Endless Energy, Colour and Arts: Toronto
We are in Toronto – Canada’s beloved city and one of the stars of North America. Toronto, with its location on the Lake Ontario, skyscapers, constant dynamism, Victorian buildings dating back to the 19th century, people from all over the world, undoubtedly dazzles people. When you walk around Downtown Toronto, the center of finance, fashion, shopping and entertainment, wander around the streets of China Town, Little Italy and Little Spain, and see the iconic CN Tower, Gooderham Building and the Yonge-Dundas Square, you easily understand why Toronto is a capital of arts and culture. With its prestigious museums, art galleries, art-loving cafes, restaurants and hotels, annual art fairs and events, this is the right place to find a unique citylife and artistic experience.
AGO: Toronto’s Number 1 Art Institution
With an impressive collection of more than 95,000 works, AGO (founded in 1900) is the place where the heart of art beats in Toronto. It features a vast selection of art from all over the world as well as a rich program of exhibitions and events in an impressive building designed by the world-renowned architect Frank Gehry.
The museum is home to a rich collection of Canadian contemporary art, some of the finest examples of the Inuit art, European masterpieces by artists like Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Thomas Gainsborough and West African Art. AGO is also new known with its prestigious collection of more than 40,000 photographs by 19th-century American, Canadian and European photographers, and 20th-century modernists. These works shed light on the development of photography from the 19th century to the present day.
The museum building is as impressive as its collection. The front side of the building looks like a sailing ship while the titanium and glass covered south side strikes the onlooker with its vibrant blue color. The four-storey building has an iconic spiral staircase which stands at the heart of the museum, and opens up to a magnificent view of Downtown Toronto, which gives the visitors an opportunity to enjoy the wonderful view of the Grange Park.
The World History is Under This Crystal
Since its foundation in 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has been the place to discover arts and culture from around the globe. Canada’s largest museum also houses the country’s biggest collection. The museum gained a worldwide recognition with the prysmatic addition to its historic Victorian building. Named “The Crystal”, the magnificent structure was created during the museum’s building restoration project; it brings the old and the new together in a perfect harmony.
ROM’s Crystal houses almost six million objects, ranging from fossils and skeletons to gems, jewelry, furniture and other artifacts, which celebrate the diversity of humanity. It is possible to say that every door of this 4-storey building is opening to a different world; Hellenistic Period and Ancient Roman times, mummies and pyramids from Ancient Egypt and daily objects and artefacts from African civilizations are a few examples of the rich collection of displays. The third floor houses a special European Collection which consists of furniture and decorative arts, and traces the development of the concept taste and beauty all way from the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Victorian times to the present day.
A Different Color in Every Corner: Graffiti Alley
Graffiti Alley is definitely one of the most favorite spots of Toronto’s instagram-lovers. People come here to take pictures in this vibrant atmosphere 24-7. Located on the intersection of the Fashion District and Chinatown, this one-kilometer long Graffiti Alley (also called Rush Lane) features the best, most vibrant and dynamic examples of street art and murals, which change on a regular basis. Created in 2011 in the aftermath of the legalization of graffiti, Graffiti Alley is also a highly popular area for mini street festivals and music videos.
Distillery: Street Festivals, Antique Shops, Installations and More
The Distillery is a pedestrian-only district devoted to culture, arts and entertainment. Built in 1832, it is also home to the oldest buildings of North America. It consists of a set of industrial factory buildings which nowadays house antique shops, art galleries, chocolatiers and restaurants. Distillery offers the visitors a vibrant and unique city life during the whole year – here you can find an endless city ife, which consists of temporary art shows and installations, winter Christmas Market and summer music festivals.
