Art galleries in Toronto fill our various neighbourhoods with culture and creativity. These spots usually let you browse for free, because let's be honest: at commercial galleries, most of the artwork is simply too pricey. Though that should never stop you from peeking inside to see what's going on in our local visual arts scene beyond the AGO.
Here are my picks for the top art galleries in Toronto by neighbourhood.
The Art Museum at the University of Toronto is made up of both the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery in Hart House and the University of Toronto Art Centre and regularly features work that focuses on the city.
Bau-Xi Gallery is located right across the street from the AGO. This local gallery got its start in Vancouver back in the 1970s and has since expanded to Toronto and Vancouver. It features contemporary art across a variety of different media. If you're more into photography, check out the nearby Bau-Xi Photo.
Cooper Cole was part of the mass exodus to Dupont Street. And after leaving its former Dundas and Ossington storefront, it set up shop in warehouse-like space and now has much more room to showcase various contemporary artists.
Amidst the warehouses in Bloordale, you can find the Daniel Faria Gallery, which highlights contemporary art through a rotating roster of exhibitions by a number of well-known artists, like Douglas Coupland, Elizabeth Zvonar and Iris Häussler.
You've probably walked by 8-11 a bunch of times without noticing it, but you should definitely stop into this tiny storefront gallery and artist collective that features a slew of exhibitions and short-term shows by those from from Toronto and abroad.
Corkin Gallery makes its home in a converted tank house. This 10,000 square foot behemoth has five different exhibition spaces, giving it ample room to showcase notable artists from Canada and around the world.
Sandra Ainsley Gallery has moved around a bunch since it opened in 1984, but it's now located in East York. It bills itself as a contemporary glass art gallery and features work by notable artists who work in this medium, including Dale Chihuly.
Not only is the Power Plant free to attend, but it's also located right by the water making it a perfect stop as you meander around the Harbourfront. This converted, early 20th century power plant features four galleries that show contemporary artwork, so there's always lots to see here.
When the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto_Canada (MOCA, formerly MOCCA) opens up on Sterling Road, the Junction Triangle will become a visual arts destination. For now, visit Katzman Contemporary, located north of Sterling on Miller Street, to peruse contemporary work by both established and emerging artists. Angell Gallery would be another place to check out.
The Whippersnapper, at Dundas and Augusta, might be tiny, but this artist-run centre gives lots of opportunities to up-and-comers. While you're out and about in Kensington, be sure to check out Whippersnapper's storefront window to see its latest exhibition.
If you want to ogle at famous pieces of pop art, head to King East and visit STRUCK Contemporary. This gallery is right next door Andrew Richard Designs, which is fitting because the designer and furniture store owner runs the place.
Nicholas Metivier Gallery is located right by the corner of King and Spadina and is kind of tucked away between the bars, restaurants and swanky gyms on King West. The contemporary gallery deals in a variety of media and shows a range of artists from both Toronto, the United States and Europe.
While it's not located right on the Ossington strip (few galleries are anymore), head to nearby Shaw Street to visit the Koffler Gallery inside Artscape Youngplace. While this former school is filled with art, Koffler presents contemporary exhibitions from a slew of Canadian and international artists.
General Hardware's been in Parkdale since 2010 and this gallery shows contemporary work from newcomers as well as mid-career and established artists. And yes, as the facade suggests, this space used to be a hardware store.
There aren't too many galleries left on Queen Street West, but 401 Richmond is filled with them as well as open studio spaces. It's free to walk around this converted factory and when you visit, head to spots like The Red Head Gallery, A Space, Abbozzo Gallery and Open Studio.
WEST QUEEN WEST
For photography fans in Toronto, the Stephen Bulger Gallery is your best bet. This local institution has been open for more than 20 years and has an extensive inventory of historical Canadian photos.
YONGE & DUNDAS
Ryerson Image Centre's multi-hued exterior is hard to miss. But step inside to see photography exhibitions right in the heart of Ryerson University's downtown campus. Best of all, it's free to visit.
The Mira Godard Gallery has been around since the early 1960s, back when Yorkville was still a bohemian enclave. The gallery still shows contemporary work in it four exhibition spaces. If you prefer work from the 18th and 19th centuries, check out the nearby Odon Wagner Gallery.
What did I miss? Add more galleries to the comments.
Photo by Andrew Williamson, Mariam Matti and Derek Flack.
by Amy Grief via blogTO