The McMichael Canadian Art Collection

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is home to some of the most cherished works of art in Canada. From traditional landscapes to contemporary, bronze-cast abstract art, this collection of more than 6,500 pieces celebrates the diversity and artistic heritage of the nation and its people. 

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection celebrates the artwork of a wide range of Canadian artists, including work by The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson, as well as Indigenous, Métis, Inuit and contemporary artists who have contributed to the development of Canadian art.

For up-to-date information and details on the McMichael Art Collection, we recommend you visit their website. For information about other places of interest to explore nearby, keep scrolling to see what Destination Ontario recommends. 

Two people sitting on bench in front of sign saying McMichael

More about The McMichael Canadian Art Collection

The gallery first opened in 1966, and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection stands on the original lands of the Ojibwe Anishinaabe Indigenous people. Its current location was a point on the Carrying Place Trail, which served as a crucial link between Lake Simcoe and Lake Ontario's north shoreline. 

Beginning in 1952, Robert and Signe McMichael, the McMichael Collection's founders, built their home on a 1.5 hectare plot of land. Over time, they became enamored with the surrounding landscape and the art it inspired. 

By 1965, the McMichaels' private collection contained 194 pieces of artwork from Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. Realizing they had a duty to preserve this treasure trove of Canadian art, they generously gave their collection to the province of Ontario, along with their home and its surrounding land. 

Now, the gallery is home to over 6,500 priceless works of art from the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson, contemporary artists and Inuit and Indigenous artists. 

The gallery occupies roughly 4 hectares (10 acres) of land amid 40.5 hectares (100 acres) of conservation land in the Humber River valley. 

In addition to those buildings, visitors can walk through the Ivan Eyre Sculpture Garden, trek through nature trails and visit the McMichael cemetery, where the McMichaels and six of the Group of Seven are buried. 

The McMichael Cafe serves locally-sourced, seasonal produce and draws its culinary inspiration from around the world. From classic carrot cake and cookies to chopped salads and chicken clubs, there's a bit of something for everyone. And the gallery even has a private collection of ciders, beer and wine. 

For the young and young-at-heart who want to further expand the horizons of their creativity, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection offers lectures, customized tours, concerts and classes. What's more, contemporary artists regularly discuss their art, and both adults and kids can take classes to hone their artistic ability. Though there are courses offered in-person, the McMichael Collection also offers lectures, tours and classes online. 

Their entire collection of 6,500 pieces of artwork, documents and archived materials can also be accessed online via the McMichael eMuseum. 

After a full day of taking in Canada's finest artwork, there's another nearby place you may want to check out. At a little over 120,000 square metres (1.3 million square feet), Vaughan Mills Mall has almost anything the discerning shopper or diner could want. It contains over 200 restaurants, shops and outlets. What's more, it's only a short, 20 minute drive down Rutherford Road.  

Last updated: August 18, 2023

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