Islamic Art is in the Aga Khan Museum
The Aga Khan Museum opened its doors to the Toronto public in 2014. This exciting museum represents the artistic, intellectual, and scientific heritage of Muslim civilizations across the centuries from the Iberian Peninsula to China, from the 8th to 19th centuries. The museum collection sheds light on the artistic, intellectual, and scientific heritage of Muslim civilizations with calligraphy, ceramics, scientific equipments, manuscripts and jewellery originating from the private collection of Aga Khan and London Ismaili Institute. In addition, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions that represent the emerging themes and new artistic developments of the region. With its green landscape, sleek, 1.000 square-metre, minimalist museum building, pool and rich collection, Aga Khan Museum continues to be one of the most prestigious institutions of North America.
Toronto’s Art-loving Hotel
What is artlovers’ favorite, the most art-loving hotel of Toronto? The Glenstone. Behind these historic walls, the Glenstone is an art-centric destination like no other. This beautifully designed hotel was built in 1889 by G.M. Miller. In addition to its central location and historical outlook that never gets old or aged, Glenstone is the perfect place for artlovers. The hotel organizes temporary exhibitions throughout the whole year – it has three galleries and art spaces that are specifically devoted to contemporary art.
The hotel has more to offer. It has a total of 37 concept rooms, each of which were designed by a different artist. Created in a unique artistic style and fashion, each room opens up to an alternative imaginary world: Teen Queen, Surreal Gourmet, Puzzle Room ve Snapshot are a few examples which combines artists’ rich artistic imagination with a pleasant stay.
A Cafe and Art Gallery
Art Square Café and art gallery is located at the opposite of Art Gallery of Ontario.
It is almost impossible to pass by this cute, green-framed café without notice (and hence without a visit). The café is very popular amongst Toronto’s tourists and artlovers. In addition to its delicious food, it exhibits paintings, sculptures, drawings and crafts by independent artists and houses special events and workshops devoted to arts. You may be able to see some familiar tastes in the menu: turkish coffee, turkish tea, pastry, menemen are quite popular among the café’s regulars.
Toronto and Art: ART TORONTO
Canada’s most prestigious art event, Art Toronto, ranks top in the city’s art calendar. Since 2000, the fair has not only been bringing the continent’s most important artists, galleries and institutions together but also turning the world’s eyes to Toronto. The last edition of Art Toronto was organized between 26-29 October 2018, featured a total of 102 galleries from 7 countries and 28 cities including Canada, America, Germany, England and Belgium. Every year Art Toronto hosts emerging artists, new galleries, a rich seminar program and FOCUS section which focuses on a particular part of the world.
Iconic, Historic and Extraordinary
What is Toronto’s most iconic building? Of course, Gooderham. Also often called the Flatiron Building, this red-brick structure stands at the East side of 49 Wellington Street at the intersection of Front and Wellington Streets. Erected by architect David Roberts, Jr. in 1892, the building which housed the offices of George Gooderham, the president of the Bank of Toronto in the past is still used as an office building. This building’s significance mostly lies in its unusual shape and colour, very different from anything else you would see in the area.
Another key feature of the Gooderham is its rear wall. When you turn around, you see an entirely different picture – a mural on Gooderham’s rear wall, which was painted by Canadian artist Derek Besant in 1980. Also known as the Flatiron Mural, the painting creates a 3-D effect and illusion that the painting’s edges are fluttering away. It creates a sense of movement and motion on the onlooker, which makes it one of the finest examples of the trompe l’oeil effect.
Best Examples of Contemporary Art: MOCA
Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto re-opened its doors to the public in September 2018 in its new home which was formerly used as an aluminium factory. The 5-storey building has a 55.000 square meter space. The museum was founded in 1999 with an aim to support Contemporary Canadian Art and represent independent artists. Since then, it has been offering a dynamic art space which goes beyond the coventional understanding of museums. MOCA does not have a permanent collection rather it hosts Canadian and international artists on the 2nd and 3rd floors, andorganizes artist residency programs and artist studios on the 4th and 5th floors. The prestigious museum featured works by Elmgreen ve Dragset, Jihuyn Jung, Vera Frenjkel, Duane Hopkins so far, and more to come in 2019, Kiya Itako and Andreas Angelidakis’ shows will take place in MOCA this year.