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Art Toronto: Canada's Annual Art Fair

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

Art Toronto is recognized as Canada’s Art Fair and is held annually at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC). Since 2000, Art Toronto has upheld its mission to support art in Canada, connect audiences to local and international galleries, and promote creative practices. The convention features galleries from across Canada, the US and abroad, and is a wonderland not only for art collectors and curators, but simple art enthusiasts as well.

In 2022, Art Toronto’s exhibition space featured galleries from across the globe, like Galerie Pici (with locations in NYC and Seoul), to local spaces like Cooper Cole (located in Toronto’s Dovercourt Village). All galleries can be found in the show guide. Some of my favourite pieces can be found throughout this blog post. (Also I deeply apologize for not having all the artists' details of the pieces. If you recognize any of the artists not referenced, please let me know and I will credit them accordingly!)

Along with their exhibition of galleries, Art Toronto featured a range of site installations – both on the convention floor as well as on the first level of the MTCC open to non-ticket holders - and a program of talks and tours with some of the leading voice in the art world. Subjects range from international perspectives, generational differences, and more.

Of the site installations, I especially liked the work of Sami Tsang, an Ontario-based artist whom I was first introduced to through the Gardiner Museum’s 2022 SMASH party:

Artwork by Sami Tsang

If you’re like me and unable to partake in purchasing artwork (a majority of pieces at the convention range into the thousands of dollars), you may enjoy Art Toronto’s “Content” section, an area designated to connect audiences with museums and non-profit galleries. Here, eventgoers can learn about local arts programming and purchase works, books and catalogues. “Content” exhibitors included the MOCA, Royal Ontario Museum, Gallery 44, and Brampton Arts Organization, amongst others.

Single day tickets to Art Toronto start as low as $15; this gets you in for the last hour of your day of choice. However, with how much art there is available to see, I do NOT recommend purchasing this ticket, and instead encourage spending a bit more to enjoy the fair at your leisure (I personally spent 2.5 hours at the event).

In 2022, ticket prices were $25 for students and $35 for regular timed entrance on your day of choice (however the Friday date is typically designated for those in the art world). Flexible timed entrances, as well as weekend passes, are also available for purchase.

Looking to upgrade your experience? Art Toronto also offers VIP tickets, however, access to these tickets/perks are through invitation only. This practice hits the nail on the head of the art world being exclusionary. Despite this downside (and let’s be honest - I wouldn’t have purchased a VIP ticket anyway), I thoroughly enjoyed my Art Toronto experience and look forward to visiting again.

Other things about the event: 1) Eventgoers are dressed to impress. As this was my first year attending, I unknowingly opted for comfort over style. Is this a dress and high heels outing? Not at all. But if you can avoid sweatpants and Blundstones (my attire), I’d recommend it. 2) You can enjoy a beverage as you peruse the various exhibits. The bar menu is limited to basically only beer and wine, but walking around with a glass in your hand as you look at art feels like a fancy affair. 3) If you make any purchases – be it a work of art or a catalogue at the “Content” section, make sure you hold onto your receipt. Bags are checked before exiting the event to offset the risk of any theft. No Netflix-style art heists here!

See you at next year’s Art Toronto held October 26-29, 2023!


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