The AGO is hard to miss: the monumental glass and titanium facade designed by Toronto native son Frank Gehry hovering over the main building is a stunning beauty. Near the entrance, you'll find visitors of all ages climbing in and around Henry Moore's large Two Forms sculpture, on the corner of Dundas and McCaul streets. Inside, the collection, which had an extremely modest beginning in 1900, is now in the big leagues, especially in terms of its exhibitions of landscape paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Be sure to take a pause in the light and airy Walker Court, to admire Gehry's spiraling Baroque Stair; climb the staircase and look straight up for the best view.
The Canadian Wing includes major works by such northern lights as Emily Carr, Cornelius Krieghoff, David Milne, and Homer Watson, plus the Thomson Collection with pieces by Paul Kane, Tom Thomson, and Lawren Harris. The AGO also has a growing collection of works by such world-famous artists as Rembrandt,
Hals, Van Dyck, Hogarth, Reynolds, Chardin, Renoir, de Kooning, Rothko, Oldenburg, Picasso, Rodin, Degas, Matisse, and many others. A rediscovered early-17th-century piece by Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, Massacre of the Innocents, was unveiled in 2008. The brand-new Weston Family Learning Centre offers art courses, camps, lectures, and interactive exhibitions for adults and children alike. If you have time, take a peek at the open excavation of buried artifacts sealed in the foundations of the Grange, the original site of the Art Gallery of Toronto, which was built in 1817. Themed tours take in unusual sites, such as the Grange kitchen, or specific genres, like Canadian art; check the Web site for dates and times. Free AGO Highlights tours run daily at 1 pm; the meeting point is the Walker Court.