With a multitude of events getting Toronto involved in the arts, such as Luminato, Nuit Blanche, The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit and The Artist Project, it is clear that there is absolutely no shortage of creativity is this city.
The Artist Project has been running for the past five years and showcases the original works from over 200 contemporary artists over four days, all under one roof. If you missed this event, don’t fret. Here are 30 galleries that are open year round and feature some of the most beautiful and inspiring exhibits from Canadian and International artists.
Art Gallery of Ontario
Founded in 1900 by a group of private citizens as the Art Museum of Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest art museums in North America, with a physical facility of 583,000 square feet . In 2008 the AGO expanded its facilities with an innovative design, connecting art and architecture done by Toronto-born Frank Gehry.
The AGO is located at 317 Dundas Street West.
Birch Libralato appears rather unassuming from the outside – the entrance to the gallery looks like an industrial warehouse; a strategy, perhaps, to attract only those already in-the-know. The gigantic Micah Lexier‘s Arrow work points out where to find this discreet space on Tecumseth (not far from Queen and Bathurst), a collaborative product of art dealers Robert Birch and Patrizia Libralato. Two large exhibition spaces show off art that definitely leans towards the conceptual and work that doesn’t necessarily fit comfortably above the sofa however they do also carry some of the country’s most important painters – Will Gorlitz, Jaan Poldaas, and Martin Golland.
Birch Libralato is located at 129 Tecumseth Street.
This bohemian-looking space provides an unobtrusive but near-perfect setting for dealer Clint Roenisch‘s stylish selections. But don’t be fooled by the rough-n-ready facade –Roenisch tends to pass by the flip and ironic to explore work that looks cool, but has a serious side. You’ll find top-notch works by rising global art stars from Europe and South Africa, and some of Canada’s finest.
Clint Roenisch Gallery is located at 944 Queen Street West.
What’s most noticeable about Cooper Cole‘s roster is the variety of styles the artists collectively bring to the table. There are plenty of abstract pieces and conceptual work, and even some sculpture that’s entered the mix. It’s clear, in other words, that Cole isn’t trying to craft a particular stylistic category for the gallery.
Cooper Cole Gallery is located at 1161 Dundas Street West.
One of Canada’s pre-eminent spaces for visual art, Corkin Gallery is recognized worldwide for its contribution to contemporary art discourse. Corkin Gallery represents an impressive roster of artists whose works explore issues concerning the environment, identity, consumerism and narrative in a variety of mediums including photography, concrete abstract painting, digital media and sculpture.
Corkin Gallery is located in the Distillery District, 7 Tank House Lane.
The Daniel Faria Gallery is a bright contemporary art space in Bloordale Village, found amongst a strip of industrial buildings in warehouse that was an auto body shop in its last life. With two exhibits under its belt already, the third and current exhibit features Douglas Coupland, one of the biggest names in Canadian art. In other words, despite its slightly out-of-the-way location south of Bloor, the gallery has come out of the gates running.
Daniel Faria Gallery is located at 188 St Helens Avenue.
Located in the former Toronto Stock Exchange building, the Design Exchange‘s mandate is to promote Canadian design through lectures, competitions, exhibitions and events. The permanent collection showcases the best in Canadian design since 1945. The DX, as it’s more commonly known, also offers a venue for graduating designers to display their portfolios and regularly displays international designs in Exhibition Hall.
Design Exchange is located at 234 Bay Street.
Diaz Contemporary first opened in the fall of 2005, with an inaugural exhibition of work by Canadian and Mexican contemporary artists. Thew newly renovated Diaz Contemporary located in downtown Toronto, continues to showcase works from both countries. The new space is well suited for exhibiting a range of media including: sculpture, painting, drawing, photography and media based work.
Diaz Contemporary is located at 100 Niagara Street.
Established in 2003, ENGINE gallery is an incubator where emerging and mid-career painters, sculptors and installation artists are discovered and nurtured. Representing a diverse group of Contemporary Canadian artists originating from Eastern and Western Europe and North America.
ENGINE is quickly becoming known as a significant player in the Canadian Art Scene. The gallery offers 1500 sq ft. of main floor exhibition space, 15 ft floor to ceiling windows in a newly renovated space that has a contemporary and industrial feeling.
ENGINE Gallery is located at 37 Mill Street.
Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography is a non-profit artist-run centre committed to photography as a multi-faceted and ever-changing art form. Founded in 1979 to establish a supportive environment for the development of photography.
Gallery 44’s mandate is to provide a context for reflection and dialogue on contemporary photography and its related practices. Gallery 44 offers exhibition and publication opportunities to national and international artists, award-winning education programs, and affordable production facilities for artists.
