A Toronto Transformation

high heels

At the End of the World

Museum at the End of the World

This past weekend saw parts of Toronto transformed in weird and wonderful ways as part of Saturday’s annual Nuit Blanche.

Nuit Blanche is a free contemporary art exhibit with installations set up from the usual galleries to the unlikeliest of parking garages that takes place from dusk until dawn once a year. I’ve always thought the idea was fun and magical and whimsical, but I’ll admit that the past two years I’ve attended fell short of my expectations for three very specific reasons:

  1. It was too damn cold to be out wandering the streets in search of art (or even food for that matter. And I’ll make a lot of sacrifices for food, my friends.)
  2. No one I was with felt strongly enough about any of the installations to be willing to stand in line to see them (especially not in the cold), so we were confined to checking out only the large-scale outdoor ones or the really unpopular ones.
  3. I wore high heels. Evil ones.

Still, I couldn’t help but get caught up with Jordan’s enthusiasm for the night. Having only been once when he was in town a couple of years ago, undoubtedly clad in some kind of pillowy sneaker or loafer, he had a fresh perspective on the whole affair. Plus he had a group of friends who were hosting a potluck beforehand. And well, food.

So! After frying up some scrumptious corn cakes and watching himself make some of the world’s most ridiculously enormous (but delicious) shrimp salad rolls, I dressed in cozy layers and declared that no matter what else happened, and no matter how long the lineup, we were going to see The Museum at the End of the World. After that I was happy to be a leaf on the wind or stand around while people texted madly and tried to meet up with every friend they’d ever made or see whatever anyone else wanted to see. But I’d be damned if I didn’t at least see one (hopefully) really cool thing this year.

And ok, despite Jordan’s dire predictions and my own memories of the bloody ankles of Nuit Blanches past, I still wore high heels. But comfy ones. And I tucked a pair of emergency flats in my bag.

The potluck was lovely, the food was incredible and it was the kind of balanced gathering of old and new friends that makes everyone feel welcome and included in the lively conversation and laughter. Or maybe I just had too much wine? Hard to say.

And then we were off into the night, a happy little zebra herd of all stripes. Ahem. Or maybe that’s just too much wine again.

Moving on.

Fortunately the plan went according to…plan and we danced our way through the night past drummers and giant projections of jellyfish, set up camp in the line, and a mere 20 minutes later found ourselves strolling through Douglas Coupland’s creepy/cheeky version of the results of the rapture in the parking garage below city hall.

As I stopped to inspect a lonesome walker next to a pile of hastily vacated clothing, I thought about the question my best friend has been asking me I swear once a month since this year began.

“What would you do if you knew this really was the year the world was going to end?”

It’s not something I like or see much point in thinking about. But if there was ever a time and a place, this seemed like it.

Would I quit my job? Travel the world? Gather my family and friends around me in the prettiest place I could find and picnic the time away? Would I do something grand and sweeping, bent on finding some way of leaving a legacy that would somehow outlast the end of days? Maybe.

Or maybe, I’d fry up some corn cakes, kiss my love, drink some wine, laugh with friends, and dance the night away to drums and the sing-song chant of a Hare Krishna Kirtan.

I guess one thing at least is for sure.

At the end of the world? I’ll be the one wearing inappropriate footwear.

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