Lectures, films, tours and concerts are regularly scheduled. In the Off the Wall! Centre, children and adults enjoy art-related activities or take classes in the Gallery School. The E. P. Taylor Research Library & Archives is an invaluable information centre for researchers, art historians and students. The original gallery home, The GRANGE, is a restored Georgian mansion and a museum of life in Upper Canada in the 1830s. Reaching into communities across Ontario and Canada, the museum offers touring exhibitions and studio programs.
The gallery's collection, facilities and programs have attracted a strong membership of 40 000, the largest per capita in North America. In 2009/10, total attendance at the gallery was a record-breaking 78 500 visitors. The AGO is partially funded by the Ontario Ministry of Culture. Additional operating support is received from the volunteers of the AGO, the City of Toronto, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts. Additional revenues are earned from membership support, program fees, a retail shop, a food and beverage operation and by private gifts and corporate donations and sponsorships. All works of art in the collection have either been donated or have been purchased with income from donations.
In November 2002, the AGO announced the details of a major transformation project that included an unprecedented donation of art and funding by businessman Kenneth THOMSON and a physical redesign and expansion led by architect Frank GEHRY.
Included in Thomson's donation were over 2000 artworks, featuring paintings by Canadian artists Paul KANE, Tom THOMSON, Cornelius KRIEGHOFF and Lawren HARRIS along with a large number of rare European art objects dating from the Middle Ages to the mid-nineteenth century. In addition, Thomson provided $50 million in capital funding for the museum's expansion, plus a further commitment of $20 million in endowment funding.
The Frank Gehry renovation, costing $276 million, opened to the public on 14 Nov 2008. The new building was designed, in part, to showcase the Thomson bequest and more than doubled the exhibition space, providing more room for the museum's collections of Canadian and international art. Gehry, whose accomplishments include such landmark buildings as the Guggenheim Bilbao in Bilbao, Spain, and Los Angeles' Walt Disney Concert Hall, drew on his childhood affection for the original AGO building to create an addition that was sympathetic to the original structure and at the same time incorporated innovative design features. These include a dramatic wooden staircase facing the main entryway and a glass gallery stretching the length of the north side of the building that creates an interesting interaction with the Victorian-era homes that line the street.
See also TORONTO FEATURE: THE GRANGE.
See also TORONTO FEATURE: ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO.
Author WILLIAM WITHROW
Links to Other Sites
Art Gallery of Ontario
The official website of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Click on "Collections" and "Exhibitions" to view online images of galleries and works of art housed at one of Canada's major art museums.
View models that illustrate Frank Gehry's redesign of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Barton Myers Associates, Inc.
The website for the award-winning architectural firm Barton Myers Associates, Inc. Features information about company operations and an extensive multimedia portfolio.
Art Gallery of Ontario
A photo gallery of the Stage III development of the Art Gallery of Ontario designed by Barton Myers Associates.
Kenneth Thomson, 1923-2006
An obituary for Canadian businessman and philanthropist Kenneth Thomson. From Bloomberg.com.
Art Gallery of Ontario
Peruse an extensive online collection of works of art from the Art Gallery of Ontario at this Google website. Best viewed with the Chrome web browser.
A monumental moment
This article focuses on architect Frank Gehry's transformation of the Art Gallery of Ontario. From the Globe & Mail website.
View an image of The Grange, the original home of the Art Museum of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario) that has been designated a national historic site. From the website for the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Toronto architect adds new layer to AGO history
An informative review of the groundbreaking renovations to the Learning Centre at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. From thestar.com.
Arts philanthropist Walter Carsen dies at 100
A CBC News obituary for Toronto arts philanthropist Walter Carsen.