ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on April 4, 2012



Founded in 1900, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the best and leading art museums in North America. In 2004 the AGO hired the internatioinally celebrated architect Frank Gehry to renovate the entire AGO which was transformed into an innovative and creative structure. The new renovation has increased its spaces by 47 per cent capacity. The new AGO has made its mark on the world scene since its opening on November 14, 2008.






In 2004, the AGO unveiled a $254 million redevelopment plan called Transformation AGO, by architect Frank Gehry. The new addition would require demolition of the 1992 Barton Myers/KPMB Post-Modernist wing. The AGO's transformation increased the art viewing space by 47%. Notable elements of the new building include a glass and wood sculpture gallery at the north end along Dundas Street; a 4-story, box-like contemporary arts gallery and hosting centre clad in blue titanium facing Grange Park, as well as a new entrance aligned with the historic Walker's Court and The Grange.

FRANK GEHRY, the Architect

Frank Gehry was born to a Jewish family living in the downtown immigrant neighbourhood and his grandfather used to own a hardware store in Toronto. As a child he visited the art gallery which was only minutes away from his family home. Frank Gehry left for California in 1947 ;and returned to Toronto to redesign the AGO

The new Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain by Frank Gehry was probably the most often mentioned new building of 1998 and 1999 in architecture circles.


Frank Owen Gehry (1929) is a Pritzker Prize-winning architect based in Los Angeles.

His buildings, including his private residence, have become tourist attractions.Many museums, companies, and cities seek Gehry's services as a badge of distinction, beyond the product he delivers.

His best-known works include the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, Experience Music Project in Seattle,Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic, and his private residence in Santa Monica, California.


3 Days of Free Admission November 14-16, 2008!

The new AGO also held its special Canadian Citizenship Court on the opening day before the general public was admitted. The Citizehship Court includes a swearing-in ceremony for new citizens.

The opening day was a cold November day and the queue lined up for nearly one and a quarter hours before admission. The queue stretched around the block, but nobody complained. I was surprised to see people selling sandwiches to the crowd as they inched their way around the block to the main entrance. Anticipation was high, and the crowd was not disappointed.

The crowd was very big but very cheerful though the weather was nippy. There was no complain whatsoever and everybody was delirously happy when admitted to the door of the gallery.


"The new AGO will display more than 4,000 artworks, featuring new acquistions and perennial favourites. The growth of the AGO's collection is a focal point of the new buildking. Peter Paul Ruebens's masterpiece The Massacre of the Innocents - a highlight of the internationally acclaimed Thomson Collection - and David Altmejd's monumental installation The Index will be on display, as will favourites by the Group of Seven and a variety of artworks from around the world.

The unprecedented gift of more than 2,000 works from Ken Thomson's collection will enrich the visitor's experience, while introductory hubs for each of the Gallery's core areas will orient visitors to the new collections."



The late Ken Thomson’s gift of his collection brings 2,000 outstanding works of art to the AGO, including 750 works by Canadian artists from the 19th to mid-20th century, such as the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson

Through the generosity of the late Ken Thomson, the art collections have grown tremendously. 2,000 outstanding works of art have been added, works by Cornelius Krieghoff, the Group of Seven, Paul Kane, Tom Thomson, Paul-Emile Borduas and William Kurelek. The collection also features examples of medieval Europen ivories, Chinese snuff bottles and over 130 ship models.

The Group of Seven, Lauren S. Harris,   Lake & Mountains 1928 oil on canvas. 130.8 x 160.7cm   Gift from the Fund of the T. Eaton Co. Ltd. for Canadian Works of Art 1948, 2001 Art Gallery of Ontario
The Group of Seven, Lauren S. Harris, Lake & Mountains 1928 oil on canvas. 130.8 x 160.7cm Gift from the Fund of the T. Eaton Co. Ltd. for Canadian Works of Art 1948, 2001 Art Gallery of Ontario


The AGO's Canadian collection reflects 11,000 years of visual expression and tradition in Canada.  Works by the Inuit and First Nations, as well as historic and contemporay Canadian artists. 

Portrait of a Gentleman, Isaak Abrahamsz Massa by Frans Hals 1626, and given to the AGO in 1955 by Frank P. Woods
Portrait of a Gentleman, Isaak Abrahamsz Massa by Frans Hals 1626, and given to the AGO in 1955 by Frank P. Woods


The European collections include the 17th century Dutch and Fleming painting, 17th century Italian baroque works, 19th century French impressionism, and 20th century surrealism. The AGO also has the world's largest collection of Henry Moore's sculptures in a public institution.

