Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

The Art Gallery of Ontario, more commonly known as AGO, was founded in 1900 and is considered one of the largest and most impressive art galleries in North America. The gallery covers nearly 600,000 square feet and has undergone major reconstruction in recent years. There are nearly 70,000 works on display in the art gallery, spanning centuries and celebrating art of every kind from all over the world.

History of the AGO

In 1900, a group of private citizens joined together to form the Art Museum of Toronto. The land on which the current art gallery stands (known as the Grange) was left to the museum by one Goldwin Smith, and building on the gallery began in earnest soon after. In 1918, the gallery was officially opened.

As the 20 th century progressed, additions and expansions took place at different times until 1993 when the AGO covered just under 100,000 square feet. The popularity of the art gallery, as well as its growing collections called for a larger space, however and in 2004, the Transformation AGO plan was unveiled – a $254 million venture that would hugely increase the size of the gallery.

In November 2008, the AGO was reopened to the public amidst great fanfare, hailing in a new era for this spectacular art gallery.

The Collection

With items that are dated 100 AD until those that are considered contemporary art, there is something for everyone to see and admire at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Some of the more popular pieces in the collection include:

  • Works by the UK sculptor Henry Moore. In fact, the AGO boasts the largest public collection of items created by this spectacular artist.
  • European masterpieces. The works of some of the most famous artists from all periods are showcased at the AGO, including Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, Vincent van Gogh and Anthony van Dyk.
  • The emergence of photography as an art. The AGO is home to some of the earliest photographs from all over the world, including France, America and Canada. Collections by modern photographers are also exhibited in the art gallery, such as Josef Sudek.
  • Canadian art. Nearly half the art gallery is dedicated to the development of Canadian art from the time before the country became a Confederation and until present day. The collection includes works by artists such as David Milne, Emily Carr and Paul-Emile Borduas. In addition, there is a stunning collection of Inuit art that leaves visitors in awe.
  • Contemporary art. The AOG is home to several contemporary art collections by some of the greatest names, including Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer and Claes Oldenburg.

Other Services at the AGO

There are several dining and shopping options at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which include:

  • FRANK – a casual, chic restaurant that offers down to earth homely food in a delightful Danish inspired décor. The wine list is strictly local and the restaurant strives to use only seasonal ingredients.
  • Espresso Bar – Situated at the top level of the Center for Contemporary Art, this venue is perfect for grabbing a cup of coffee or a snack while touring the AGO.
  • The AGO Shop – The perfect place to pick up unique gifts or souvenirs by Canadian and international artists. The shop, designed by world famous architect Frank Gehry, should not be missed for a little bit of retail therapy!

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) Toronto

A visit to Toronto is incomplete without a stop at the Art Gallery of Toronto. Even those who have absolutely no appreciation for art will be left stunned by the sheer grandness of the gallery itself and the care and dedication put in to preserving the thousands of works in the gallery’s ownership. The AOG is an art lover’s paradise!

Location: 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Toll free: (1-877) 225-4246
Local: (416) - 979 6648

Click here to visit Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) official website

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