City Plans Road Closures, Expanded T.T.C. Service for Nuit Blanche

By Susan O'Neill June 18, 2009, 1:12 PM EDT

Brendan Fernandas used lighting to broadcast S-O-S in Morse code in "Future," an installation of shipping containers in Liberty Village last year.

Photo: Gary Beechey for BizBash

Large crowds, gridlock, and a lack of free public transit drew criticism from the media following the third annual Scotiabank Nuit Blanche held last October. This year, when the all-night contemporary art party returns for its fourth incarnation on October 3, the event will be more walkable, with installations placed closer together, three key roads closed to traffic, and expanded T.T.C. service. “We are significantly enhancing the experience for the nearly one million people we expect to see in the streets that night,” Mayor David Miller announced this week.

The city is planning to create three pedestrian areas with the planned closures of the Bay Street corridor from Gerrard Street to Front Street, McCaul Street from Grange Road to Dundas Street West, and Liberty Street from Dufferin Street to Pirandello Street. The T.T.C. will also expand its all-night service to a larger portion of the subway line. Trains will run all night on the Bloor-Danforth line from Keele to Woodbine and on the Yonge/University/Spadina line from St. Clair West to Eglinton station. Service on the 509 Harbourfront streetcar will also be extended overnight to transport people from Union Station to Liberty Village.

During a press conference held at the Art Gallery of Ontario Tuesday, the mayor also announced that the event will receive $300,000 from the Ministry of Tourism this year, which has enabled the city to increase the number of exhibition projects from 45 to 46—and to commission an installation by artist D.A. Therrien for Toronto City Hall. Therrien’s “Beautiful Light: Four Letter Word Machine” will suspend four giant light sculptures in the air above council chambers between the City Hall towers.

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche will feature 132 projects by more than 550 artists and curators this year. Highlights include Jeff Koons’s “Rabbit,” which will float high above the crowds in the Toronto Eaton Centre and “Battle Royal,” a blindfolded cage match between New York performance artist and fighter Sean ‘El Conquistador’ Leonardo and 20 other men.

In the financial district, artist Iain Baxter& will gather Toronto media personalities and celebrities to play an all-night version of Monopoly inside the Toronto Stock Exchange—with real money. And in Liberty Village, local contemporary performance artist Maria Legault will perform “The Apology Project” with the assistance of dozens of paper-bag-clad performers who will congest a public walkway and personally apologize to everyone who ventures through them for the duration of the night.

Full programming details will be announced in July.

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