A look at the lasers, neon and light art installations that are taking over the Distillery District right now

By Vibhu Gairola| Photography by Brittany Carmichael
A look at the lasers, neon and light art installations that are taking over the Distillery District right now

It doesn’t take much to light up a dark, dreary winter night in this city, but the Toronto Light Festival goes above and beyond. Until March 12, the exhibition will dazzle the Distillery District with fire dancers, Technicolor tiger sculptures and a whole lot of neon. Here are some of the most striking pieces of display.

A Dream of Pastures
Studio F Minus, Canada

When visitors hop on this stationary bicycle, they activate an old-timey soundtrack and a low-tech projector. The result is a pedal-powered shadow show: one light creates a shadow of the rider, another creates the outline of a horse. The nostalgic images are a reference to photographer Eadweard Muybridge, whose horse series was a pioneering achievement.


Ryan Longo, Canada

This 15-foot steel tree would be more at home in a futuristic magical forest than in the Distillery. The artist created it specifically for last year’s Burning Man festival as symbol of nature’s relationship with technology.


Infinite Support
LightForm, Netherlands

Infinite Support is a tender ode to fellowship: the two egg-shaped sculptures need to lean on each other to stand upright. The inner chambers are lined with mirrors, ripe for trippy selfies.



Bands of Friendship
Vikas Patil and Santosh Gujar, India

No, they’re not off-brand Olympic rings. This sequence of LED hoops also signifies eternal friendship.


The Magic Dance Mirror
Kyle Ruddick, United States

The Magic Dance Mirror uses cameras to capture users’ movements and turn them into a constellation of moving stars and psychedelic silhouettes. No surprise that this one is also inspired by Burning Man.


Angels of Freedom
OGE Group, Israel

This installation fuses feathers and philanthropy: for each selfie taken under a halo and hashtagged #MillStLights, Mill Street Brewery will donate a dollar to the Daily Bread Food Bank.


The Uniting Lightstar
Venividimultiplex, Netherlands

Thin beams of blue light connect every point of this star, a dodecahedron with 12 pentagonal sides. Translation? It’s a super-cool light skeleton worthy of the next Star Wars flick.


Kelly Mark Exhibition
Kelly Mark, Canada

Witty, self-referential works by Canadian artist Kelly Mark are littered across the Distillery.



Digital Origami Tigers
Laboratory for Visionary Architecture, Australia

These tigers started touring the world in 2010 as part of Chinese New Year’s celebrations, and were quickly adopted by the World Wildlife Fund’s campaign to save tigers. Their aluminum forms are a blend of traditional lantern-making methods and contemporary digital design.


Our House
Tom Dekyvere, Belgium

This pattern of lights hangs over the square at the end of Tank House Lane. The tangle of fluorescent rope is meant to show viewers how our digital footprint can make nature seem strange and unfamiliar.


Run Beyond
Angelo Bonello, Italy

These 18 LED characters light up one by one to trace a leap of faith across two Distillery buildings. The installation took more than three days to build.


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