There are very few places that I’ve felt pure Canadian-ness. This is one of them.

In less than an hour’s drive from downtown Toronto, my family arrived at The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, a picturesque gallery nestled in 100 acres of wilderness in the Village of Kleinburg. Our visit was a snowy one and I immediately fell in love with the quietness as we walked along the path (past Tom Thomson’s Shack) to the lodge-like main building. Inside – a permanent collection of almost 6,000 artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists.

Now, it’s a typical art gallery setting with no specific kid-focused areas. But that doesn’t mean you have to be an adult to appreciate them. You’ll find tons of conversation-starters and stories to discover with the little art connoisseurs in TOw. However, if you have limited time while the kids are engaged (and not touching), choose your destination in advance via the gallery guide. After a tour, take those little art-lovers outside for a dose of art and nature. The paths and hiking trails are accessible for little legs (check the trail guide) and be sure to take in the Sculpture Gallery.

For guaranteed success, plan your visit for a Family Sunday when the gallery adds extra programming for the whole family.


Getting there: The McMichael is on Islington Avenue north of Major Mackenzie Drive in between hwy 400 and hwy 27. Driving directions and the taxi and public transit options are here. Parking onsite is $5. Stroller-friendly.

Low-down: Open 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays. (Holiday Mondays are 10 am to 4 pm.) There are 14 galleries with permanent collections and changing exhibitions. They offer year-long children’s programs such as classes, camps and special programming. Family Sundays (on select Sundays and included with admission) have themed hands-on art activities, live entertainment (we saw a Birds of Prey demonstration), and seasonal nature walks (we had a family snowshoe.)

Admission: Adults are $18, Students and Seniors $15. Families (1 or 2 adults plus 3 children under the age of 18) is $36. Children five-and-under are free.

Food: Cafe Aura is located on-site in the Grand Hall. Delicious. Not fast-food prices. No specific kids menu but happy to do kid-sized grilled cheese. Lots of food options en route and in Kleinburg.

In the hood: Canada’s Wonderland (seasonal), Legoland Discovery Centre and Reptilia in driving distance. More nature — Kortright Centre for Conservation next door.

Mark your calendars: It’s the Vanishing Ice Festival, as part of their recently opened feature exhibition of the same name, this Family Day Weekend.

10365 Islington Avenue
Kleinburg, ON
Tel: 905.893.1121 or toll free 1.888.213.1121