New York City may be the city that never sleeps, but Winnipeg is pulling its own all-nighter on Saturday, October 1, in a FREE celebration of arts and culture.

Our “Nuit Blanche” (“White Night” in French, which means a sleepless night) will be 12 hours (6 pm to 6 am) of arts and multi-media events taking place in the city’s museums, galleries, studios and streets – mostly in The Exchange District, St. Boniface and at Colony Street & Memorial Boulevard.

It’s all art, all night. And if you have to be awake in the wee hours, partying with Winnipeg’s finest artists, architects, dancers, musicians and filmmakers sounds like a fun, and even educational, way to spend a long night.

If you’re too tired to walk or drive, there’s even a Nuit Blanche shuttle bus, which will be transformed into a mobile gallery space called “Art on the Bus.” Now that’s creative.

Nuit Blanche is part of a bigger weekend event, Manitoba Culture Days, which runs from Friday, Sept. 30 until Sunday, Oct. 2, and offers 230 free events and opportunities – in Winnipeg and beyond – to immerse your self in the province’s art scene.

While you certainly can’t do it all, here are a few Nuit Blanche highlights in Winnipeg that should keep you going well past your bedtime.

Winnipeg at night. (Photo by Travel Manitoba.)

Nuit Blanche at the Winnipeg Art Gallery will feature a public opening (7 pm) of William Kurelek: The Messenger, and Precise: Craft Redefined. From 10 pm – 6 am, the WAG will also host a rooftop performance, a new contemporary dance work, music in the galleries and an unusual interactive exhibit called ARTcadia, bringing together artists and indie video games.

Just across the street from the WAG, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art opens its doors for Nuit Blanche activities from 7 pm – 6 am. In the same neighbourhood, enjoy art and food at Dessert Sinsations Café (505 St. Mary Ave.) while viewing The Royal River Rats Art Exhibition, from 5:30 – 10 pm.

Join in CBC/Radio-Canada’s 75th anniversary celebrations with a Colony Street Party from 8 pm – 2 am, including live entertainment, media personalities and more.

Over in St. Boniface, explore a moonlit sculpture garden, an outdoor concert and authors readings at La Maison des artistes visuels (219 Provencher Blvd.) open from 8 pm – 12 am. Catch a musical performance or play at the Saint Boniface Museum, also open from 8 pm – 12 am, or take in the Musical Soiree at the beautiful Saint Boniface Cathedral from 6 -11 pm.

In the Exchange District, 5468796 Architecture (the firm participating in the 2012 Venice Biennale) Open Doors & Exhibit takes place at 266 McDermot Ave. from 12 pm – 12 am.

Also in the Exchange, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers (211 Bannatyne Ave.) will host a Nuit Blanche Variety Show, with start times at 8 pm, 9:30 pm and 11 pm.

If you’re more into singing than dancing, a Ladies of the ‘80s Singalong happens at Cinematheque (100 Arthur St.) from 9 – 10:30 pm. Across the hall from Cinematheque, the PLATFORM centre for photographic and digital arts presents a multi-channel video installation of Guy Maddin’s “Hauntings I,” from 11 pm – 1 am

The Cube at Old Market Square will be wide awake with Winnipeg bands Aceta, Amuse, Vela, and Bel-Air Live, performing from 8:15 – 11:30 pm.

If a “mocktail” party is more your style head over to Nuit Blanche at the Manitoba Museum (190 Rupert Ave.) for an early 1960s-inspired evening of classic cars, customized gallery tours, vintage décor and costumes, that carries on until 1:30 am.

These are just some of the great ways to avoid sleep and enjoy the arts on October 1. For more info about Nuit Blanche events, and the rest of Winnipeg’s cultural party weekend, visit

And here’s to an all-nighter that makes the sleep deprivation worth it.

Author's Bio: 

I’m a girl from the Canadian prairies who likes wide-open spaces, fresh ideas, a great story, and inspiring environments, buildings and art of all kinds. I have written feature stories about architecture, urban, rural and lakeside living, cool neighbourhoods, and everything from business to pleasure (tourism and travel).

I believe that powerful writing, too, can link the artistic with the practical.

My feature writing has appeared in: Ottawa Citizen, Winnipeg Free Press, The Western Producer, The Cottager, Manitoba Business Magazine, Manitoba’s Northern Experience, Home & City, Manitoba Gardener, Ciao and up! (WestJet’s magazine).

Barbara Edie