The Best of 29Rooms Toronto Expand Your Reality Pop-Up Event

The ’29Rooms: Expand Your Reality’ experience creates unique Instagram-rich opportunities to showcase art and design while taking your best selfie.

The 29Rooms Toronto: Expand Your Reality experience creates new, bold and thought-provoking moments that bring Refinery29’s mission and multi-sensory spaces to life in collaboration with local and global artists, creators, visionaries, meaningful causes, and brands.

Each room puts visitors at the center of the event with hands-on activities and several phone-free experiences, sparking engagement and igniting self-expression, storytelling and dialogue. In one such room, entitled ’29 Conversations’, you are encouraged to speak to 29 strangers and you are given very deep and personal prompts to get you speaking to the other person. You wouldn’t think it would work, but it does. I saw people actually drop their phones and pay attention to each other which was kind of nice in an Instagram-rich environment.

Every space creates dozens of opportunities to take the best selfie of your life.

All of that being said, 29Rooms is clearly all about the selfies. Every space creates dozens of opportunities to take the best selfie of your life and largely lends itself to the young, trendy, female Instagram-loving 16-35 year old demographic. Even if you’re not into selfies though, there is a lot to love if you’re obsessed with art and design. There is so much to see and do that you simply can’t come out of there uninspired even if you tried.

Lucky for us Refinery29 has now instituted a ticketing program for the first time to minimize wait times and optimize the user experience. If they let in everyone at once you’d never get a chance to see all 29 rooms, let alone take that perfect selfie. Even with the 2.5 hours I gave myself to go through everything I still found myself rushing so if you decide to attend, try to create a game plan quickly when you enter. Prioritise any room without a lineup as soon as you see it available. You’ll thank me later.

Refinery29’s iconic 29Rooms immersive, pop-up event is in Toronto for the first time as part of its five-city tour from now until October 6th. The tour will continue to its final stop in Washington, D.C. from October 18th to 27th. To see what it’s all about, check out my top 10 favourite rooms below.

The Best of Refinery29's 29Rooms: Expand Your Reality Pop-Up Event in Toronto Click To Tweet

The Best of 29Rooms Toronto


Pop Into Our World

In Collaboration with Van der Pop

Room Description

Why feel bad about making ourselves feel good? It’s high time we celebrated pleasure for pleasure’s sake. Refinery29 and Van der Pop have dreamed up feminised cannibis dreamscapes to indulge your senses. Look around, smell, touch everything. You’re allowed. Power to the Pop.


Dream Doorways

In Collaboration with Kali Uchis

Room Description

Throughout history, the interpretation of dreams has been studied far and wide. Ancients believed that dreams were prophetic messages from the Gods. Some believe they are merely a doorway to our true thoughts and unconscious. In this surreal installation, guests are invited to fall down the rabbit hole to an alternate universe where nothing is what it seems.


You Are Magic

In Collaboration with The Hoodwitch

Room Description

Our spirit is the essence of who we are. Magic is everywhere and it is available to all of us. Explore this enchanted crystal cave where The Hoodwitch will guide guests to awaken the deepest part of themselves and tap into their own inner magic. Because now more than ever, the universe needs your beacon of light, so have no fear in shining bright.


No Filter

Room Description

When used in the right way, light can be a paintbrush that transforms any environment. Venture beyond the camera lens to experience two creative lighting methods that manipulate light, color, and shadow to instantly shift your perception and allow you to see yourself—and your surroundings—in a new light.


Designed to Command Attention

In Partnership With COVERGIRL

Room Description

We’re throwing a dance party and everyone is invited. Behind these doors, you’ll encounter the soundtrack to your city and characters that will inspire you to make room, make moves and release. We just need your energy to kick things off, so get in there and start moving…This is your dance break!


A Long Line of Queendom

In Collaboration with Unbothered

Room Description

When Black assemblies are seen as threats, Black voices heard as noise, and Black culture something to be co-opted, here marks a space of tribute. Powerful and soft, queenly and human, an individual and a community; there are a spectrum of truths that make up Black women’s experience. Brought to life by Refinery29’s dedicated platform for Black millennial women, Unbothered, we invite you to “say her name” or take your place within a long legacy of Black excellence, beauty and achievement.


What Can’t Milk Do

In Partnership With Dairy Farmers of Ontario

Room Description

Of course it’s delicious in a cold glass and is chock full of protein and nutrients… but how well do you really know everyone’s favourite beverage? Did you know it makes banana bread, chia pudding, and omelettes extra tasty? Or that it smooths skin, neutralizes spicy food and powers athletes through 24-hour tough mudders? This delicious, versatile superfood can do so much. Maybe the easier question is: What can’t milk do? We invite you inside the carton to find out.


Dance Break

Room Description

We’re throwing a dance party and everyone is invited. Behind these doors, you’ll encounter the soundtrack to your city and characters that will inspire you to make room, make moves and release. We just need your energy to kick things off, so get in there and start moving… This is your dance break!


The Full Picture

In Collaboration With Shatterbox

Room Description

Shatterbox, the groundbreaking film series by Refinery29 empowers female storytellers both in front and behind the camera to show us how they see the world. For the upcoming third and fourth seasons of Shatterbox, Refinery29 is partnering with Level Forward, a female-led studio founded by Adrienne Becker and Abigail Disney. At 29Rooms, Shatterbox brings you a reimagined studio where we invite you to get behind the camera and take on a leading role in spreading our message: Dear Hollywood – You can’t win without women.


Teenage Bedroom

In Collaboration with Uzumaki Cepeda

Room Description

Remember those formative teenage years and just how sacred your bedroom was? It was that dreamy place you could always count on, where you could remove yourself from the world and get lost in thoughts and reflections. Artist Uzumaki Cepeda invites guests to enter a time warp and revisit their teenage years. From looking through the closet, to playing Nintendo, this is a safe space for everyone.


29Rooms: Expand Your Reality runs from September 26th to October 6th inside the Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place in Toronto. Please visit 29rooms.com or @29Rooms on social media for more information and updates.


It’s interesting to see so many places and events popping up that cater to the Instagram generational need to take photos as if they starred in their own commercial, music video, or magazine advertisement. What I took away from it was inspiration from the creative environments and artwork. I do feel that spaces like these are helping broader audiences understand what they see in film, television, and media from a production design level.

I can only hope I’m right about that, but what do you think? I’d love to know your thoughts on these 29Rooms environments in the comments below.

For more Event posts, go here, and for more Pop Culture posts, go here.

Posted by Rose Lagacé

Rose Lagacé is a production designer for film & television by day and an emerging filmmaker by night. Rose is also the creator and editor of Art Departmental where she celebrates the art and craft of production design.

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