The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is the largest publicly funded art gallery in Canada that focuses exclusively on Canadian and Indigenous art, both historical and contemporary. The permanent collection consists of over 6,500 artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and First Nations, Métis, Inuit and contemporary artists who have contributed to the development of the art of Canada. The McMichael is also the gallery of record for works on paper from the Inuit community of Cape Dorset (Kinngait) and is the custodians for the Cape Dorset archive, a resource of more than 100,000 artworks. View and browse over 4,000 digitized works from the archive through our online portal, Iningat Ilagiit (A Place for Family). 

Virtually all of our collection is publicly listed. To search for a particular artist or work, you can use our e-museum search engine.  Please click here to access our eMuseum.  Our Library and Archives are also a valuable asset that can be searched both in person and online. Click here to learn more about our Library and Archives.

The collection started by Robert and Signe McMichael in 1952, when the couple purchased land in the village of Kleinburg. Moved by the natural environment, the McMichaels began collecting works of art by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, who also drew inspiration from the natural landscape. In 1965, when they offered their home and artwork to the Province of Ontario, their collection comprised 194 paintings.

Borrowing From the McMichael

Requests from museums and other institutions to borrow objects are reviewed and assessed by a team of staff, with consideration to McMichael programming and preservation priorities. We suggest you submit your request as early as possible, and include the following information:

  • A description of the project:
    • title
    • intent, relevance and scope
    • objects to be included
    • whether the project will tour, and anticipated venue(s) and dates
    • whether there will be a catalogue or other permanent record of the project
  • The name of the curator or other principle organizer of the project, the organizing institution and contact details for relevant staff within the institution
  • Full identification of the object(s) requested, including the McMichael accession number. The McMichael permanent collection is accessible online through its eMuseum, and collection enquires may also be made via the Contact Us section of our webpage
  • A clear statement of how the McMichael’s loan will add value to the project, and if it will be reproduced in any permanent record of the project

Timelines and Costs

Please submit your request as early as possible to ensure adequate time for the McMichael team to review and respond.

  • The minimum lead time required to prepare a loan varies with the number and complexity of objects requested. The McMichael will make every effort to comply with a borrower’s requirements for a timely response and final loan preparation, if approved.
  • Borrowers may be charged an administrative fee to cover the cost of conservation assessment, valuation, photography, and any special requirements for international loans.
  • Charges for conservation treatment, framing and other preparation, packing and crating will be assessed on a cost recovery basis.
  • Potential borrowers will be advised of costs as early as possible in the loan assessment process.

How to Request a Loan

Even when there has been comprehensive early communication, the loan review process will not be initiated until a formal request has been submitted in writing. A formal letter of request to borrow objects from the McMichael should be addressed to Executive Director Sarah Milroy.

Sarah Milroy, Executive Director
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
10365 Islington Avenue
Kleinburg, Ontario
L0J 1C0

Thank you for your interest in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.