Canadian Art Museums and Galleries

Some of the most fascinating museums and galleries in Canada are the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Toronto, and Museum of Contemporary Art. They offer visitors the unique chance to observe collections of Canadian and international art, including works by the Group of Seven.

Art Gallery of Ontario

Found in Toronto, the gallery features some 80,000 works of art, including installations, graphic art, sculpture, and photography. Featured collections are organized by theme – Modern, European, Indigenous, Canadian, Prints & Drawings, etc. The Contemporary collection includes video and sound, performance, photography, works on paper, immersive installations, sculptures, and paintings. The Canadian Art collection features works of art by Jack Bush, Kazuo Nakamura, and Rita Letendre as well as pre-Confederation watercolors and early Quebec Art.  Among the featured highlights are Joyce Wireland’s Time Machine Series, Kathleen Jean Munn’s Untitled (Cows on a Hillside), and Paul Kane’s Scene in the Northwest – Portrait. The gallery’s library holds over 380,000 artists’ and rare books, including travel guides, magazines, illustrated books, and art historical books.

Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art is also found in Toronto and houses works by Canadian artists such as Megan Rooney, Shelagh Keely, Carlos Bunga, and others. The museum also organizes events and activities such as community Sundays, workshops, and performances. School visits, self-guided visits, and guided tours are offered as well. Thanks to donations by government agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals, the museum offers learning activities for students and public programs, runs projects, hosts exhibitions, and has a studio space to support emerging artists. Major donors of the museum include The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation, Lindy Green Family Foundation, and BMO Financial Group. Annual Corporate Supporters are TD, Scotiabank, and BMO.

National Gallery of Canada

Found in the capital city of Ottawa, the National Gallery of Canada features an extensive collection of Canadian art. The gallery houses exhibitions and collections in categories such as Prints and Drawings, Contemporary Art, European, American, and Asian Art, and Indigenous and Canadian Art. The Indigenous Art category includes Inuit and Aboriginal works and features artists such as Kenojuak Ashevak, Robert Markle, and Rita Letendre. The Prints and Drawings collection includes works by European, American, and Canadian artists while the Canadian Art collection features abstract paintings, works by landscape artists, sculptures, and photography. The Canadian Photography Institute is part of the gallery and is managed by its staff, including archivists, librarians, conservators, and curators.

Partners and sponsors of the gallery include the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, Scotiabank, and Archive of Modern Conflict. The Bank of Nova Scotia donated $10 million toward research and programs offered by the Canadian Photography Institute.

Art Gallery of Alberta

This hub for visual arts is located on Sir Winston Churchill Square in Edmonton and houses exhibitions and AFA travelling exhibitions. The many exhibitions feature prominent artists such as Roy Caussy, Damian Moppet, and others.  The main collection areas are prints, historical and contemporary photography, and abstract sculpture and painting. The gallery also offers programs and educational activities, including adult programming and art making and programs for youth, children, and families and toddlers. The family studio for children aged 3 – 5 offers kids the opportunity to create and experiment.

The Ernest E. Poole Foundation is a major donor with the help of which the gallery acquired works by prominent artists, including Jack Bush, Emily Carr, James Wilson Morrice, and Paul Peel. Some 100 works of art have been gifted by the foundation.

Winnipeg Art Gallery

Located on Memorial Boulevard in Winnipeg, WAG is one of the first visual arts museums which opened doors in 1912. The gallery houses an extensive collection of Inuit works of art as well as photography, decorative art, historical European and British art, and contemporary and historical Canadian art. The gallery also organizes signature events and activities such as diner-and-tour programs, exhibits, free days, the Gallery Ball, workshops, and yoga classes. Art classes are also offered to help visitors improve their skills in life drawing, painting, pottery, and other arts. Films, tours, walks, and other activities also take place in the gallery, including youth and guided tours and talks with artists. Other activities for visitors to enjoy include travel tours, rooftop pop-ups, Friday night tours, and art for lunch. Families with children are welcome to join fun activities such as art making courses, family days, workshops, and tours. The gallery also sponsors classes at the Winnipeg, Louis Riel, and Seven Oaks School Divisions, offering students the opportunity to join various programs such as the Teen Artist Program, Quantum, Art Expression, and Young Artist Program.

The gallery organizes annual fundraising events to support exhibitions and organize educational events. Among them are Art in Bloom, the Gallery Ball, and Time Hour. Corporate donors enjoy benefits such as free magazine subscriptions, discounts on events and art classes, and invitations to member-only events, opening celebrations, and exhibit previews. Corporate leaders enjoy added benefits such as complementary tours and admission passes and unlimited free entry.

Beaverbook Art Gallery

This art gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick houses exhibitions and collections, including works by Sir Max Atiken. The Canadian Collection features sculptures, photography, prints, drawings, and paintings from 18th century till present. The main focus is on artists from the Atlantic Region. Featured artists include Bruno Bobak, Christopher Pratt, Jack Humphrey, and Cornelius Krieghoff.  The Canadian Collection also includes First Nations Art, Inuit prints, folk art, and craft items.

Of particular note is the International Collection which features works of art by American, Dutch, Spanish, French, and Italian artists, spanning from the 14th to the 20th century. The Hosmer Pillow Vaughan Collection is also an interesting one, featuring furniture, tapestries, British porcelain, European miniatures, and paintings.

The British Collection includes scene paintings and landscapes, informal group portraits, and Grand Manner portraits from the Elizabethan Era. The collection also comprises modern paintings, Pre-Raphaelite works of art, ad genre and still life paintings.

The gallery houses large-scale outdoor sculptures by international, national, and regional artists as well as a sculpture garden. There is also a gallery shop offering craft items by local artisans and artists.

Corporate benefactors of the gallery include RBC Royal Bank, Investors Group, the City of Fredericton, and TD Bank Group. The gallery welcomes donations in the form of financial support, money for specific areas and programs, materials, and sponsoring child’s participation and classes.

Other Canadian museums and galleries that are worth visiting include the Power Plant, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.


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