As we’ve said before, we are not normally ones for art galleries, or museums in general for that matter. After an hour or so I’m usually bored, my back hurts and I just want to go do something else. So when I found out that my team was going on an ‘away day’ to the Art Gallery of Ontario (or AGO to us Torontonians) I was probably the least excited.
Fast forward a few days and I was actually convincing Stewart that we go back again and take a closer look! Fortunately, thanks to the Museum + Arts Pass from the library we got in for free.
So what changed? I went on a guided tour!
Our guide was brilliant, taking time to get to know the group and what we were interested in before taking us round the highlights of the gallery. For me this was the perfect way to get a good understanding of what I was looking at as she explained about the artists, the techniques used and the expression behind the work. We got to see the hidden gems that you might otherwise spend hours searching for and left with a feeling of wanting more.
On meeting up with the rest of the team following the tour I soon discovered that each tour is unique. There was much rivalry between the two groups, as we swapped stories and debated whose tour was best. But the others won with the news that their tour guide had taken Will Smith round the galleries just a few days prior!
You’ll notice a definite theme that sparked my interest – anything to do with the environment and nature, and I’m there. Stewart on the other hand would have happily spent hours looking at the Thomson Collection of Ship Models on the lower level. It’s said to be one of the finest private collections of ship models in the world, with hundreds of models spanning 350 years….. yawn.
The AGO building
It’s worth taking a trip to the AGO just to see the building itself, which was completely transformed in 2008 by Toronto born architect Frank Gehry.
Finally, I’d really recommend the AGO shop, especially if you are looking for some unique and quality Canadian themed items for souvenirs or gifts. We’ve picked up a number of great cards and presents here. No gallery ticket required to shop.
It’s fair to say, with its collection of over 90,000 works of art (4,000 of which are on display) that there really is something for everyone at the AGO. Plus if it’s good enough for Will Smith…
Tips for Visiting the AGO
- If you’re a Toronto resident, get yourself some free tickets from the Toronto Library Museum + Art Passes program.
- Visit on a Wednesday evening between 6-9pm for free admission to the Permanent Collection
- The AGO Highlights Tour is free with admission and runs daily every hour on the hour. There are a number of other tours too, depending on your interests.
We visited the AGO in summer 2015, so some exhibits may have changed since then.