What would happen if artists took over the transit system? If you want a ride that will definitely be out of the ordinary, find out what’s happening in the city during Nuit Blanche, the all-night expression of Toronto’s culture starting at 7 p.m. this Saturday.

Described as “a free, all-night contemporary art thing” and sponsored by the City of Toronto and Scotiabank, the event just begs us to step out of our usual habits.


Circulating among the many art installations and galleries will be the TPTPC — the Toronto Public Transit Performance Commission. If you think of the TTC as a predictable, passive way of getting around, this is the opposite.

The TPTPC “Central Station” is not your average transit terminal — it is, in fact, a performance area in Grange Park. You’ll find it just south of the Art Gallery of Ontario on Stephanie Street, right next to the remarkable building that now houses the Ontario College of Art and Design.

Buses will follow three routes through downtown, serving seven different stops and allowing riders to participate in the creation of contemporary art. What exactly is that? Don’t think paintings or sculpture.

One bus will feature the Pillow Fight League — an actual league of women pillow fighters. Board another bus and you can take part in the Colour Match Game. As participants play the game, colours will be relayed by radio back to Central Station where they will form an evolving work of art.

On a third vehicle, take part in another real-time creation: Artist Chandra Bulucon will record live interactions of people who board the bus, as well as other sounds, editing it all into a CD that will hopefully be completed by the end of the night.

The TPTPC was created last year as a way of transporting visitors up to the Art Gallery of York University, according to assistant curator Emelie Chhangur. She wants to open up the whole idea of riding around town as an ordinary, everyday activity into an “active engagement.”

What is she asking transit riders to do?

Explains Chhangur, “I want them to get on the performance buses and to get off on contemporary art!”

Visit nuitblanche.livewithculture.ca and click on “the zones.” Choose “Zone B” and then see “My Secret City” for the TPTPC. Maps show where the buses will circulate.


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