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

photo of three children in front of McMIchael signphoto of three women in front of McMichael signoil painting of leafless silver birch trees with an icy lake in the backgroundOil painting of many silver birch tree clumps in a predominantly blue landscape.The McMichael Gallery Entrance

Alan Armstrong: A Patron’s Story

Siena, Thea, and Liam Armstrong teenagers are all deeply involved in the arts in their schools and communities, and the McMichael has been their go-to gallery since they were little ones. Their father Alan says that McMichael was an important place for him as a young teenager when his family made a difficult transition in the mid 1980s, and so it was natural for him to bring the kids for regular visits to the McMichael when the family separated into two homes several years ago. Inspired by the gallery and the Group of Seven’s origins, Siena and Alan canoed to Tom Thomson’s gravesite in Algonquin park in 2012 for Siena’s 13th birthday. Now living and thriving in Guelph, Siena and Thea are pursuing in-depth visual art and music programs in high school and in private lessons, and Liam plays guitar and has near perfect pitch. Both girls expect the arts to be a central part of their lives and careers. Alan has a giclee of “The Canoe” framed and hanging in his office. It helps him stay grounded, and remember the wilderness!


Q: Your favourite hero in fiction?
A: Huckleberry Finn: A child born into a very racist society, and having no education to speak of formal or informal, he formed his own anti racist outlook, and acted on it at considerable risk to himself. Huck is a a completely unpretentious and pragmatic boy, not too philosophical, and yet he ends up with his outlook and conviction simply by observing the world, and forming his own opinions which were strongly countercultural at the time.

Q: Your favourite physical landscape?
A: The hills of Scotland are my ancestral home, but I consider Tuscany to be my lover.

Q: Your favourite work in our permanent collection?
A: The Canoe, Tom Thomson.

Q: Qualities you most appreciate in an artwork?
A: Bold colours, and texture

Q: Your great extravagance?
A: Gave myself 12 weeks in 2012 to undertake a wilderness-based vision fast and wholeness cultivation based on the work of Bill Plotkin of Animas Valley Institute.  My second great extravagance is deciding to live from the identity I discovered that year, and that I continue to discover.

Q: Your favourite season at the McMichael?
A: Fall. Can there be any debate about this?

Alan is Founder and CEO of Eigenworks, a boutique agency based in Guelph, and serving some of the hottest startups and tech firms in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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

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