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9 Must-Visit Art Galleries in Canada

9 Must-Visit Art Galleries in Canada 

If you’ve got a soft spot for brushstrokes and sculptures, or if the mere mention of art gets your heart racing, then you’re in for a real treat. We’re about to embark on a coast-to-coast journey that will introduce you to the crème de la crème of Canadian artistry.

So, lace up your most comfortable walking shoes, charge your camera, and let’s dive into the mosaic of Canada’s finest galleries. Who knows? You might just find your new favorite artist or the perfect piece to spark conversations in your living room.

Address: 750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7, Canada

Contact Details: +16046624700

Website: http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/

Opening Hours: Monday 10 AM to 5 PM; Tuesday, closed; Wednesday 10 AM to 5 PM; Thursday to Friday 10 AM to 8 PM; Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM

Entry fee: $29.06 CAD

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Canada’s vibrant art scene, the Vancouver Art Gallery should be at the top of your list. Nestled in the heart of downtown Vancouver, this cultural gem is not just the largest art museum in Western Canada, but it’s also steeped in history. 

Strolling through the Vancouver Art Gallery, you’ll encounter the intimate Emily Carr: A Room of Her Own exhibit, offering a peek into the artist’s inner world. Conceptions of White might also catch your eye, challenging your perceptions of this seemingly simple color.

These are only a few great exhibits you can pretty much expect, and we’ll leave the rest for you to discover what piece of history you’ll be witnessing during your visit!

Pro Tip: To reach the Vancouver Art Gallery via public transit, hop on the Canada or Expo Line, get off at Vancouver City Centre or Granville Station, and after a short walk west from the Pacific Centre Mall exit on West Georgia Street, you’ll find the gallery just past Howe Street.

Address: 380 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 9N4, Canada

Contact Details: +16139901985

Website: http://www.gallery.ca/

Opening Hours: Sunday, closed; Tuesday to Friday 10 AM to 5 PM; Saturday 12 to 5 PM

Entry fee: $20 CAD

The National Gallery of Canada, nestled in the heart of Ottawa, is a treasure trove of Canadian art, showcasing the nation’s most comprehensive collection. 

While it does feature remarkable pieces from American and European artists like Andy Warhol, its true essence lies in its dedication to Canadian creators. You’ll find yourself immersed in the works of Emily Carr, Louis-Philippe Hébert, Alex Colville, Tom Thomson, and Jack Bush, to name a few. 

The gallery is not just a house of art but a celebration of Canadian identity, with its contemporary collection boasting pieces from Indigenous artists, reflecting the diverse tapestry of Canada’s cultural heritage. 

And who could miss the iconic Maman, the giant spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, which stands guard outside, almost as if inviting passersby to explore the wonders within? 

Pro Tip: Make sure to allocate enough time to truly appreciate the Canadian and Indigenous art sections—they offer a unique and profound insight into the country’s soul. 

Address: 1723 Hollis St, Halifax, NS B3J 1V9, Canada

Contact Details: +19024245280

Website: https://agns.ca/

Opening Hours: Daily 10 AM to 5 PM

Entry fee: $10 CAD

As the premier destination for art aficionados in Atlantic Canada, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia stands out in Halifax, with a branch in Yarmouth, boasting a vast trove of over 17,000 artworks. 

Before you know it, you’ll feel like an art expert trying to dissect what’s going on in each painting that you come across (we sure have during our visit, so we expect the same for you). 

This collection is a vibrant celebration of Canadian creativity, featuring everything from classic portraiture to the raw beauty of Inuit stone sculptures and the charming simplicity of Nova Scotia folk art. 

Pro Tip: When you visit, take a moment to delve into the gallery’s special programs and educational offerings (they change seasonally)—they’re designed to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the art on display. 

Contemporary Art Museum of Montreal

Address: Niveau galerie commerciale, Pl. Ville-Marie local 11220, Montréal, QC H3B 3Y1, Canada

Contact Details: http://macm.org/

Website: +15148476226

Opening Hours: Monday, closed; Tuesday to Friday 11:30 AM to 7 PM; Saturday 11 AM to 6 PM; Sunday 11 AM to 5:30 PM

Entry fee: $10 CAD

For over half a century, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal has been a cornerstone for contemporary art, offering a platform for both local and international artists to share their work with art enthusiasts. 

Imagine stepping into a space where the past 50 years of art come alive, right in the heart of Montreal. 

The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal is that place, where every corner turned offers a new perspective, be it through a digital soundscape or a sculpture that seems to defy gravity. 

They’ve got everything from Warhol’s pop art to poignant Inuit carvings and vibrant Nova Scotian folk pieces. And if you’re into a bit of nostalgia, their “In Search of Expo 67” exhibition was a throwback to a time that transformed the city and the art scene.

Pro Tip: While the permanent collection may not always be on display due to renovations or curation, the museum’s temporary exhibitions are often worth the visit. To make the most of your trip, check the museum’s current exhibitions online before going to ensure they align with your interests. 

