In the Art of the City

I think I am going to now remember the return of Fall as the time of the year when not only the leaves change colour, but when the city transforms into an art lovers paradise. I don’t know much about art. I know I like walking around museums, going to arts and crafts fairs, and checking out various exhibits – pretty much I like to look at pretty and interesting things (who doesn’t, right?). I guess I am just impressed by talent. Well Toronto had a lot of talent in the city to welcome Fall, with the Queen West Art Crawl and Outdoor Show, The Word on the Street Festival, and of course, Nuit Blanche. These are three annual events that I try to go to each year and wanted to share some of that experience through the use of some pretty pictures (because like I said, who doesn’t like to look at pretty and interesting things?).


Now unfortunately I did not get to see as much of the Queen West Art Crawl as I would have liked to this year. While the crawl lasts the entire weekend, I only managed to go down on the Sunday to check it out as it was raining on Saturday (which to me means stay at home in my pj’s and catch up on all of the bad TV I missed during the week). Sunday also coincided with the Word on the Street Festival – so I had to split up that day to be able to get to both festivals. Yay for good sneakers and public transit!

My favourite part of the art crawl is the outdoor show that takes place in Trinity Bellwoods Park. I love walking by all of the tents and checking out the work made by local artisans. It is also free – so no real barrier for anyone to attend (although donations are welcome!). You can buy all sorts of handmade crafts and art at the show, including paintings, photography, jewelry and pottery. I didn’t end up buying anything at the fair (mainly because I don’t have any walls that are currently empty in my tiny condo to place art on), but I hope to one day when I have a much bigger pad and want some one of a kind pieces!


For those of you not familiar with the Word on the Street Festival, it is pretty much a large one-day festival in the city that celebrates writing and reading. It’s a great place to hear local authors read passages from their work and answer questions, schmooze with local publications trying to pimp out their products, as well as just get deals on books.

I love this festival because it really has something for everyone. No matter the genre or type of publication (book, comic, magazine, newspaper, etc), you will probably be able to find something that interests you at Word on the Street. I also especially loved seeing all of the kids in attendance and how much fun they were having reading and watching the various performances. It is a great family event and there is tons of stuff to do and see to keep you busy for hours (and potentially empty out your pockets if you can manage to squeeze your way up to a booth to get some of the good pickings).

I didn’t manage to buy anything at the festival (mainly because I was pretty tired and didn’t feel like having to carry anything heavy home), but I did manage to score a very tasty samosa. Another great thing about festivals in the city is that there are fantastic food trucks available to get some tasty eats. This was definitely needed after an exhausting day of walking from the west end of the city to the north. It can definitely make a girl hungry!


Nuit Blanche is probably the Mecca of all art festivals in the city. Each year, it seems to get bigger and bigger – not only in attendance, but in the number of exhibits to physically check out. I tried my best to see as much as possible this year, but had to end the night just before 2 am as I had an early morning flight the next day. It was a perfect evening for the event (well until about 1:30 am or so when the rain started), but felt that the city/organizers could have done a better job coordinating street closures. Intersections like Queen/University as well as Queen/Yonge were not closed down for the event making it very difficult and dangerous to cross the street as well as creating huge bottlenecks. I am certain that this was one of the event’s largest complaints and I am hopeful that it will be corrected for next year.

Overall, I was very impressed with Nuit Blanche. I think some of the exhibits were quite grande and spectacular, and really made for a memorable night. City Hall was definitely quite the scene with Ai Weiwei’s ‘Forever Bicycles’ installation as well as Boris Achour’s ‘The rose is without why’ light-up poem. However, none of the exhibits can really match the buzz and spirit that the city itself was generating that night. Toronto was kind of transformed into this magical place, filled with people just wanting to explore and enjoy the experience. This is how I always feel in the city when I am discovering something new, so it was great to experience that with thousands of other people that night.