By: Astoria Felix




Photo by: PBAI

Nuit Blanche is expected to be a bit trimmed down this year as Scotiabank is no longer a sponsor, but don’t expect that to mean the crowds will be any smaller. Whether you’re a first-timer or a veteran of this annual festival, wading through large crowds and settling for quick glimpses of popular exhibits is an easy way to turn an incredible event into a mediocre night. With that in mind we’ve set out some tips for how to keep your Nuit Blanche fun and interesting this year.

First, if at all possible, avoid the extremely popular crowded areas. That means not stopping at the Town Hall exhibits and avoiding Yonge & Dundas as much as possible. Look for those diamond-in-the-rough independent exhibits that can offer you a bit more room and time to really soak in the artists’ work. Avoid the TTC when possible, as it is sure to be a nightmare of traffic and bustling crowds during Nuit Blanche. Plan your route out in advance, but know that the crowds have a way of disrupting even the best laid plans. Expect things to go awry and be ready for last minute changes to your plan.

As for some of those interesting independent exhibits, take a look at 401 Richmond, a heritage warehouseturned arts and culture hub at the corner of Richmond Street West and Spadina Avenue. 401 Richmond will be exploring the themes of Support, Growth and Life in its exhibits this year. Those exhibits include Girl Talk by Zahra Saleki, a Toronto-based photographer, which is an ongoing photo installation using graffiti drawn by girls in public washrooms collected from bars in Toronto, New York and Montreal. Also at 401 Richmond is Leaving Still, a performance piece set in a freight elevator featuring Michelle Polak. Every hour, Michelle will make a sandwich for one lucky audience member as the audience is invited to ask her any intimate questions they wish. Michelle’s honest answers will gradually reveal her story in the time it takes to make a sandwich.

Photo by: Zahra Saleki

As you move along down Queen Street West and head out of the densely-exhibit-packed downtown area, you might also want to take a look at Artscape Youngplace at the Koffler Gallery at 180 Shaw Street, about a block from Trinity Bellwoods Park. The Wabi-Sabi Collective will be featuring an interactive exhibit, Basho Bingo, in which you can add some of your own written words totheir collection of hanging leaves, creating a massive collaborative work by the time the sun rises. Viewers can also relive their childhood and interact with #TeeterTotter by Julian Michael Majewski, which features a repurposed cedar tree, celebrating DIY culture.

Photo by: Basho Bingo

The path westward will bring you within a short distance of three great late night dining establishments. 416 Snack Bar at 181 Bathurst is open until 2 a.m. and features a menu of novel small portions that pay tribute to Toronto. The Lakeview Diner at 1132 Dundas Street West might just be the best place in Toronto to quench your craving for some late night breakfast. Lastly, Barton Snacks at 1120 Queen Street West is open until 4 a.m. with a menu of tacos, burgers, hot dogs and more. It’s located near the Drake Hotel and a few blocks from The Gladstone Hotel, both of which are putting on their own special exhibits for the night.If you’re looking to stay out of the crowds, but still get in a quality Nuit Blanche experience, consider heading west and checking out some of the attractions mentioned here. There’s plenty to see and plenty to do, just be patient andstay safe.

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