Stunning Art Galleries in Toronto's Hip West Queen West

girl the gallery in front of the artwork
girl the gallery in front of the artwork | © Igor Madjinca / Stocksy
Jessica Dawdy

Officially designated the ‘West Queen West Art and Design District’, West Queen West was one of Vogue’s ’15 Coolest Neighborhoods in the World’. In addition to quirky cafés and trendy shops, the area is also home to the largest concentration of art galleries in the city. Here are ten worth checking out.

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Birch Contemporary

Birch Contemporary is a cutting-edge gallery that exhibits the work of emerging and mid-career artists from Canada and the United States. Formerly known as Birch Libralato, the gallery is set in an inconspicuous warehouse-like setting. A subtle arrow work by Toronto-based multimedia artist Micah Lexier provides the only clue to the gallery’s location for passers-by. Inside, the gallery showcases artwork across two large exhibition spaces. The curators here generally favour more conceptual work, and feature pieces by a number of notable contemporary artists, including abstract painter Jaan Poldaas and Dutch photographer Toni Hafkenscheid.

Alison Milne Design + Gallery, Toronto

The Alison Milne Gallery began as the studio of interior designer Alison Milne and has since emerged as a showroom of innovative contemporary art. Exhibitions are featured in a relaxed environment where guests can sit on the furniture and take their time admiring the artwork. The gallery collaborates with emerging and mid-career artists, showcasing local artists and introducing names from abroad to Toronto’s art market. Eight exhibitions are presented annually, featuring everything from painting and photography to sculpture and installation.

Propeller

Propeller is an artist-run gallery founded in 1996 by a group of graduates from OCAD University. Although the gallery collaborates with artists at various points in their careers, a large number of its members are students or recent graduates. With a focus on networking and education opportunities, the gallery gives art students a chance to showcase their work outside their school galleries and enhance their professional development. The gallery also hosts regular solo and group exhibitions, in addition to curated and juried shows. The mediums range from printmaking to ceramics and artists are always present to talk about their work.

Twist Gallery

Art gallery

Twist Gallery aims to be a more approachable exhibition space, welcoming both experienced collectors and new enthusiasts. A former graphic designer, director Nadia Kakridonis draws on her experiences as a young artist to foster other emerging talents. The gallery is open to exhibitions in any medium, showcasing work by both up-and-coming and established artists. The loft-style space is undeniably beautiful, with high ceilings, French arch windows, and exposed brick. In addition to hosting a new art exhibition each month, the gallery also serves as a venue for weddings, receptions, and other events during evenings and weekends.

Stephen Bulger Gallery

Stephen Bulger Gallery is committed to exhibiting the work of historical and contemporary photographers. The gallery works with international and Canadian artists, mainly hosting exhibitions by mid-career and established artists. Presenting solo and group exhibitions, the gallery tends to favour documentary photographers that tell a story through their work. In addition to frequently-rotating exhibitions, the gallery hosts free film screenings on Saturdays, houses thousands of photography-related books, and assists collectors in locating specific prints. The gallery regularly introduces Canadian artists to wider audiences at international art fairs, and plays an active role in Toronto’s own CONTACT, the largest photography event in the world.

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