On this day: Nuit Blanche, Toronto

See more from my On This Day series here, where I celebrate travel memories on their trip anniversaries.

On October 4, 2015, I was waking up after a night at Nuit Blanche, Toronto.

Nuit Blanche is an annual arts festival that takes place in many cities around the world at various times of the year. The concept of the all-night arts event originated in 1989, when the Helsinki Festival established its Night of the Arts, with galleries, museums, and bookshops remaining open until midnight or later as part of a city-wide carnival-style affair. A year later, arts programmer Jean Blaise established Les Allumรฉes, a late-night cultural festival in Nantes, France that would run from 6 pm to 6 am.

Since its inaugural year in 2006, Nuit Blanche Toronto has hosted 15 annual celebrations of contemporary art, featuring over 1,400 installations created by more than 4,900 artists who display their works around the city. The event usually happens on the first Saturday night of October, extending from 7 pm until 7 am the next morning. Admission is free.

The last time I attended Nuit Blanche was back in 2015. Highlights from that year included:

Inside Out by New York based artist JR, a large scale interactive photo installation featuring self-portraits taken by participants at the attached photo booth in Nathan Phillips Square.

There is No Away by Sean Martindale. A literal garbage exhibit shining a light on the city’s waste management habits.

Light Upon Light! by Pakistani-Australian artist Abdullah M.I. Syed. A large glowing moon, its surface covered by Muslim prayer caps, is suspended above a stage containing a pool of ocean-blue glass at TIFF Lightroom.

Pixelate by Ubisoft Toronto. A walk through video game history where players pose for an 8-bit retrofit.

As with most events this year, Nuit Blanche Toronto 2020 happened virtually. Check out all the weird and wonderful art here.