Trs Gehry

After a facelift that rang in at over $270 million dollars, the new Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas St., 416-979-6660, ago.net) is finally open to the public. The Frank Gehry–fronted project, which began three years ago, drew a major media crowd yesterday, the day before the AGO would be open to the public for the first time in over a year. And it was well worth the wait.

The newly transformed building is stunning inside and out, with a gorgeous blonde wood spiral staircase and matching wood accents throughout. It really has the feel of a great art institution. The museum is also home to the aptly named Frank restaurant (they do weekend brunch!), after the architectural genius, naturally.

This fashionable girl has yet to experience the full effect (media was seated in the Walker Court for the press conference), but it will only be a matter of time. Not only are they offering free admission on opening weekend, every Wednesday evening, from 6 p.m. on, admission is also gratis (the regular price is $18). In addition to the major donation from the late Ken Thomson, (2,000 works from his personal collection to be exact), expect to see upcoming exhibits on from European modernists arranged by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and over 200 works of contemporary fine art from the 1960s to the present, and the hautely-anticipated Edward Steichen installation. Next October, catch an exhibition of Edward Steichen’s high-fashion photography, shot in the 1920s and ’30s for Vogue and Vanity Fair, featuring couture from Chanel, Lanvin, Lelong, Poiret and Schiaparelli.  

Photography by Carlo Catenazzi, courtesy AGO Photo Resources. Copyright Art Gallery of Ontario 2008