Nuit Blanche 2011 Guide: Getting Around
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Nuit Blanche 2011 Guide: Getting Around

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A car will be a hindrance rather than an advantage; the streets will be packed with people; there are all sorts of road closures (the major ones being Yonge Street between Front and Bloor, Bay Street between Front and Edward, Queen Street between Victoria and University, and Queens Park Crescent between College and Charles); and parking will be a nightmare. Leave the automobile at home, or use it to drive close to a zone and park it (the TTC’s commuter parking lots are free all night), and come back for it in the morning.

Without four wheels, though, how to get from one end of the city to the other? Well, we recommend two wheels; that is, getting on a bicycle. If you have your own and a sturdy lock, you’re set. If not, tonight might be a good time to try the Bixi Toronto bicycle rental system. Zone A and Zone B are all completely within Bixi’s general station borders (Spadina Avenue to Jarvis Street, and Queens Quay to Bloor Street), with the notable exception of the Distillery District. For Zone C, Bixi can take you as far as the exhibits at Historic Fort York, with their furthest west station at Lakeshore Avenue West and Strachan Avenue, in front of Exhibition Place’s Princes’ Gates (though if the dock is full, your next nearest station will be at the Music Garden on Queens Quay, a considerable walk from any exhibits.) Consider taking a lock with you for those five-minute stops when you’re nowhere near a station.

But won’t the Bixi system be overloaded on Nuit Blanche? Not nearly as much as you might think. The first half hour of a rental is included in your $5 fee for a 24-hour pass, but anything past 30 minutes starts racking up extra charges, so most people will only use them to get from point A to point B. You can bike around all night, provided you dock your bike before the half hour is up, and wait 5 minutes for the “clock” to reset; provided you wait at least 5 minutes between rides (say, while checking out an exhibit?), and never have a bike out longer than 30 minutes, you can use the system to get around all night without paying a penny more than the $5 for your 24-hour pass (which must be purchased with a credit card at a Bixi station terminal.)

Should you decide to rely on public transit, it will be available; the TTC will be running subways until 7 a.m. Sunday morning, between Keele Station and Woodbine Station on the Bloor-Danforth line, and between St. Clair West Station and Eglinton on the Yonge-University-Spadina line. (If you miss the last subway at 7 a.m., though, you’ll need to wait until 9:30 a.m. for the system to re-open.) The streetcars and regular blue night system will be going all night, too. But due to road closures, heavy use, and pedestrians on the road (Queen Street West has been notorious for being a traffic snarl in past years), we recommend the TTC for getting downtown, but not for getting across it—especially if the route you takes cuts through high-traffic zones.

Finally, other personal modes of transportation—Rollerblades, roller skates, skateboards, etc.—may be your best bet, if it’s something you can pick up (or take off) and carry with you. And your own two feet will fare even better this year than in years past; zones A and B are more heavily concentrated in the core for 2011 (again, with the notable exception of the Distillery District), and zone C is clustered closer to Queen Street, with just a few satellite exhibits north or south of the street. So long as your footwear is comfortable, it’ll take you far.


Including: Yorkville, The Annex, Yonge and Bloor, and Wychwood.


Including: Yonge-Dundas Square, City Hall, and The Distillery District.


Including: Parkdale, Liberty Village, and West Queen West.