It’s an unfortunate but accurate truth: Museums are often the domain of tourists, with local residents letting them fall to the end of their to-do list. When you consider the incredibly fascinating content on a wide variety of subjects on display at Toronto area museums, there's a very compelling argument for Toronto residents to make time and consume these experiences on a regular basis.
One of particular interest that falls into that category is the Gardiner Museum, tucked away on Queen's Park, just south of Bloor!
*Photo courtesy of Urbacon.net
The Gardiner Museum
If you are looking for a thought-provoking afternoon, plan to visit the Gardiner Museum, just around the corner from the Royal Ontario Museum. It originally opened in 1984 by George and Helen Gardiner as a means of displaying their impressive collection of ancient American artifacts and European pottery and porcelain. Today the Gardiner Museum is home to a number of permanent collections and is an excellent collaborative space for artists.
This museum had been managed by the ROM, but after receiving an endowment from George Gardiner in the mid-1990s, it regained independence. What this means is a little more control over exhibits and museum offerings, making it a little more unique.
*Photo courtesy of the Canadian Encyclopedia
As a bonus, guided tours that run regularly are included with your admission!
*Image courtesy of TorontoFunPlaces
Current exhibits include the Diana Reitberger Collection which features stunning works in vessels, figurative sculpture, and abstract forms. Also of interest is “Best in Show”, which explores the relationship between owners and their dogs.
Both thought-provoking and visually fascinating, the newest exhibit is entitled, Ai Weiwei: Unbroken. Ai Weiwei is an accomplished artist, human rights activists, and a very vocal critic of China. Given the current tensions between China and Canada on the world stage, this exhibition is timely and impacting in its commentary. Ai Waiwei meshes traditional Chinese cultural identity with political imagery, using varied media.
*Photo courtesy of Azure Magazine
Says Sequoia Miller, Chief Curator at the Gardiner Museum, “Through his art and activism, Ai Weiwei calls attention to some of the most urgent and universal human rights issues, including freedoms of speech and migration. This exhibition explores how he has broken physical and symbolic boundaries throughout his career, and highlights how his message remains as crucial as ever, if not more so.” Ai Weiwei: Unbroken runs until June - don't miss it!
There is interactive opportunity at the Gardiner Museum in addition to the exhibits Looking for a family outing that will get your creative juices flowing and count as quality time together? Every Sunday, the Gardiner Museum hosts family-oriented clay making or tile painting workshops. Do you enjoy pottery? Are you looking for instruction on the art or on how to make certain objects or stoneware? There is a comprehensive series of adult courses available for registration. There are also number of ceramic-focuses classes (some drop-in) for adults and children alike. The Gardiner Museum offers a summer camp for art inclined kids.
*Photo courtesy of LivingTorontoJournal
The Gardiner Museum isn’t just about the exhibits and the programming; there is also an excellent restaurant on premises, aptly named Clay, tying into the ceramic theme of the art collections. Clay offers "seasonal menus of fresh, local fare, and inspired design that’s deeply connected to the Museum’s ceramic focus!" - Gardiner
*Photo courtesy of Food Dudes
111 Queen's Park
Toronto M5S 2C7
Open Monday-Thursday 10am-6pm,
Saturday- Sunday and Holiday Mondays, 10am-5pm.
Whether you have an hour or an afternoon, spending time exploring your neighbourhood cultural institutions is a great way to engage your community and soak up some culture - without leaving your proverbial backyard! For the owners of a rare-to-market list we promotoed, a Signature Commercial/Residential Victorian On Avenue Road In Yorkville Village, the Gardiner Museum is just a hop, skip and a jump away! Dreamy!!
Ready to engage more of Toronto's culture institutions? Try:
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