Gallery 44 is located at 401 Richmond Street West #120.
Georgia Scherman Projects
Established in 2006, in a large industrial space, Georgia Scherman Projects is a three-pronged undertaking. The first project represents established contemporary names such as Spring Hurlbut, John Massey and Tony Scherman, and emerging talents like Marman + Borins and Fraser Stables.
A second project attempts to contextualize the gallery artists within a broad and idiosyncratic cultural field. It draws from the historical and the contemporary, from North America and abroad. The third project collaborates with outside curators and artists to encourage spontaneous discourse.
Georgia Scherman Projects is located at 33 Tecumseth Street.
Jessica Bradley Art + Projects
Jessica Bradley Art + Projects opened in May 2005. The gallery presents exhibitions locally with an international perspective. Artists associated with the gallery reside in Toronto and across Canada, as well as in Los Angeles, Berlin, Brussels and London. Our program model provides a context for the range of artistic practices today, including special projects and collaborations as well as a regular roster of solo exhibitions.
Jessica Bradley Art + Projects is located at 1450 Dundas Street West.
Galerie Bernd A. Lausberg serves as a forum for innovators in the field of contemporary art. The gallery’s choice of artists is based on how the artist establishes a new direction within an established genre. Lausberg Contemporary features plenty of enticingly colourful, abstract works by German artists – including Michael Burges and Thomas Deyle.
Lausberg Contemporary is located at 326 Dundas Street West.
Leo Kamen has operated his space on the fourth floor of a refurbished industrial building at King and Spadina since 1990. A solid, well-respected dealer whose taste runs more toward formal styles than the radically new, Kamen is loyal to his stable of talents, including Jeannie Thib, best known for her monochrome prints inspired by elaborate historical ornamentation.
Kamen’s gallery also features the dream-like photographs of April Hickox. The second, smaller gallery at the back is easy to miss, but it’s worth taking a peek at the exhibitions Kamen hangs here, mostly works by lesser-knowns he’s found and likes.
Leo Kamen Gallery is located at 80 Spadina Avenue.
Mercer Union is an artist-run centre dedicated to the existence of contemporary art. The space provides a forum for the production and exhibition of Canadian and international conceptually and aesthetically engaging art and related cultural practices. Artists can pursue their primary concerns through critical activities that include exhibitions, lectures, screenings, performances, publications, events and special projects.
Mercer Union is located at 1286 Bloor Street West.
Named after owner Michael Klein and the street number of his tiny storefront gallery, MKG127 is one of several start-up galleries leading the contemporary art charge on the Ossington Avenue strip (Gallery TPW, Gallery at 129 and InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre are just three others that are within distance). Klein, an artist himself and 20-year veteran of the west-end art scene, represents artists who reflect a similar style of indie creativity.
MKG127 is located 1445 Dundas Street West.
White cubes housed in a brick building, Monte Clark’s cavernous, stark galleries inspire quiet contemplation of the paintings and photographic work from Vancouver’s hottest artists, including Evan Lee and Douglas Coupland. Keep an eye out for rising photographer Chris Gergley, whose slice-of-life images document urban blight.
Monte Clark is located at 4 Trinity Street.
Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art
The mandate of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is to exhibit, research, collect, and promote innovative art by Canadian and international artists whose works engage and address challenging issues and themes relevant to our times. MOCCA is committed to providing a forum for emerging artists that show particular promise and to established artists whose works are considered to be ground-breaking or influential.
The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is located at 952 Queen Street West.
Neubacher Shor Contemporary
Known simply as ‘The Venue’ by its creators, NSC features soaring wood beam ceilings, polished concrete floors, exposed brick, and plenty of natural light. It’s the perfect blend of historic and industrial design, providing a truly complementary background for the art that resides on the walls.
When utilized as an event space, NSC offers a unique ‘column free’ loft feel with state of the art exterior LED lighting, built-in sound system with iPod connect, fully equipped commercial kitchen, and moveable art walls.
Neubacher Shor Contemporary is located at 5 Brock Street.
Nicholas Metiver Gallery is one of the largest contemporary galleries in Canada. Founded in 2004 in Toronto by Nicholas Metivier, the gallery represents Canadian, European and American artists of different generations.
The gallery handles work in all media, including painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, drawing and printmaking. The gallery continues to develop its exhibition program with the introduction of young artists as well as initiating and supporting exhibitions of gallery artists nationally and internationally.
Nicholas Metiver Gallery is located at 451 King Street West.
