Bentway neighbourhood illuminated for Nuit Blanche

August 23, 2023

This Nuit Blanche, we invite you down to The Bentway and surrounding area for a series of installations that light up the neighbourhoods along the Gardiner Expressway.

September 23, 2023 at 7pm to September 24, 2023 at 7am 

It’s the first opportunity to explore Staging Grounds, a new public space pilot designed by architectural studios Agency-Agency (New York) and SHEEEP (Toronto). The site features an inaugural visual art commission by local artist Logan MacDonald.  Fountain Monumental is a series of 20-foot-tall images that re-imagine the original shoreline of Lake Ontario, which traced the same path as the Gardiner Expressway today. MacDonald challenges the notion of historical accuracy and authorship by provocatively  collaborating with artificial intelligence (AI) to produce these arresting images. He presents a revisionist history and a speculative, fantastical present and future.  

Working with the Bentway to present Fountain Monumental has been an exciting artistic opportunity to connected with the T’karonto landscape that many of us call home: to consider its historical transformation over time, particularly along the shoreline with how it’s transformation has come to be, and to imagine an alternative outcome had our priorities and legacies been honoured differently.

Logan MacDonald

It’s also your last chance to experience Beyond Concrete, our summer exhibition exploring the broader ecosystem under the Gardiner, where human-made infrastructure intertwines with resilient flora and fauna, growing in spite of, and because of, the concrete. Artwork is presented at both The Bentway Skate Trail and The Bentway Studio. Throughout the evening, Leeroy New’s The Aliens of Manila will be landing for an electric performance at the Bentway’s Skate Trail. If you missed their performance in May, be sure to put this on your Nuit Blanche agenda before they leave Toronto! 

Alongside this, we’re pleased to present installations with Concord at their Under-Gardiner space at 470 R Lake Shore Boulevard West, and return to light up the Canada Malting Silos at Bathurst Quay with a projection of New York-based artist Mark Dorf’s ambitious film A New Nature. The piece, which recently flooded the screens at Time Square for April 2023’s Midnight Moment, proposes a new way of understanding humans’ role within a larger ecological system and how that system is increasingly mediated by technology. Come to Spadina Pier to consider the transformation of the historic silos, the city, and the waterfront in the context of a broader urban ecosystem and its hybrid future. 

Inside The Bentway Studio, Montreal-based emerging designers Studio Rat continue the Bentway’s exploration of  the role that waste plays in the larger Gardiner Expressway ecosystem.  For Nuit Blanche, they have created the immersive installation Shared Space that reuses single-use plastics in unexpected ways to explore the possibilities of inflatable architecture and circular design. Step inside Shared Space and experience a snapshot of our shared consumer habits transformed into a gathering space, with a mesmerizing soundscape by Toronto’s experimental pop-duo MONEYPHONE.  

The project rests as a vibrant gathering space within The Bentway’s Canoe Landing atrium, engaging with our plastic interdependence and enveloping the audience in a beautiful and unexpectedly intimate portrait of consumer habits and domestic life.

Studio Rat

Collectively The Bentway installations along the Dan Leckie corridor and across the under-Gardiner area reveal the connective potential of an emerging public realm, explore the thriving urban ecosystem beneath the highway, reflect on the layered history and performance of the waterfront neighbourhood, and demonstrate the critical role art will play in the neighborhood’s ongoing transformation. 

What’s On

Fountain Monumental
by Logan MacDonald
Staging Grounds, under the Gardiner at Dan Leckie Way

by Urban Visuals, sponsored by Concord
across from Staging Grounds, under the Gardiner at Dan Leckie Way

The Aliens of Manila
by Leeroy New
The Bentway, 250 Fort York Blvd

A New Nature
by Mark Dorf
Canada Malting Silos at Bathurst Quay

Shared Space
by Studio Rat
The Bentway Studio, 55 Fort York Blvd

Partners and Special Thanks:

  • Manulife 
  • Waterfront BIA 
  • Anonymous 
  • Balsam Foundation 
  • Government of Canada 
  • City of Toronto 
  • Canada Council for the Arts 
  • Knight Foundation 
  • CityPlace and Fort York BIA 
  • RBC Foundation 
  • Toronto Foundation 
  • Maxine Granovsky Gluskin and Ira Gluskin 
  • The Bentway’s growing family of friends and supporters