Nuit Blanche

Toronto launches DriveInTO with outdoor events such as Nuit Blanche cancelled through fall

Nuit Blanche will be a digital event with special online programming on Oct. 3

Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan may be just around the corner for Toronto and its neighbouring regions, but a return to normalcy is not. Even with Stage 3 allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people socially-distanced, the city has extended the cancellation of all city-led and city-permitted outdoor special event permits through to September 30. Though that’s not great news, the city has launched DriveInTO in hopes of bringing some summer cheer back to the streets of Toronto.

“Toronto residents are eager to participate, once again, in the performances and events that have made Toronto one of the world’s great hotbeds of culture,” said Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson. “Thanks to the city’s partnership with select sites, our DriveInTO program enables organizers to safely stage events and promote community access to rich and diverse programming. It is a significant step toward restoring Toronto’s creative spirit and cultural energy.”



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The program will allow temporary drive-in entertainment, such as films, concerts, and sports broadcasts, at four locations — Ontario Place, Polson Pier, Downsview Park and Sherway Gardens. Free programming includes Hot Docs (Aug. 11), imagineNATIVE (Aug. 18) and TIFF (Aug. 25) at Ontario Place, and Inside Out LGBTQ Film Festival (July 29), Reel Asian Film Festival (Aug. 5), Reelworld Film Festival (Aug. 19) and Regent Park Film Festival (Aug. 31) at CityView Drive-In 20 Polson Pier.

“Through these new programs like DriveInTO, we can ensure that despite an ongoing pandemic, and rules around large gatherings, residents can continue to experience the remarkable arts and culture sector that make our city so unique,” said Mayor John Tory. “By supporting events and festivals in our city, we can increase access to residents during these challenging times and help rebuild a sector that has been greatly impacted by the pandemic.”



For those optimistic that events will return in October, don’t get your hopes up. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon scheduled to take place on Oct. 18 has already been cancelled and Nuit Blanche will be a virtual event on Oct. 3 this year.

Nuit Blanche typically attracts 1.2 million people and is North America’s largest, free, contemporary art event. Organizers have planned a digital experience that will include a new public archive of works presented at Nuit Blanche Toronto in the past, an expanded series of Nuit Talks, podcasts and live-streamed dialogues, and special online events on Oct. 3.

Article exclusive to TRNTO