Laurentian path by Marianne Sung

5 Must-See Art Galleries in Canada

Dorran Abbott October 18 2023


Canada is home to thousands of art galleries and museums, celebrating the work of both international and Canadian artists. We have narrowed down a list of five must-see art galleries that help represent the vast art world of Canada.

Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

Art Gallery of Alberta

The Art Gallery of Alberta is located in downtown Edmonton. The building is an architectural work of art itself. It was designed to highlight the museum’s affinity for showcasing contemporary art. The museum is home to over 6,000 artworks, with a focus on art created in Alberta and Western Canada. The museum’s collection includes many celebrated Canadian artists, such as Tom Thomson, Jack Bush and Illingworth Kerr. In 2017, the museum acquired a ton of artwork by contemporary First Nations, Inuit and Metis artists. The museum also hosts travelling exhibitions throughout the year, along with education programs that are open to the public.

Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver Art Gallery

The Vancouver Art Gallery is the largest gallery in Western Canada and features a permanent collection of 11,000 works. It was declared a National Historic Site in 1980, making it an important part of Canadian history. The gallery boasts art from Canadian artists such as Emily Carr, whose paintings predominantly feature Indigenous subjects. The museum is organized into different sections; a section on contemporary art from Asia, another section on Indigenous Canadian artists, and a section on art from British Columbia. Beyond the artwork, the museum includes a library and forums for public programs and lectures.

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, located in Halifax, is the largest art museum in Atlantic Canada. The permanent collection includes around 18,000 pieces of art. The collection features art from Canadian and international artists, with an emphasis on Nova Scotian artwork. The museum has the largest collection of folk art paintings from Maud Lewis, a native of Nova Scotia. Besides the permanent collection, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia frequently hosts travelling exhibitions throughout the year.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

This museum is infamously known for the art heist of 1972, however, it remains one of the most acclaimed art galleries in Canada. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has the largest art gallery space in Canada, spread across five pavilions. It was named the most-visited art gallery in Canada in 2020. With a permanent collection of more than 44,000 works, there is sure to be something for everyone. The collection includes work from Canadian artists, along with work from artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Delacroix, and many others! Inside the walls of this prestigious gallery are the oldest art library in Canada and a reading room.

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada is Canada’s national art museum and has one of the largest gallery spaces in North America. The gallery has a permanent collection of roughly 93,000 various artworks, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, and other artworks. The museum’s collection features art from European, Asian, American, Indigenous, and Canadian artists. The Canadian art in the museum ranges from 18th-century New France to the 1990s, showcasing an expansive portrait of art in Canada. The gallery is also home to some exquisite sculptures that stand on the grounds of the museum, including Louise Bourgeois’ spider sculpture, Maman.

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