Kelly Ella Maz Visiting The Ago Staircase

Visiting The AGO [Art Gallery of Ontario]

If you’re planning a weekend getaway or day trip to Toronto, you can’t visit without visiting the AGO! The Art Gallery of Ontario is home to the largest collection of Canadian art, and it’s housed in a building that’s just as uniquely beautiful as the art on the walls. In 2004 the AGO underwent a massive renovation, where Frank Gehry added his magical touch to the transformation and the result is a stunning metropolitan museum that attracts locals and visitors alike.

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If you’re anything like me, you enjoy visiting museums but find them slightly overwhelming. With so much art to see, it’s hard to know where to start and where to spend the most of your time. Starting on Level 1, after entering the museum, I would recommend starting with the European section to take a peek at the Tanenbaum Centre for European Art and the intricate paintings that date back from the Italian Renaissance. From here, you can move to the Canadian art. The David Milne Collection is quite impressive, and it starts on Level 1 and continues up the stairs to Level 2. Once on the second floor you can continue your visit of the Canadian art section checking out the Thomson Collection of Canadian Art. To finish your “highlights” tour, continue on second floor to the African art section. This mini route let’s you see all of the highlights in a reasonable amount of time, leaving you plenty of time to explore other sections that jump out at you the most!

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From now until January 29th the “Mystical Landscapes” exhibit is taking place at the AGO, which features masterpieces from famous artists like Van Gogh, Monet and Janssen. For this temporary exhibit, the AGO curated art from museums all over the world and had them specially flown in. Some pieces came from the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and Musee d’Orsay in Paris. In this part of the museum I was unable to take pictures, but I will say that it was an amazing collection filled with bold colours, incredible nighttime paintings and a good balance between nature and city skylines.

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No visit to the AGO is complete without a coffee break at Galleria Italia. Not only do they serve a fantastic espresso and mouthwatering selection of gelato, but the unique curved architecture is one of the most famous parts of the entire museum (designed by famed architect Frank Gehry). Don’t get me wrong – the museum’s art collection is outstanding, but when I think of the AGO my first thought is always this stunning, light-filled hallway that you often see in pictures.

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Before leaving the AGO be sure to stop at their gift shop, shopAGO. They have the usual posters and coffee table books for sale, but if you head to the section of the store closest to the street you’ll find an amazing selection of housewares and unique gifts. This may not be the first place you think of for shopping, but they likely have the perfect gift for those hard-to-shop-for people in your life. And with Christmas just around the corner, we could all use a little help with shopping.

To buy tickets to the AGO, please visit their website.

The team at Kelly Ella Maz were welcomed to the AGO as guests, however our opinions remain our own.