The museum also has an impressive collection of European art, such as major works by Tintoretto, Gian Lorenzo, Bernini, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt van Rijn, Thomas Gainsborough, Anthony van Dyck, Emile Antoine Bourdelle, and Frans Hals. Works by other renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Vincent Van Gogh, and Edgar Degas are among the collection.

African and Oceanic
African and Oceanic
Bembe Artist Democratic Republic of the Congo  Helmet Mask possibly early 1900s wood with polychrome 43.0 cm.  Gift from the Frum collection 1999
Bembe Artist Democratic Republic of the Congo Helmet Mask possibly early 1900s wood with polychrome 43.0 cm. Gift from the Frum collection 1999


The recently donated Frum collection, one of the world's finest collections of sub-Saharan art, is mainly composed of sculptural pieces ranging from the tenth century to the middle of the twentieth century.

The Oceanic collection consists of approximately 2,000 works of Australian Aboriginal art.  Highlights of the collection include battle shields, bark paintings and a major of boomerangs.


The AGO holds more than 45,000 photographic works, ranging from early innovations to contemporary works.  The prints and drawings collection contains over 15,000 works, including treasured prints by international artists James Tissot, Ernst Barlach and Henry More as well as numerous works by Canadian artists David Milne, Betty Goodwin and David Blackwood.  The collection has been enhanced by a significant aquisition of Rembrandt etchings and a large collection of humorous, satirical and illustrative graphic artworks.


The Art Gallery of Ontario has a proud heritage of more than a hundred years, and the recent renovation by Frank Gehry made Toronto a landmark in North America. The renovation has added stature to the AGO. Previously, the AGO was a non-descriptive very dull structure from the outside and dark inside, but the highly acclaimed architect transformed the building into a beautiful, brilliant, creative and innovative structure of the 21st century highly admired by all who had visited the AGO.

The recent gift of the late Ken Thomson's collection added 2,000 outstanding works of art including extraordinary works by Cornelius Krieghoff, Paul Kane, the Group of Seven, and William Kurelek. Thanks to Ken Thomson for his very generous gift which will be enjoyed greatly by the visitors and generations to come.

Art Gallery of Ontario, 2008

Do you find the newly renovated Royal Art Gallery of Ontario worth visiting?

See results

Do you like the renovated new look by world reknown architect Frank Owen Gehry?

See results

© 2009 einron


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA


      Thank you for your comments. You are always welcome to come and see my new posts.

      It is interesting to learn of Karoline-art, the art of the Australian aborigines

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Fantastic hub, looking forward to come back and see your new posts. Thank you.

      My art gallery

    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA


      Thanks for the comments.

      The outside picture of AGO is taken from the internet and I believe you have to ask for permission to use it.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Dear einron!

      I am an editor in Hungary and I am hunting for pictures about AGO. Your picture from outside is amazig! I have to write an article about Toronto, and I am going to recommaend AGO. Could we get this picture from you somehow? If it is, please write me on And Congratulation!

    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA


      Welcome to the AGO in Toronto. I am now proud of the renovation done by Frank Gehry. It is very modern inside. Unfortunately, I did not put a picture of the renovation inside the gallery which is quite captivating. May be I shall put one in later. I do love the architecture.

    • cgull8m profile image


      10 years ago from North Carolina

      I would love to visit, it looks beautiful. I agree with you Musuems and artists will always inspire us.

    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Beats Me

      Thank you. Visitng art galleries is an education, and a feast for the eyes. Some of the paintings appeal to the eyes in colour, texture, composition, imagination, etc.

    • BeatsMe profile image


      10 years ago

      Very nice hub. I especially liked the first picture.

      With so many collections, visitors will never see all of them. But visiting art galleries will always be a nice experience for anyone. :)

    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA


      You would be impressed with the architecture as well. I could put in any more pictures. The renovation was so creative and beautiful with its very high ceilings.

      Thank you.

    • surefire profile image


      10 years ago

      Beautiful hub! Very uplifting and nice expression of man's impressions of the world around him.

    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Thank you for your comments. Hope you will come to Toronto in the near future and be welcome to the AGO.

    • ocbill profile image


      10 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      very nice hub. I like art and going to museums and always wanted to go to Toronto. There are some more listings of museums at exploringabroad that could be interesting as well.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)