When it comes to art, Toronto has it all. The city is home to a huge variety of galleries and museums that boast unique collections of photography, paintings, sculptures and more.
That said, it’s no secret that hitting up Toronto’s major galleries on the regular is an expensive habit. Lucky for us, a ton of smaller galleries in Toronto offer free admission, meaning you can spend a day exploring the city's art without hurting your bank account. Whether you’re looking to learn more about Toronto's art scene or just want to impress your Insta followers with a snap that proves how cultured you are, check out our list of the city’s best galleries that are 100% free.
1. The Power Plant // 231 Queen's Quay W
The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery is housed in a former powerhouse that was originally constructed in 1926. These days, the revamped space is a gallery dedicated to encouraging dialogue around and improving access to both Canadian and international contemporary art. There are three exhibitions currently running at the Power Plant: Yto Barrada's "Faux Guide," which explores the Moroccan fossil and mineral trade, Marie Loboda's "Some weep, some blow flutes," which explores ancient belief systems, and Latifa Echakch's "Cross Fade," an on-site installation.
Instagram Opportunity: The pink walls and black vases of "Faux Guide."
2. Struck Contemporary Art Gallery // 571 Adelaide Street E
The Struck Contemporary Art Gallery boasts a seriously impressive collection of pop art, including works by Andy Warhol himself. The sleek, all white décor and abundance of famous works makes Struck Contemporary a hotspot among art enthusiasts and bloggers alike.
Instagram Opportunity: Literally everything in this gallery is insta worthy.
3. Gallery Arcturus // 80 Gerrard Street E
Located in a house that doubles as a gallery, Gallery Arcturus is a not-for-profit art exhibition and education centre. Run by the Foundation for the Study of Objective Art, Gallery Arcturus is home to a 200-work collection of North American contemporary art. Up next for the gallery is an open house reception on December 17th from 12-5.
Instagram Opportunity: The northern inspired sculptures by Floyd Kuptana.
4. Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada // 80 Ward Street
Big things are coming for this well known gallery, including a move from Queen West and a new focus on international art. In 2017, the reimagined gallery will open its doors in the Junction, featuring a café, bookstore and auditorium. Until then, you can catch the gallery in action through their various pop-up installations and exhibitions across the city.
Instagram Opportunity: Stay tuned to their website's events section to find out about the gallery's upcoming activities.
5. University of Toronto Art Centre // 7 Hart House Circle & 15 King's College Circle
The University of Toronto Art Centre is home to the university's impressive art collection. Spread out over two locations, the centre runs exhibitions that are meant to compliment the university's academic mission. The gallery is currently displaying "All This Time," an exhibit curated by Jaclyn Quaresma which focuses on the idea of time.
Instagram Opportunity: A marble and feather sculpture by Faith La Rocque.
6. Bau-Xi Gallery // 340 Dundas Street W
The Bau-Xi Gallery is one of the biggest forces in Canadian contemporary art, with three locations across North America. The Toronto location includes both the Bau-Xi Gallery, which houses selected contemporary artworks, and the Bau-Xi Photo, which is dedicated exclusively to photography.
Instagram Opportunity: Any of Darlene Cole's oil paintings from The "Initimates" exhibition.
7. The Market Gallery // 95 Front Street E
Located in Saint Lawrence Market, this gallery displays the remains of Toronto's original City Hall. The Market Gallery is home to a number of artworks, artifacts and sculptures, all of which relate to the city's history and culture. On now is the exhibition "Unearthing Toronto's Oldest Marketplace: The Archaeology of the North St. Lawrence Market", which showcases the history and archaeology of the market.
Instagram Opportunity: The life-size TTC car makes for a pretty cool photo.
8. Corkin Gallery // 7 Tank House Lane
The Corkin Gallery's unique ten-thousand-foot industrial space is home to a unique collection of artworks. From photography to abstract painting, this beloved Distillery District destination has something for everyone. The gallery is currently exhibiting "Seerosen," which features photography by Frank Mädler and "Bound," a series of mixed media works by Sondra Meszaros.
Instagram Opportunity: White brick walls and original paintings? What more could your feed need?
9. Mercer Union // 1286 Bloor Street W
Mercer Union is located in Bloordale and is run entirely by artists. On top of free admission, the gallery offers free tours of the gallery every Saturday at 2pm and runs an ongoing "critical conversation" series. Their most recent exhibition is "Astral Bodies," a group exhibition that deals with space and the universe.
Instagram Opportunity: The billboard on the side of the gallery, recently designed by Deborah Edmeades.
10. Ryerson Image Centre // 33 Gould Street
This impressive gallery is run by Ryerson University and focuses primarily on photography. The Image Centre hosts regular exhibitions and workshops and is also home to a permanent collection that spans the history of the medium. Next up for the gallery is their winter programming, which will see the launch of four new exhibitions.
Instagram Opportunity: On top of all of the artworks, the Ryerson Image Centre building is definitely photo worthy on its own.
11. Odon Wagner Gallery // 198 Davenport Road
This prestigious gallery is actually made up of two galleries. The first is the Odon Wagner Gallery, which displays works from the 19th and 20th centuries, and the Odon Wagner Gallery Contemporary, which exhibits contemporary artworks by Canadian and International artists.
Instagram Opportunity: Impress your followers with a snap of the gallery's original Picasso graphics.
BONUS: These major galleries and museums offer free admission during certain times throughout the week
Art Gallery of Ontario // 317 Dundas Street W
General admission is free on Wednesdays from 6pm to 8:30pm.
The Royal Ontario Museum // 100 Queen's Park
General admission is free all day on Tuesdays to full time students.
Aga Khan Museum // 77 Wynford Drive
Both general admission and admission to all exhibitions are free on Wednesdays from 4pm to 8pm.
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