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Beat the heat with The Idea of North at the AGO this summer

Plan an artful staycation in Toronto with late nights, special holiday openings, music, cuisine and dance

This summer the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) invites Torontonians to explore Northern climes without the travel, and gain new insight into the history of their own great city. On view until Sept. 18, 2016, The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris features over 70 works by Harris, drawn from major public and private collections across Canada.

Charting Harris’s impact in Toronto, the exhibition opens with a selection of Harris’ early paintings from the 1910s, many of which depict the complex and culturally diverse Ward neighbourhood in Toronto, where he spent his formative years. Visitors will then see the core of the exhibition, a selection over 30 iconic northern landscape paintings that debuted earlier this year at the Hammer Museum and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to rave reviews. The experience concludes with a series of new commissions by local contemporary artists. These works, along with archival photos by Arthur Goss, highlight the impact of Harris’s landscapes on the city, and more broadly, on Canadian identity and our own idea of “north”.

To celebrate this blockbuster summer exhibition, the Gallery is presenting an immersive series of events as well as two special holiday openings on Civic Holiday (Aug. 1, 2016) and Labour Day (Sept. 5, 2016) from 10.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. To book timed-entry tickets and for more information about the exhibition and summer programming at the AGO, visit

The AGO brings The Idea of North to Toronto this summer with these event highlights:

July First Thursdays: Due North
July 7, 2016
7–11:30 p.m.
Tickets on sale now

General Admission
Advance Tickets: Members $11 | Public $13
At the Door: Members $14 | Public $16

General Admission + exhibition entry to The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris
Advance Tickets: Members $11 | Public $23
At the Door: Members $14 | Public $23

To celebrate the launch of Idea of the North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris, July’s First Thursday is a collision of the history and future of Toronto, with exciting new performances by artists Anique Jordan and Brian Solomon. Headlining the event at 10 p.m. is Toronto supergroup Darlene Shrugg featuring members of U.S. Girls, Slim Twig, Ice Cream and Fiver. Don’t miss DJ Miss Margot 2.0 and DJ Shramm spinning throughout the Gallery. No exhibition launch would be complete without hearing from the curator, Andrew Hunter, who will be giving pop-up talks throughout the night on “The Idea of Toronto.” Additional programming highlights at July’s #AGO1st include the pop-up Out of the Vaults exhibition of prints and drawings generously hosted by Volunteers of the AGO, as well as hands on art-making activities and a delicious landscape of tasty treats at our Night Market. Be sure to pick up your First Thursday program on your way, created by Toronto-based cartoonist and designer Jonathan Rotsztain.

AGO First Thursdays go on hiatus for August, but will return on Sept. 1, 2016. Stay tuned for details.

AGO Friday Nights
Weekly, Friday, July 8 to Aug. 25, 2016
7:30-9 p.m.
Free with General Admission

Every Friday at the AGO, visitors can enjoy all the AGO has to offer until 9 p.m, with additional programming themed around our major exhibition to add an extra dimension to the gallery experience. For July and August, organizers of the long-standing Toronto showcase Toronto Does Toronto take over with sounds of the city for the city; featuring a revolving line-up of Toronto’s best singer-songwriters including Sandro Perri, Carmen Elle (Diana), Marker Starling, and Misha Bower (Bruce Peninsula) among others. Each Friday night will feature a line-up of three different performers interpreting the work of some of their Toronto heroes. Follow the AGO on Facebook for more event details and performance schedule.

Summerlicious at FRANK
July 8 to July 24, 2016
Reservations are open now

Toronto’s premiere summer dining event Summerlicious returns to FRANK restaurant on July 8, 2016. Created by FRANK restaurant Executive chef Renee Bellefeuille, this year’s Summerlicious 2016 prix fixe lunch and dinner menus are priced at $23 and $38 respectively, and come with diner’s choice of an appetizer and a dessert. Highlights include local Screech Cured Rainbow Trout and Lake Erie Perch, as well as vegan and vegetarian options including Gochujang Grilled Tofu and Ontario foraged greens. Summerlicious reservations can be made now online or via phone at 416-979-6688. FRANK is open to the public until 10 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday. For more information on hours, menus and location, please visit

Andrew Hunter on Lawren Harris and The Ward
July 15, 6 p.m.
Jackman Hall

Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s Fredrik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art, explores the Toronto of Lawren Harris, a city of great diversity and dense urban growth. Harris painted often in the Ward (St. John’s Ward), a downtown neighbourhood of deep significance to First Nations, the end of the Underground Railroad for many fugitive slaves, the city’s first Chinatown, and home to the immigrant poor of Europe and the United Kingdom. This event now sold out.

The Dreamers Ever Leave You
Aug. 31 – Sept. 10, 2016
Signy Eaton Gallery
Tickets on sale now
AGO and National Ballet Members: $45 | Public: $55

This innovative new ballet is created and choreographed by rising star Robert Binet and inspired by the work of iconic Canadian painter Lawren Harris. Co-presented by the AGO and The National Ballet of Canada in conjunction with the exhibition The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris. The Dreamers Ever Leave You is created for a gallery setting, inviting audiences to move through the gallery space as the performance happens around them. Composer Lubomyr Melnyk will perform his score live alongside dancers from The National Ballet, as they move freely under shifting light and colour, evoking Harris’s majestic visions of land, light and sky. Performances are selling out, with limited tickets currently available on Labour Day weekend, Sept. 2 and 3, as well as Sept. 9 and 10.

The Dreamers Ever Leave You Supporters:

Generously supported by:
Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan
Joan and Jerry Lozinski

Families at the AGO

There’s something for kids of all ages at the AGO this summer, with kid-friendly take-aways from the The Idea of North exhibition including Lawren Harris-themed kids’ activity guides and buttons. Families can drop into the newly renovated Dr. Mariano Elia Hands On Centre, now with non-slip flooring, new finishes and play materials — all of which make learning about art safer and even more exciting to our littlest visitors.

The Idea of North Supporters:

Lead Sponsor:
RBC Capital Markets

Generously supported by:
E. & G. Odette Foundation 
The Donald R. Sobey Family Foundation

Heffel Fine Art Auction House

The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris is co-organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and curated by Steve Martin in collaboration with Cynthia Burlingham, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs, Hammer Museum and Andrew Hunter, Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art, Art Gallery of Ontario. First presented at The Hammer Museum and then at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the show includes Toronto-focused sections unique to the AGO that were curated by Andrew Hunter, in consultation with Steve Martin and Cynthia Burlingham.

With a collection of more than 90,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’s masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002, Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to learn more.

July 1 – Sept. 11, 2016:            The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris

Oct. 22, 2016 – Jan. 29, 2017: Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more

April 22 – July 30, 2017:          Georgia O’Keeffe

Sept. 30, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018: Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.

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