Category Archives: Ontario

This one time, at the Gallery

Last week I went to the National Gallery to check out the Szilasi exhibit (which totally rocked my world), and I found ANOTHER exhibit which I loved EVEN MORE!

The exhibit is called David Hoffos: Scenes from the House Dream, and it’s open at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa until February 14th.

It’s a series of beautiful dioramas that indulge your senses on a way I never thought possible by installations. For a sneak peak, check out some of the videos on his website.

Here are a few snapshots from my outing! (Please excuse the quality – my iPhone and I haven’t quite mastered the art of photography yet)

National Gallery of Canada

Before visiting the exhibits, the NGC wows you with its stunning architecture

National Gallery of Canada - Parliament buildings in the background

With a beautiful view of the Parliament buildings in the background

The Garden Court

Szilasi Exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada

Elephants playing dead on huge screens at the National Gallery

Douglas Gordon. Play Dead: Real Time

Walking out of the building, stumbled upon this gem

If you haven’t been recently, I STRONGLY encourage you to take a visit. I don’t think I’m qualified to be an “art enthusiast”, but I always love going to the Gallery.

*Bonus: On Thursdays after 5pm, it’s free!

*Bonus#2: Makes a lovely (and inexpensive) date.


The Eloquence of the Everyday: Gabor Szilasi

Gabor Szilasi's Motorcyclists at Lake Balaton (1954)

Gabor Szilasi's Motorcyclists at Lake Balaton (1954)

“When people ask me how I began to take photographs, unlike many artists, photographers, painters and actors, I do not have a nice story to tell. No archangel appeared to me in my dreams and said,

‘Gabor Szilasi, go by a leica and you will become a great photographer.’

It was nothing like that. I simply felt the need to take photographs, to put what I saw on film. And so I began to film.”

– Gabor Szilasi, 1980

I know what I’m doing after work today.  It’s not watching Oprah, or hitting the gym, or grocery shopping. I’m going to the Gallery to immerse myself in some gorgeous Hungarian/Quebecois photography.

I stumbled across this exhibit today.  Organized by Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Musée d’art de Joliette, Gabor Szilasi’s The Eloquence of the Everyday is on display at the National Gallery for only ten more days, until January 17th. Luckily, Thursdays are the only day of the week that the National Gallery of Canada is open until 8pm (usually their opening hours are 10-5pm), and on Thursdays after 5pm, admission is FREE!

I could go on and on about how breathtakingly beautiful his photography is, but I’ll leave it up to you to go visit the exhibit (or at least check out the video below).

Gabor Szilasi: The Eloquence of the Everyday

Gabor Szilasi: The Eloquence of the Everyday

And if you can’t go to the Gallery, take a look at the book!

240 pages of everyday eloquence, as shot by Szilasi himself.

Simply. Beautiful….

Wow. (note: this is what I should have asked for this Christmas. Maybe next year…)

Building the Canal – a Virtual Exhibit from the Bytown Museum

One of the scenes from the 3D tour of the building of the locks on the rideau canal

A 3D tour of the Rideau Canal locks system

I was perusing the Virtual Museum of Canada today and came across a really nice gallery of images from the Bytown Museum.

This virtual exhibit chronicles the building of the Rideau Canal and the key players who made it happen. At first glance, I thought the silent animation on the homepage was the entire project. Then I went to “The Animation” page, and I found a series of downloadable movie files that explains why the locks were built, how they work, and the general history of early settlement in Ottawa.

It also showcases an early tour of the bytown museum, the commissariat originally built for the locks project.

The tour takes 10 minutes, so you need some time to watch it, but it’s a pretty interesting 3D tour of the Bytown Museum before it was the museum.

If you’re interested in the actual 3D project itself, check out the “About the Project” page, and you can see how hard everyone worked on getting the exhibit finished for the VMC.

’tis the season to be learning – in Ontario

Take your family to the ROM this holiday!

A trip to the ROM is a great way to spend some quality time with your family over the holidays

It’s that time of the year again – the time when schools are out for two weeks, your house is full of sugary treats and your kids are bouncing off the walls!

So what do you do if you’re little angels don’t want to brave the cold and go play in the snow? Give them the gift of fun and learning!

How can YOU benefit from getting out to see museums?

1. You get out of the house – no mess to clean up, no dishes to do, no indoor floor hockey to monitor with breakables

2. Your kids are still learning – they’re not in school, but museums teach kids a lot of stuff they may not cover in schools, and are generally a more fun and interactive way of doing it.

3. You’re still learning! If you’re like me, a lifelong learning proponent, you’ll love the opportunity to discover something new and interesting with your kids AND your friends.

4. Discounts are EVERYWHERE. There is no better opportunity to visit museums than over the holidays. Almost every day of the holidays boasts discounted, half-price, or even free admissions to many institutions in your city.

Below are some of the museums, exhibits, and discounts you’ll find in major cities in Ontario this holiday season.

In Ottawa

  • The Canadian Museum of Nature has free admission on Saturdays from 9am to 12 pm and free admission at all times for children 3 and under. In addition, you can go to the library and take out the ‘nature card’ which allows for free general admission for a family if you wish to go on a day other than Saturday
  • The Canadian War Museum and the Canadian Museum of Civilization both have free admission Thursdays from 4pm to 8pm. The Children’s museum closes early on a few dates over the holidays. You can check out their hours here. Also note, Canadian veterans and up to three guests always get free admission as do members of the Canadian Forces
  • The National Gallery of Canada offers free admission to the permanent collection Thursdays after 5pm and free admission to children 12 and under for all exhibits.
  • The Canada Science and Technology Museum offers free admission on International Museum Day ( Monday May 18th this year) and on Canada Day (July 1st) in addition to free admission for children under the age of 4.

In Toronto

  • Admission to the Royal Ontario Museum is free on Wednesdays after 4:30pm. The ROM has special half price holiday admissions (for general admission only) every day during the holidays from 4:30-8:30. They also have extended holiday hours and are hosting the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, so the Christmas holidays are an ideal opportunity to take your family to the ROM!
  • The Mackenzie House on Bond Street has a special kids craft making program on for the holidays (from December 29th-Jan 3rd) for the following prices: Child: $3.33, Youth: $3.81, Adult: $5.71 and Senior: $3.81. (They’re not free, but still an fun and inexpensive afternoon out of the house!).
  • The CBC Museum has FREE admission for everyone on weekdays from 9-5pm. They’re currently hosting the exhibit “Growing up with the CBC” (ie – bringing you back to your days of Mr. Dressup). I haven’t seen the exhibit yet, but if I were in Toronto for the holidays, I would definitely make a trip down there to check it out.
  • It’s not a museum, but the Toronto Zoo has half price admissions for everyone,
    Take this holiday season to discover the ROM

    for the entire holiday season!

If you know of any admissions discounts or special events in an Ontario city of the holiday break, leave a comment below! I’ve searched for a few, but I’m sure there are tons more opportunities for inexpensive mini-trips all over the province.

Residents of other provinces – don’t worry, there will be more posts as the week continues about museums and special holiday discounts in your province.

Remember, this holiday season you can give the gift of quality time, fun, and education to your family.  Why not take advantage of it?