The Gardiner Museum is open seven days a week! Explore our permanent collection, discover special exhibitions, and get hands-on with clay in our studios. We look forward to welcoming you.
Discover an exhibition of new work in our lobby by members of Inspirations Studio, a unique low-barrier ceramics program in Toronto for women and gender diverse people who have experienced marginalization.
Our Joy of Ceramics fundraiser returns on October 27, featuring a presentation by Sarah Milroy, Chief Curator at the McMichael Gallery, who will talk about a work by Shary Boyle, including its many meanings and her decision to donate it. This event sells out every year!
Every object in our permanent collection can be accessed through our eMuseum portal. Learn about individual collecting areas, like Italian Maiolica or Modern and Contemporary Ceramics, or search the full collection by keyword. You'll be amazed by what you discover!
Help us continue to offer innovative and engaging exhibitions, programs, and community projects in person and online, as well as plan for the future. Please consider making a donation today.
Meet Peter Rabbit, Jumbo The Elephant, Clara The Rhinoceros, and a menagerie of colorful animals in this family-friendly exhibition!
Elephants, leopards, dogs, squirrels and dragons. From exotic creatures, household pets, and urban wildlife to mythical beasts, animals have been an active part of the human experience, an inexhaustible trigger of the imagination. Animal Stories presents the many tales of our encounters with the animal world, shedding light on how our social, symbolic, affectionate, scientific, and utilitarian relationships with animals have been visualized through ceramics from the 17th century to the present.
Animal Stories will delight visitors of all ages, inviting them on a journey that is both colourful and heartwarming, and sometimes scientific or critical. The exhibition unfolds through a series of themes that cut across time periods and that take us to the core of human-animal relationships, including the intersection between art and science, from different approaches to naturalism to the impact of scientific discourse on art; conceptions of the wild, from the introduction of “exotic” beasts in 18th-century Europe, to works that cast a critical look at the current state of wildlife; animals as part of our everyday, as faithful companions, pets, or beasts of burden; animals as storytellers, moral teachers and social commentators; and creatures of the imagination, with representations that bridge the realms of fantasy and reality.
The exhibition also features illustrated books alongside ceramics, exploring the longstanding connection between the two media as vehicles for storytelling. Examples include popular sources employed by 18th-century decorators and modellers, such as printed natural histories and Aesop’s Fables, as well as a selection of children’s books featuring beloved animal characters from the 19th century to the present.
Spanning four centuries of visual culture, Animal Stories features Japanese and Chinese porcelain, English and European ceramics, and the work of many contemporary ceramic artists, including Shary Boyle, Sergei Isupov, Janet Macpherson, Lindsay Montgomery, Ann Roberts, Adrian Saxe, Wendy Walgate, and Jason Walker, and original book art by Canadian illustrators such as Brenda Clark and Barbara Reid among others. The works in the exhibition are drawn from the Gardiner Museum’s permanent collection, private collections, and public institutions.
Exhibition Programs & Events
Wednesday October 9, 11 am – 12 pm
Members’ Curator Tour
Wednesday October 9, 4 – 6 pm
Opening Party: Family Menagerie
Tuesday October 29, 6:30 – 8 pm
Animal Stories: The Wind in the Willows and Children’s Fiction
Selected Sundays from October 20, 2 pm
Family Days: Kids Can Press Reading Series
Wednesday November 13, 6:30 – 8 pm
Speaker: Sergei Isupov, Artist
Wednesday November 27, 12 – 1:30 pm
Lunch + Learn: Dead Animals I Have Known
Speaker: Alissa York, Author
Thursday November 28, 12 – 1:30 pm
Animals in Contemporary Art
Speaker: Amanda Boetzkes, Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History, University of Guelph
111 Queen's Park
Canada, M5S 2C7