Located in the village of Kleinburg, Ontario, northwest of Toronto the McMichael Canadian Art Collection houses a collection of paintings by the Group of Seven including a large collection of paintings by Tom Thomson. As well the gallery is home to numerous examples of Canadian Aboriginal and Inuit art.
The art gallery is the result of the ambitions of two people; Signe and Robert McMichael. For many years the couple operated a photography studio in Toronto. In the early 1950's the young couple purchased ten acres in Kleinburg, Ontario. Here they built a small log and fieldstone cabin using local materials, often recycled. It was their vision to create an art centre where they could display their collection of truly Canadian art. In 1955 they purchased their first painting, a small panel by Lawren Harris entitled Montreal River, for $250.
Many more shared their vision and by the 1960's the collection had grown to the point where people were coming from far and wide to view the art collection, which the McMichaels made available to the public on weekends. In 1964, the McMichaels approached the Government of Ontario with a plan to donate their extensive Canadian Art Collection and property to the Province of Ontario, so their legacy could be enjoyed by all Canadians for many generations to come. On July 8, 1966, the McMichael Conservation Collection of Art was officially opened.
Sitting on 100 acres of conservation land in the Humber River Valley the gallery has expanded to over 80,000 sq. ft. and is the only public art gallery in Canada solely devoted to Canadian art.
The grounds as well as the gallery are worth exploring and contain the graves of Group of Seven Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varleyand A. J. Casson.
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