Lights Lights Baby: The Atmosphere Of The Toronto Light Festival

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We know it’s tough this time of year. Everyone has just returned back from break, the outside cold weather seems to be outdoing itself every week in our part of the province (even though we’re on the southern portion), and everyone is definitely keeping up with their respective New Year’s’ Resolutions they made a few weeks ago (wink wink nudge nudge). With all of this going on, wouldn’t it be nice to find some way, even temporarily, to get away from it all?

Luckily, some artistic Torontonians had felt the same way, and have devised a multi-month getaway happening each night in our own backyard. Until mid-March, whenever you have some free time one evening and are feeling a bit worn out, rest assured that those from the city’s Distillery District got your back. All are invited to “come see the light”, but to come see it among countless other lights-from numerous sculptures-within several areas simultaneously hosting the 2018 version of The Toronto Light Festival!

Not to be confused with “The Toronto Lights Festival”, which was an event where hundreds upon hundreds of citizens launched lit lanterns into the sky at once this past autumn season, The Toronto Light Festival is a massive, months-long demonstration of both domestically and internationally originating “light art” artworks from all over the world. As if that wasn’t big enough, the track record behind the exhibition’s production is also noteworthy, considering that The Toronto Light Festival is run by the same group in charge of The Distillery District’s popular annual Toronto Christmas market. This art festival is an event comprised of one big idea, spanning forty-five days, and the works will be featured across both thirteen different acres, and forty-four different buildings, along with the T-Dot. The best part? It is free to attend!

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For those excited at the idea but have never heard of ‘light art’ before, think of the now old toy series “Lite Brite”, except much larger, much more creative, and for both adults and children! “Light Art”, known sometimes in artistry aficionado circles as “illuminism”, is a kind of applied artform in which either a sculpture produces light, or light is used to create a “sculpture” through the manipulation of light, colors, and shadows. You can consider a work of art as a piece of light art, as opposed to just a work of art featuring lights, by whether the light is the main medium of expression. Because of its characterization as a genre that is broad, there are various subcontinents of light art, including ‘light painting’, and even ‘light graffiti”. Case in point then, is that there is something at the festival that everyone can find illuminating (pun intended).

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As if the genre did not allow for creativity enough, the primal place for the festival will also no doubt be inspiring, considering that The Distillery District has since 2003 been regarded as Canada’s premier destination for the arts, Canadian arts culture, and entertainment. The District’s inner and outer buildings will allow great backdrops for the sculptures, considering it is comprised of an inspired blend of Victorian Architecture mixed in with stunning 21st-century design and creativity. To conclude, If you needed one last tidbit to attend the festival, you can hear (or read) it straight from the horse’s mouth; “In a world with so many dark and ominous messages, we want to create a positive, magical urban world that people of all ages and backgrounds will enjoy and look forward to. We want to create something special and something that will lift the collective spirit of the City” (Mathew Rosenblatt, Executive Creator/Director of The Toronto Light Festival).