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Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Toronto
An Intriguing Treasure-trove of Eclectic Artworks
With thousands of fabulous artworks and sculptures, the Art Gallery of Ontario has become Toronto's premier destination for breathtaking art and architecture.
Founded in 1900, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest art museums in North America and a great place to appreciate extraordinary talent and craftsmanship even if you are not a scholar of art.
From the moment you step into the scintillating structure and see the awe-inspiring architectural features of the AGO, you will know you are in for a fantastic experience.
From masterpieces of ancient European art to largest collection of Canadian art; from unique collection of African art to finest compilation of Inuit art; from the largest collection of sculptures by British sculptor Henry Moore to amazing ship models, from collection of contemporary art to extraordinary photographs and drawings, the Art Gallery of Ontario offers something to delight every spectator.
After a massive $276 million renovation, the stunning AGO reopened to rave reviews in 2008. Designed by world famous architect Frank Gehry, the Art Gallery of Ontario's new structure itself is worth a visit.
The ubiquitous use of glass and wood gives the gallery radiance, adds contemporary touch to the gallery and offers magnificent views of the city.
The major design features that mesmerize your senses include Galleria Italia, a dazzling showcase made of wood with a stupendous glass façade, a four-storey south wing covered with glass and blue titanium and the iconic staircase, spiralling up through the roof of Walker Court.
Art Gallery of Ontario - Permanent Galleries
Currently, the Art Gallery of Ontario has over 79,000 works of art in its permanent collection, spanning almost 2000 years. The artworks are showcased in 110 impressive galleries, all of which are numbered on the doorways.
The Art Gallery of Ontario has world's largest collection of historical Canadian art, distinguished by its remarkable breadth. The matchless collection comprises of large number of high quality paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures.
Here you will find beautiful Victorian era paintings, pre-Confederation watercolours, historic First Nations artworks and one of the finest contemporary Inuit art collections in the world.
The collection includes works by leading Canadian artists like Cornelius Krieghoff, William Kurelek, Emily Carr, David Milne, Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven.
The AGO's European collection consists of Dutch paintings from the 1600s, Italian paintings and sculptures from the 1600s and 18th century French Impressionist paintings.
The collection features masterworks by celebrated artists such as Anthony van Dyck, Thomas Gainsborough, Auguste Rodin, Peter Paul Rubens, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, René Magritte and many others.
Henry Moore sculpture Centre is a yet another major draw at the AGO with the world's largest public collection of artworks by internationally acclaimed British artist Henry Moore.
You will definitely enjoy miniature yet magnificent ship models at the Thomson Collection of Ship Models.
African and Oceanic Collection
With 95 artworks, the AGO has one of the most significant collections of African art in Canada, spanning several centuries. The objects are made up of wide array of materials including beeswax, glass beads, wood, iron, ivory and soapstone and vary greatly in size and style.
The AGO's Oceanic collection consists of more than 1,000 objects and artifacts from New South Wales, the Northern territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. It is the largest collection of Australian Aboriginal artworks in Canada.
The Contemporary collection of the AGO spans from 1960 to present and offers great insight into development of Canadian, American and European modern art movements. The extensive collection covers several media including painting, sculpture, installation, works on paper, photography, film and video.
The collection features brilliant works by Georg Baselitz, Jenny Holzer, Joanne Tod, Jeff Wall, Ellsworth Kelly, Mary Kelly, Franz Kline, Sol LeWitt, Claes Oldenburg, Mark Rothko, George Segal and Andy Warhol.
With over 40,000 works, the Photography collection at the AGO is a significant collection of its kind in the world. The wonderful collection demonstrates rich history of the medium from 1840s to the present day.
The major works include calotypes by British photographer Linnaeus Tripe, heliogravures by 19th-century French photographer Édouard Baldus and prints by Canadian pictorialist Melvin Hammond. You will also find spectacular works by Canada's top documentary photographer Michel Lambeth and famous Czech photographer Josef Sudek.
Prints and Drawings Collection
The AGO's Prints and Drawings Collection includes 17,500 works by Canadian and European artists dating back to the 1400s.
