Night time Confessions of a Toronto TIFF virgin



 Toronto’s entertainment District is transformed every night when twilight fades to night. However, the buzz increases on King Street, the heart of the area, when the TIFF festivities begin. During next the ten days and nights, when TIFF takes over the district, the area becomes an oasis of colour and action. I have rarely experienced such passion and fervour poured into an urban event. People from all over North America arrive in Toronto to participate in TIFF, even if they have no direct connection to the film industry. I talked to one woman who said that her parents arrive every year from New York City to attend. Another, from Denver, told me that she has not missed the TIFF in over a dozen years.

I had avoided the TIFF in previous years as I feared the line-ups. However, I discovered that even the longest lines, such as those at the Princess of Wales Theatre or the Roy Thomson Hall, enter within ten minutes. I saw a line at the Bell Lightbox that was two blocks long. I timed it, and it required eight minutes before the line was empty.

The last few years, TIFF has been particularly exciting, since the Bell Lightbox has concentrated the activities into a single area. Even the hospitality venues associated with the TIFF are either on King Street or within a five minutes walk of it.  To walk King Street at night when the festival is on is an amazing experience. I hope that in some small way the pictures below will capture a little of the excitement that I experienced walking around under the stars to people watch.  




Crowds in front of the Bell Lightbox, where there are five theatres screening films

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TIFF has commissioned five new art installations for the festival. The picture on the left shows the artist working on his creation during the afternoon. The right-hand photo shows is the completed canvas at night, when it was finished. All day, while the artist worked, a camera took photos every ten seconds. These were compiled into a time-lapse film that reveals the progress of the art from start to finish. To view the film, a free App is available from Bell that anyone can download to their computer. Each day, a different artists will create another piece of art.


The art work is much appreciated by people who wish to create memories of their visit to TIFF

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This artwork was created in New York in 2002. It depicts workers having their lunch high off the ground on the structural steel beams during the building of the Rockefeller Centre in 1932. 

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Restaurants and sidewalk cafes on King Street buzz with excitement.


The line-up to enter the Princess of Wales Theatre snakes back along the streets north of King.


Crowds on the south side of King Street watching the stars enter the Princess of Wales Theatre.


                   The Roy Thomson Hall as the evening gala is ready to begin.

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                  David Pecaut Square with its two-storey media tent


                                The Bell Lightbox, home of the TIFF.

To view the post on the TIFF daylight activities:

Other posts about happenings in Toronto and its history, follow the links:

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The CNE Air Show is over for another year and the Ex is closed.

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The new Toronto Aquarium at the base of the CN Tower, due to open in simmer – 2013

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Construction at Clarence Square on the east side of Spadina, north of Front Street.

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The northwest corner of Queen and Spadina where a McDonald’s is located.

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The history of the site of the Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Spadina and Dundas Streets.

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The historic home now occupied by Paul Magder Furs

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The 1890s church of St. Margaret’s Anglican on Spadina south of Queen street. The church is now hidden from view by a modern addition across the front of it.

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The iconic Balfour Building at Spadina and Adelaide Streets

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House on Spadina south of Dundas Street – today it is difficult to believe that it was once a prestigious residential building

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The vanished underground men’s washroom from the early nineteenth century, located in the middle of the street at Queen and Spadina.

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The site of the Consumers’ Glass Building at 239-241 Spadina, south of Dundas Street. It is presently under restoration.

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