A Guide to 8 Great Art Galleries in Ontario
Ontario’s one of Canada’s biggest provinces. And with vast space, comes vast inspiration. From the crystal blue waters of Georgian Bay, to the bustling metropolis of Toronto, to the dense woods of Algonquin Park, it’s no question that the province itself encourages many artists to hone their craft. With great artists, come great artists spaces — like the amazing galleries below.
If you’re looking to explore the artistic side of Canada, look no further than these culturally rich spaces in Ontario.
Art Gallery of Ontario - Toronto
What do 90,000 works of art, a Frank Gehry-designed building, and a prime downtown location make? The Art Gallery of Ontario, of course. Spanning all types of art, showcased through six permanent collections as well as rotating exhibitions, the AGO is a must-see for art lovers. Want to really make an experience of it? Visit on one of their First Thursdays — an after hours event that features music, speakers, and more in the gallery space.
The Power Plant - Toronto
Head towards the water and you’ll find The Power Plant, and yes, it does look like one — smokestack and all. Industrial no more, The Power Plant is now home to a slew of contemporary art. Located in Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, this gallery offers free tours, speaker series, and of course, great art (snag a sneak peak with their virtual tour). We suggest spending an afternoon at the gallery, then heading outside to a cafe or restaurant to enjoy the views of the waterfront. You can even hop on a ferry to the Toronto Islands to really round out a day of exploration.
National Gallery of Canada - Ottawa
Representing an entire country is no easy task, but the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa certainly does it justice. A visual arts museum, this gallery encapsulates all types of art, including Canadian, Indigenous, international, Asian, contemporary, photography, prints and drawing, sculpture, and silver — and that’s only their permanent collection. With rotating exhibits, you can always find something new to explore and tours and talks truly enrich the experience. Want to see what’s happening now to gear you up for your visit? Check out the gallery’s live stream.
Orange Art Gallery - Ottawa
New on the scene, Orange Art Gallery in Ottawa represents local artists to showcase both new and favorite talent. Located in a historic building (it used to be the bank for the Canadian National Rail company) the space now features galleries, studio spaces, and catering — making it a great place to explore art or host an event. Better still, they offer art classes so you can try your hand at mixed media or acrylics after being inspired by the work that surrounds you.
Museum London - London
Near the Thames River in downtown London, you’ll find the Museum London, home to visual art and material culture. With over 5,000 regional and Canadian works, as well as 45,000 artifacts that encapsulate the history of the area, you’ll be able to learn about art and the past, all in one space. Stop by to tour the works or enjoy their special events and public programs.
Art Gallery of Hamilton - Hamilton
One of the oldest public art galleries in Canada, the Art Gallery of Hamilton features European, Canadian, and contemporary works. With over 10,000 to peruse at your leisure, you’ll enjoy exploring this new building that contains a lot of old history. After you’ve taken it all in, check out the Design Annex — a creativity lab for experimental exhibitions. Pro tip: Be sure to stop by on the first Friday evening of the month when admission is free.
Niagara Falls Art Gallery - Niagara Falls
This gallery proves that there’s more to Niagara than the Falls. With rotating exhibits and a robust permanent collection, the Niagara Falls Art Gallery is a great place to visit if you’re looking to infuse your trip with a little arts and culture. Home to the largest collection of work by William Kurelek (a well-known and loved Canadian artist), you’ll be able to explore Canada through the eyes of a painter who experienced many areas and landscapes of the country. Along with his works, be sure to check out the gallery’s programs that include yoga, ballroom dancing, and art classes.
Gallery Stratford - Stratford
Around since 1967, Gallery Stratford has made a name for itself in the area with its commitment to visual art with a focus on Canadian artists. Located in a former pump house, this historic building is home to great works of art as well as a beautiful setting — it’s within walking distance of Stratford’s Festival Theatre and the Avon River. See a show, explore some art, and understand why Stratford is so well-loved.
Inspired? See what else Ontario has to offer by visiting the Ontario Travel website.