Address: 317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4, Canada

Contact Details: +14169796648

Website: https://ago.ca/

Opening Hours: Monday, closed; Tuesday 10:30 AM to 5 PM; Wednesday 10:30 AM to 5 PM; Thursday 10:30 AM to 5 PM; Friday 10:30 AM to 9 PM; Saturday and Sunday 10:30 AM to 5:30 AM

Entry fees: $20 CAD

Nestled in Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is a haven for art lovers, boasting a staggering collection of over 80,000 pieces that span the vast expanse of history from the 1st century to today’s contemporary works. 

If you’re wandering through Toronto and have a thirst for art, the AGO is like a time machine with a twist. With over 80,000 works, you can zip from ancient artifacts to the latest in digital art. 

They’ve got a soft spot for local talent, with a whole lot of love for Toronto and Ontario artists. But it’s not just about homegrown art; they’ve got pieces from the Renaissance to a snapshot collection that’s a real eye-opener. 

Plus, their African and Oceanic collections are the talk of the Canadian art scene, making it a must-see for anyone wanting to dive deep into the art world’s global conversation. 

Pro Tip: Consider taking advantage of the AGO’s Free Wednesday Nights, offering free admission to their collection galleries every Wednesday from 6-9 PM. It’s a perfect opportunity for those who prefer to browse the art in a more relaxed atmosphere without the weekend crowds. 

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Address: 1380 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1J5, Canada

Contact Details: +15142852000

Website: https://www.mbam.qc.ca/

Opening Hours: Monday, closed; Tuesday to Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM

Entry fee: $18 CAD

Seated just in the heart of Montreal’s storied Golden Square Mile, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) stands as a cultural beacon, boasting the title of Canada’s largest museum by gallery space. 

Inside, you’ll discover a world-class array of Canadian and international art, including a significant number of pieces from the Renaissance era. 

If you think there aren’t old paintings in here, fret not! There’s a robust collection of paintings and drawings, and a vast array of photographs. 

Plus, the museum is also renowned for its substantial collection of African and Oceanic art, the largest in a Canadian art museum, offering a window into the diverse expressions of these rich cultures.

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for the museum’s ‘First Sundays’ if you’re on a budget—on the first Sunday of each month, admission to the collections and discovery exhibitions is free, which is a fantastic way to experience the museum’s offerings without the expense.

Address: 710 Rosser Ave #2, Brandon, MB R7A 0K9, Canada

Contact Details: +12047271036

Website: http://www.agsm.ca/

Opening Hours: Monday 4 to 9 PM; Tuesday and Wednesday 10 AM to 5 PM; Thursday 10 AM to 9 PM; Friday 10 AM to 5 Pm; Saturday 1 to 5 PM; Sunday, closed 

Entry fee: Free

The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, a gem born from Brandon’s passion for the visual arts in 1907, continues to be a hub of artistic vibrancy. 

It dedicates itself to fostering the visual arts in the region through community engagement, education, and a dynamic exhibition program. 

One of the highlights you can look forward to is Kelly Jazvak’s “Sharp and Numb” collection, set for June 2017, which promises to be a thought-provoking display of her decade-long work with plastic refuse.

Pro Tip: To enhance your experience at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba, schedule your visit during one of their opening receptions or artist talks. These events are often free and provide a unique opportunity to engage with the art community, hear directly from the artists, and gain deeper insights into the exhibitions. 

The Power Plant

Address: 231 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8, Canada

Contact Details: +14169734949

Website: http://www.thepowerplant.org/

Opening Hours: Monday and Tuesday, closed; Wednesday to Sunday 11 AM to 6 PM

Entry fees: Free

The Power Plant in Toronto is where contemporary art gets real and gets noticed. It’s all about what’s new and next in the art world, thanks to their bold Commissioning Program. 

Artists Sammy Baloji and Filip De Boeck are bringing the streets of Congo to life with snaps and clips that’ll make you feel like you’re right there. It’s not just an exhibit; it’s a journey.

Pro Tip: When you visit The Power Plant, timing is everything. To get a more personal experience, aim for weekdays or during the gallery’s opening hours when it’s less crowded. Also, keep an eye out for special events like artist talks or exhibition openings, which can offer a deeper dive into the artworks and sometimes even a chance to meet the creators. 

Art Metropole

Address: 896 College St, Toronto, ON M6H 1A4, Canada

Contact Details: +14167034400

Website: https://www.artmetropole.com/

Opening Hours: Monday and Tuesday, closed; Wednesday to Sunday 11 AM to 6 PM

Entry fees: No charge 

Art Metropole on College Street is Toronto’s cool, offbeat art spot that’s been doing its own thing since ’74. Think of it as the chill, artsy cousin to those more formal galleries. 

It’s all about the fresh and funky side of art, with a lineup of events that are as much about hanging out as they are about high culture. You’ll bump into all sorts of art folks here, especially during their not-to-be-missed book launches and artist chats.

Now, this isn’t your average browse-and-go place. Art Metropole is where you can dive into the scene, supported by the big guns like the Canada Council for the Arts and the Toronto Arts Council. 

Pro Tip: Swing by Art Metropole when they’ve got an event on the go. It’s the perfect chance to see the space buzz with life and maybe even chat with some artists. Plus, their online shop is always open if you want to snag some art swag from the comfort of your couch. 
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