A Really Big Ball and So Much More : The Luminato Festival

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Although Toronto’s Luminato Festival has come and gone now, I still wanted to show you the shots I took there, because the venue was stunning. You’ll see what I mean!

Meghan and I went on the final Friday of the 15-day festival. We hadn’t gotten tickets for any of the shows, however had read that there was plenty to see there regardless.

Luminato organizers certainly chose an interesting and unique setting for their festival hub, for their 10th anniversary season. It was located at an old power plant called The Hearn Generating Station.

Set as it was in a remote location in a part of the city called the Portlands, about five kilometres from the downtown core, getting there was a bit of an adventure in itself. But the effort was completely worth it! (There was a shuttle bus, that went to Union Station, which we took on the way home, deciding on an Uber for the trip over.)

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↑ Looking back towards downtown ↑

Hearn first opened in 1951, and provided electricity to the region via the burning of coal for 32 years, and closing in 1982. Then, for the next three decades the massive building stood mostly abandoned and deteriorating, until Luminato began using parts of it to stage some of their shows a couple of years ago. This year, they took it further, spending 3 1/2 weeks transforming it into their home for the whole festival. Considering the vast size of the place, their work focused on making the building usable for their purposes, leaving the majority of the space as it was when they first entered it. The whole effect was quite awe inspiring. (There’s an article about what it took to do this on their website here.)

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↑ Standing 215 metres tall, the smokestack is one of the world’s tallest. ↑

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Before heading into the building, we checked out this outdoor installation …

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Untilled by Pierre Huyghe. That’s an active bee hive covering the statue’s head. ↑

Then we ventured inside, having no idea what to expect …

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There were several art installations set up …

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Loop by Bonnie Tung ↑

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The Coating Project Film ↑

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Jordan Söderberg Mills Mirrors and Lights ↑

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Making our way along the pathway, we could see the flashing and sparkling of lights in the distance. We knew that would be where the world’s largest mirror ball would be found …

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One Thousand Speculations a 7.9 metre wide ball, covered in 1,000 mirrors, created by Canadian artist Michel de Broin ↑

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Then we climbed a set of metal stairs, to the upper level. Here you could get right beside the huge mirror ball …

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Also, here was the setting for a photography exhibit called Trove, featuring images of 50 of Toronto’s treasures.

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These 50 things, ranging from pieces of art to musical instruments to one of John Lennon’s boots, were first photographed by artist Scott McFarland in their original location, be it a private collector’s home, a gallery or a museum — wherever the thing normally resides — and then those photos were combined with photos of The Hearn. “The final images are like shots of the exhibition of Toronto’s 50 treasures in a future, imagined Hearn Generating Station Gallery.

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↑ Andy Warhol Marilyn Tapestry – This treasure is part of someone’s private collection. It’s a very rare handwoven wool tapestry created in 1968. Originally intended to be one of 20, but this is the only one recorded as having been completed. ↑

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↑ The Golden Archtop : Gibson Les Paul Standard, 1952 – Another treasure from someone’s private collection, this was Les Paul’s personal guitar. The gold finish was found on all Gibson Les Paul guitars prior to 1953.” ↑

trove-photography-exhibit-luminato-toronto-opus-wurlitzer-organ

↑ Opus 558, Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ, 1923 – This currently resides in Casa Loma. It was Canada’s largest organ, originally located at Shea’s Hoppodrome Theatre for vaudeville, and then moved to Maple Leaf Gardens until 1964. In 1974 it was moved to the old organ chambers at Casa Loma. ↑

There was a special pop-up restaurant called Le Pavillon” set up up there, in what was originally the control room of the power station. With a very limited number of seats, it was completely booked up in advance for the whole period of the festival.

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restaurant

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looking-down

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We then headed by down and to some refreshment, in the form of an ice-cold cider …

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refreshments

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When we got outside the sun was beginning to set.

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We caught the shuttle bus back downtown ….

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We both really enjoyed going, and can honestly say we’d never seen anything like that before. We were glad that we’d suppressed the urge to do the easy thing, which would have been to find a seat and a drink on a patio close to home, on what was a gloriously lovely summer afternoon. But the curious art lovers in us won out and we were happy they did.

Luminato is over now for this year but hopefully this remarkable temporary gallery and performance space will be set up by them again next year.

Thanks for checking out my post,
xo loulou

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