Art Gallery of Ontario, Chinatown

The Art Gallery of Ontario (originally the Art Museum of Toronto) boasts one of the largest collections in North America, although only a fraction of its 90,000 pieces are on show at a time. The extensive displays range from painting and photography to sculpture, not to mention Canada’s largest archive of African art. As well as an excellent schedule of visiting shows, the great appeal is the Canadian collection. The biggest in the country, it includes fine paintings by the celebrated Group of Seven.

In 2008 the gallery underwent an extensive renovation by US-Canadian architect Frank Gehry, whose curved wood-and-glass façade spans an entire city block. His swirling wooden central staircase inside the museum has become a landmark in its own right. The gallery reopened to members and pass holders in July.

317 Dundas Street West, M5T 1G4
+1 416 979 6648

Aga Khan Museum, Flemingdon Park

When the Aga Khan wrote to Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki asking him to design a museum around the concept of light, Maki responded in striking style. Built 45-degrees to true north so that daylight can stream into the galleries, the museum’s walls are of luminous white Brazilian granite, set around a traditional four-part garden with reflective pools to mirror the sky. The museum is dedicated to the arts of the Islamic world with a permanent collection of 1,000 objects spanning more than 10 centuries.

77 Wynford Drive, M3C 1K1
+1 416 646 4677

The Gardiner Museum, Discovery District

Canada’s only gallery dedicated to ceramics was opened in 1984 by George and Helen Gardiner to showcase their private collection of pottery. It spans the ancient Americas, ceramics from 17th and 18th-century Europe, Japan and China, majolica-ware from renaissance Italy and contemporary pieces. In addition to cultural events, the Gardiner also has a pottery studio for pre-booked and drop-in lessons. The limestone façade designed by Toronto’s KPMB was added in 2006. 

317 Dundas Street West, M5T 1G4
+1 416 979 6648

Images: Alamy, Janet Kimber, 

Go back: Toronto


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Monocle 24

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  • The Globalist