Our Patrons Council is a group of people who are deeply committed to the Art of CanadaSpend time with other art enthusiasts at a variety of private events designed to engage, educate and inspire. Your generous support ensures excellence in exhibitions and programming at the McMichael.

McMichael Patrons Council Brochure/Download Patrons Council Benefits At-A-Glance

For more information, please contact Mickey Palha in the Development Office at 905.893.1121, ext. 2217 or

three images. Head shot of a man. Wedding couple in woodland and painting of tree in rocky landscape
photograph of a trailer and small buildings with lake and wooded hillsides in background
oil painting of wooden buildings on rocky land with lake and forested hills on far shore
address label


Carl Spiess married his wife, Jennifer, at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection on a hot summer day in 1994. In 2000, one of their wedding guests offered to sell them his family heirloom painting, which had been found in an attic and later displayed on loan at the McMichael. In 2016, Carl did some research before he and Jennifer visited the exact location where Harris painted this said sketch in Rossport, Ont. Many other discoveries have followed this adventure.

Carl has recently joined the Foundation Board at the McMichael where his passion and ideas are keeping the McMichael staff busy. For the past 27 years and counting, Carl has also led a successful career as a financial advisor at ScotiaMcLeod.

Your favourite hero in fiction?

I would have to go with my engineer/geeky side and say Jean Luc Picard, the captain from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He is fair, logical, strong, and a good leader. He has a softer side as well, which is shown in an episode where he does some painting.

Your favourite physical landscape?

That’s easy. The northeast shore of Georgian Bay with the windswept pines. I love its wind, waves, trees and rocky shore.

Your favourite work in our permanent collection?

A.J. Casson, White Pine. Jennifer and I purchased our wedding invitations with this sketch from the McMichael Gallery Shop.

Qualities you most appreciate in an artwork?

The ability to help us remember a time or place we have been before. I enjoy seeing some of the Group of Seven’s paintings being linked with the actual physical sites where they were painted – some now over 100 years ago. It is interesting to see what changes and what stays the same.

Your greatest extravagance?

Windsurfing trips or toys. I’ve been windsurfing for 37 years now, and hope to keep doing it for decades more. Recently I’ve been competing as an amateur on the International Windsurfing Tour. Maybe that love of the wind explains my fascination with paintings of bent trees.

Your favourite season at the McMichael?

Summer. The heat reminds me of our wedding day at the McMichael.


If you are a Patron and would like to share your story, please contact Mickey Palha in the Development Office at 905.893.1121, ext. 2217 or

Click here to donate or renew now.

Image: A.J. Casson, 1898 – 1992 White Pine, 1957, oil, 76.0 x 101.3 cm. Gift of the Founders, Robert and Signe McMichael, 1966 McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1966.16.119

Previous Patron Spotlights

Alan Armstrong