Established in 1973, the Olga Korper Gallery is committed to the promotion and exhibition of Canadian and international contemporary art, both locally and internationally. Having long demonstrated a strong commitment to painting and sculpture, the gallery’s scope has developed to include installation and photo-based work.
Olga Korper Gallery is located at 17 Morrow Avenue.
Based in Toronto, Peak Gallery offers a unique way in which to experience cutting-edge art in all its forms. With a focus on works with strong conceptual underpinnings and refined aesthetic qualities, Peak Gallery’s main goal is to present these tendencies as they emerge in contemporary artistic practices both in Canada and internationally. Peak Gallery has earned its reputation though its commitment to diverse programming, the facilitation of alternative and cutting-edge projects, and the promotion of talented young artists.
Peak Gallery is located at 23 Morrow Avenue.
Since 1982, Petroff Gallery has been one of North America’s leading private art galleries, striving to integrate and connect fine art with contemporary craft by exhibiting works in an artful manner. Based in Toronto, the 2, 200 square foot Petroff Gallery represents over 300 artists from across Canada and the U.S. showcasing fine contemporary craft, feature artist exhibitions, large-scale sculptures and paintings, alongside ongoing outstanding collection.
Petroff Gallery is located at 1016 Eglinton Avenue West.
Power Plant Gallery
Pursuing its activities through exhibitions, publications and public programming, The Power Plant is Canada’s leading public gallery devoted exclusively to contemporary visual art. The Power Plant will be a leading international centre for contemporary art, renowned for its global vision and special commitment to groundbreaking contemporary Canadian art and is widely supported as an essential part of Toronto’s cultural infrastructure.
Power Plant Gallery is located at 231 Queens Quay West.
Scrap Metal Gallery
“1. If this sign is on, the gallery is open. 2. If this sign if off, the gallery is closed but we forgot to turn the sign off. 3. If this sign is off, the gallery is closed. 4. If this sign is off, the gallery is open but we forgot to turn the sign on.” An installation titled “This Sign (For Scrap Metal), 2011, by Micah Lexier.
Samara Walbohm and Joe Shlesinger had been on a quest to find a place to house their vast art collection. When they finally found a space (in a very obscure location), they decided to open it up to the public. The Scrap Metal Gallery features works by ground breaking artist collective, General Idea, sculptor Lois Andison as well as Vancouver-based artists including Douglas Coupland.
Scrap Metal Gallery is located at 11 Dublin Street, Unit E.
Stephen Bulger Gallery opened on March 23, 1995 and is Canada’s go-to destination for photographs. Hosting approximately 10 exhibitions per year, the gallery also participates in International art fairs, maintains an inventory of some 15,000 photographs, and is the representative for many leading photographers and important estates.
Stephen Bulger Gallery is located at 1026 Queen Street West.
Toronto Sculpture Garden
This downtown parkette is nestled in a courtyard across the street from Saint James’ Cathedral. The Toronto Sculpture Garden has been the site of innovative contemporary sculpture installations since 1981. This small, urban park in the downtown core serves as a testing ground for visual artists to experiment with public space and to address issues of architectural scale, materials and context.
The Toronto Sculpture Garden is located at 115 King Street East.
VSVSVS (pronounced verses verses verses) is a recently founded collective studio and gallery project in the Port Lands of Toronto. Focused on developing an alternative art space with a dual emphasis on collaboration and personal autonomy, VSVSVS aims to build community and foster the creation of art and cultural projects. VSVSVS is a 4000 square foot building divided into studio space, a fully furnished wood shop and a gallery.
VSVSVS is located at 25 Polson Street.
Whippersnapper Gallery is a Toronto based Artist Run Center that supports and promotes the work of new generation Canadian visual, new media, and performance artists. Through curated exhibitions, online artist profiles, and bi-annual interdisciplinary special events, Whippersnapper offers fresh, accessible and truly contemporary arts programming.
Whippersnapper defines New Generation artists as professional artists thirty years of age and younger. Located between China Town and Kensington Market, the gallery is viewable by the public 24 hours a day through fully exposed street level windows.
Whippersnapper Gallery is located at 594B Dundas Street West.
YYZ Artists’ Outlet
In 1979, a group of young artists got together with the intent of exhibiting work which was not being shown by commercial galleries and institutions. YYZ Artists’ Outlet distinguished itself through strong, innovative programming that sought to combine theory and practice and to encourage dialogue between a variety of communities and audiences. YYZ supports three areas of programming—visual art, artists’ film and video and writing and publishing on Canadian art and culture.
YYZ Artists’ Outlet is located at 140-401 Richmond Street West.