic here is just insane. It took me almost 20 minutes to get through three intersections,” said Javier Zuniga, 26 of Stouffville.

“Even though I hate taking the GO Train, if I knew it was going to be like this, I would have done it, or parked my car somewhere further, and used TTC.”




Streets like Queen West, usually jammed with cars, had become pedestrian highways, bumper to bumper – or in this case, person to person.

The jam up could have had more to do with the man on University Ave. juggling knives on a 10-foot pole, commanding audience eyes.

Even with the hefty crowds not all found the event enjoyable.

The crowds were big, and I’m happy it was as popular as it is, but the art itself lacked uniqueness,” said Vanessa Ferro, 23 of Brampton.

Ferro and her friends felt braving the cold was not well rewarded.

“It felt like artists weren’t really trying to show their art, but rather were trying to appeal to mass audiences”

At Nathan Phillips Square, crowds braved the wind to stand in line hoping their faces could be a part of the unique Inside Out curation. The project’s used headshots that were then posted on the floor of the square in the early hours of Sunday morning. The beloved TORONTO sign was also illuminated with some of the headshots.

Artist JR put together Inside Out along with seven other installations, as part of larger collection called Black and White Night.

Nathan Phillips Square also played host to a thought provoking piece There is No Away.

Curated by the City of Toronto and artist Sean Martindale, the piece consisted of a hallway whose walls were made up entirely of trash and recyclable materials.

Despite being a one-night only event, 14 art installations (including both of the above mentioned) will remain viewable till Oct. 12.

There is No Away

The wall of trash from There is No Away sponsored by the City of Toronto and artist Sean Martindale at Nathan Phillips Square. (Photography by Stefan Lee/ The Sheridan Sun)