My first Nuit Blanche experience was a rainy evening in 2006. I walked along Philosopher’s Walk with my two children in tow to experience Fujiko Nakaya’s eerie fog installation. Pockets of thick fog swallowed up the crowd, and proved a little too unsettling for my ten year old son who felt the need to rescue his five year old sister. He latched on to her coattails, causing her to howl with indignation “Let go!” When he finally did, she promptly fell in the mud. We fled to the Gardiner Museum’s washroom for an emergency scrub down, and once the wailing subsided, continued on what turned out to be a magical evening. We were hooked, and haven’t missed one since.
Nuit Blanche returns on October 2nd, bringing us another fantastic all-night celebration of the arts. Participating cities throughout the world will come alive from dusk till dawn, enticing us to explore contemporary art in a fun and welcoming environment. This free event began in Paris in 2002, with the purpose of making art accessible to everyone. The public was invited to visit museums, galleries, cultural institutions, and temporary exhibitions set up in public spaces. Every year, new cities are invited to join this festival which now spans the globe. Toronto will be celebrating its 5th year, while New York City will be joining in for the first time.
Since its inception in 2006, Toronto’s Nuit Blanche has expanded well beyond its humble beginnings, so I would strongly recommend visiting the website to plan your evening. If you are heading out with children, it makes sense to choose some events that will appeal to them, and dodge some of the ones that are inappropriate. I can’t encourage you enough to take your children. They’ll love you for being able to playfully roam the streets of their city at night, participate in some of the interactive installations, pick up glow sticks along the way, be totally amazed and inspired by some of the things they see, and downright puzzled by others. It’s a great evening with fun to be had by all. Hook up with your friends and don’t forget your camera.