The Toronto art scene flourishes in the most unexpected places, neighbourhoods and celebrated events.
Toronto’s percentage for art bylaw requires that 1% of all construction costs be set aside for public art.
Located throughout Toronto, are more than 200 City-owned pieces of public art and historical monuments. Situated in city parks, and on the grounds of municipal buildings, these works add both a historic and artistic element to the urban landscape. They are diverse in medium, ranging from bronze and masonry sculptures, to aluminum, polyester resin, stainless steel and concrete. The earliest piece in the collection, The Canadian Volunteers Memorial, dates back to 1870.
Parts of the Toronto underground double as art galleries. Take a moment to explore, and you'll find intricate glass mosaics, angular aluminium sculptures, even optical illusions etched into the walls of 75 per cent of the transit system’s stations.
Tucked in the Rush Lane just south of Queen Street West near Bathurst Street is arguably the city’s most celebrated area for graffiti art (about a kilometre of space). Every nook of this strip houses some new and exciting pieces.
For Toronto art, the biggest story is not any single artist, curator or gallery, but a neighbourhood. Many Toronto neighbourhoods are chock-full of art galleries filled with pieces by an array of Canadian and international artists.
Many of the biggest names in Toronto's contemporary art scene are flocking to this formerly industrial area largely due to the more affordable rents. Already here are Arsenal, Daniel Faria, Scrap Metal, Katzman Contemporary, Clint Roenisch and Gallery TPW. And, Cooper Cole opened its new Dupont Street space in July.
Neubacher Shor and Angell Gallery are also in the midst of moving in; the latter opens its first Dupont Street exhibition on September 11. Erin Stump Projects is here too and soon MOCCA will have a permanent home at the Tower Automotive Building on Sterling Road.
West Queen West
Despite the mass exodus of galleries, this changing neighbourhood still boasts prominent names in Toronto's visual arts scene including Katharine Mulherin and the photography-focused Stephen Bulger.
If you venture off Queen Street, you'll find a variety of spaces including the Koffler Gallery inside the Artscape Youngplace on Shaw, Pari Nadimi Gallery on Niagara and regular exhibitions that pop up at The Drake hotel and the Gladstone hotel.
Yorkville is home to numerous galleries that generally cater to serious collectors. However, this neighbourhood was once a bohemian enclave back in the 1960s. Its artsy roots are still showing thanks to the Yorkville institution (it opened in 1962) Mira Godard Gallery as well as Liss Gallery, Odon Wagner, Gallery Gevik, Gallery One, Leonardo Galleries and Loch Gallery.
A variety of galleries populate this stretch of Dundas and they include those that cater to emerging artists as well as venerable Toronto institutions. Art Metropole, for instance, moved into the area three years ago to carry on its 41-year legacy as an artist-run centre.
Ontario College of Art and Design’s independent gallery XSPACE is here, as is Loop Gallery and LE Gallery.
Its cobblestone streets are usually filled with tourists marvelling at the largest collection of Victorian industrial architecture in North America. Noteworthy is the Thompson Landry Gallery, the massive Corkin Gallery and Julie M. Gallery, which focuses on showing contemporary Israeli, Canadian and North American art.
Arts Exhibits and Events
A wall of Campbell's tomato soup cans greets you as you enter the new Andy Warhol Revisited: A Mirror for Today exhibition, running till December 31, 2015 at 77 Bloor St. W. Andy Warhol Revisited is the largest Warhol exhibition ever to come to Canada.
Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) hosts the Canadian premiere of Pompeii: In the Shadow of the Volcano till January 3, 2016. The exhibition will include approximately 200 evocative objects that tell the dramatic story of Pompeii, an ancient Roman city captured in time by ash and debris that buried it during a volcanic eruption.
This fall the Art Gallery of Ontario will host a major exhibition celebrating the experimental and contemplative works of Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), a giant of British art. Opening on Oct. 31, 2015, J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free features more than 50 large-scale paintings and watercolours on loan from Tate Britain.
Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition - September 18 to 20
Located at Nathan Phillips square for over 50 years, is a vast gathering of artists with up to 400 participants in 14 categories, offering hand-made originals to the 100,000 visitors attending the exhibition every year.
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche - Saturday, October 3, 2015
A contemporary art event that magically transforms Toronto’s streets and parks into an artistic playground with exhibitions, live performances and creative programs.
Art Toronto - October 23- 26, 2015
Founded in 2000, Art Toronto is Canada’s international fair for modern and contemporary art, located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in the city’s downtown core
Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival - May 1 to 31, 2016
A month-long festival of photography with over 1,000 local, national and international artists at more than 200 venues across the Greater Toronto Area each May.
Luminato - June 10 – June 19, 2016
Luminato Festival is Toronto’s international multi-arts festival for people open to having art change their outlook on the world. For 10 days each June, Luminato transforms Toronto’s theatres, parks and public spaces with hundreds of events celebrating theatre, dance, music, literature, food, visual arts, film, and more.
About Tourism Toronto Tourism Toronto, Toronto’s Convention and Visitors Association, is an industry association of more than 1,100 members established to sell and market the greater Toronto region as a remarkable destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travellers around the globe. Tourism Toronto operates in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Greater Toronto Hotel Association.