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Crowded Exhibits, Congested Streets Draw Criticism for Nuit Blanche

"Euphemisms for the Intimate Enemy," created by Australian artist Ruark Lewis, attracted a large crowd in Liberty Village.

Photo: Gary Beechey for BizBash

Large crowds, gridlocked roadways, and a lack of free public transit during this year's Scotiabank Nuit Blanche—which began at dusk on Saturday and continued until sunrise on Sunday—drew criticism from the media, as did the quality of some installations.

In The Toronto Star, Christopher Hume criticized the city for failing to close key streets to motorists and suggested that public transit should have been free for the evening. (The TTC ran all-night subway service on portions of its two main lines and encouraged riders to purchase a $9 day pass to get around town.) “Above all, Nuit Blanche revealed the growing gap between the people who live in this city and those who run it,” said Hume. “Torontonians are light years ahead of their leaders in understanding what it means to inhabit an urban centre.”

The Globe and Mail’s James Bradshaw, who spent the night viewing exhibits across the city, gave the contemporary art festival a mixed review, noting that while the “Stereoscope” display at City Hall “did not disappoint,” the long lineup for the “Horroridor” installation at Union Station “bred expectations the exhibit couldn’t sustain.”

Popular city blogs also weighed in on the event. BlogTo reported that the variety of exhibits on display made “it a rewarding night for anyone who braved the cold to trek around the city,” while Torontoist said, “This year’s Nuit Blanche was, consitently, a fine example of what happens when concept trumps execution.”


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