Some of the elite artists throughout history are represented in the Prints and Drawings collection, including David Blackwood, Greg Curnoe, Betty Goodwin, David Milne, Michael Snow, Walter Trier, François Boucher, John Constable, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Thomas Gainsborough, Paul Gauguin, Vasily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse, Michelangelo, Egon Schiele and Vincent van Gogh.
Art Gallery of Ontario - Special Exhibitions
The AGO regularly organizes numerous breathtaking special exhibitions which run for few days to few months. You can also enjoy guest lectures, gallery classes and special events at the AGO. Check out their website for current exhibitions and other events.
Shopping and Dining at the Art Gallery of Ontario
Matching with its outstanding collection of artworks, the AGO presents equally fantastic shopping experience.
The shopAGO offers a comprehensive collection of art books and posters, unique jewellery and objects by Canadian and international artists, exclusive Frank Gehry furnishings, toys, t-shirts, scarves, belts, wallets, stationery, prints and much more.
The Art Gallery of Ontario offers excellent options to rejuvenate and re-energize. FRANK is a distinct Frank Gehry-designed restaurant. Here you can relish warm and exquisite cuisine prepared by award-winning executive chef Anne Yarymowich in a casual and chic settings. If you're looking for quick and affordable dining, caféAGO offers self-serve local seasonal fare using quality natural ingredients. The Espresso Bar offers light snacks for quick bites.
Art Gallery of Ontario - Important Tips
- Food and drinks are not allowed in the AGO.
- Photography is not permitted inside AGO gallery spaces that are installed with art.
- The Art Gallery of Ontario is the biggest art gallery in Toronto. You can easily spend 5-6 hours or even an entire day to explore the gallery.
- The AGO is a year round attraction and a perfect place to spend an afternoon on a rainy day or even a freezing day in winter.
- Admission to the AGO is free on Wednesdays from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Art Gallery of Ontario - Tourist Information
Location: 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, M5T 1G4
Hours of Operation:
Tue, Thu - Sun: 10 am - 5:30 pm
Wed: 10 am - 8:30 pm
Best time to visit: Throughout the year
Time to spend: 4-5 hours
Child 5 and under: Free
Youth (6-17 years): $11
Seniors (65+ years): $16
Students (Full Time with Valid ID): $11
Please note that above prices include HST.
Tickets are available at the admission's desk. Or Skip the long lines at the admission's desk and purchase the tickets online at https://tickets.ago.net. A small surcharge of $2 is applied to each ticket purchased online.
Payment Method: Cash, Debit Card, Credit Card (Visa, American Express, Master Card, Diners Club)
Transit and Driving Directions:
The St. Patrick stop on the Yonge-University-Spadina line is the closest stop to the AGO entrance. The closest accessible stop is Queen's Park (College Street) or Osgoode (Queen Street).
The 505 Dundas streetcar brings you right in front of the AGO. If you're taking the 510 Spadina streetcar, get off at Dundas Street and walk east along Dundas. It is 3 blocks from Spadina or about a 5 minute walk.
From the West - Take Highway 401 E into Toronto and exit at Bathurst Street. Continue south until you reach Dundas Street and then turn left onto Dundas Street West. You will find the gallery right on the corner of Dundas Street West and Beverly Street.
From the East - Take Highway 401 W into Toronto and exit at Avenue Road (Exit 367). Continue south until you reach Dundas Street and then turn right onto Dundas Street West. The gallery is at the corner of Dundas and McCaul on your left side.
From the South - Take QEW/Gardiner Expressway E into Toronto. Take the Spadina Avenue exit. Continue on Spadina Avenue and turn right when you reach Dundas Street West. You will find the Art Gallery of Ontario right on the corner of Dundas Street West and Beverly Street.
From the North - Take Highway 400 into Toronto, exiting onto Highway 401 East. On Highway 401 E, exit at Avenue Road (Exit 367). Continue south until you reach Dundas Street and then turn right onto Dundas Street West. The gallery is at the corner of Dundas and McCaul on your left side.
Parking: AGO doesn't have onsite parking for visitors. However, there are several paid parking lots within walking distance of the gallery.
For more information visit http://www.ago.net