The McMichael Canadian Art Collection provides a classic all-Canadian art camp experience for children with a perfect blend of outdoor fresh air and trails along the Humber River Valley, fully resourced art studios, and a world-famous art collection. Led by the best young art instructors in the Greater Toronto Area, each camp includes in-gallery art viewing, outdoor activities, and in-studio artmaking. Campers will have the opportunity to relax, get outside and explore their creativity while making new friends.
Every week throughout the summer, we have special guests joining us, including Mad Science and Toronto Wildlife!
ArtVenture Summer Camp
Within each thematic session campers will be divided into age-appropriate groups and engage in projects designed to reflect their age, social, and developmental needs.
Click on a session name or age range below to learn more about it.
Activities will focus on playful explorations and experimentations with various art mediums and tools, while nurturing campers’ visual literacy through storytelling and guided art viewing. Fun outdoor games, role-playing, and show-and-tell activities will build a co-operative spirit and encourage friendships among the campers.
Activities will focus on further development of campers’ artmaking skills through fun projects and social activities. While exploring and discussing art currently on view at the Gallery, campers will focus on developing their personal artistic interests. They will gain confidence by sharing their opinions with their peers during discussions and explorative outdoor learning.
Activities for older campers will focus on exploration of various artistic techniques and methods and using materials and natural resources to nurture campers’ artistic abilities. Through in-gallery explorations, campers will be encouraged to think creatively and critically about the art of Canada. Our expert instructors will balance artistic learning with fun and games that give campers the chance to socialize and enjoy the summer against the backdrop of the beautiful Humber River Valley.
ArtVenture youth camps are tailored to a more mature audience and focus on different artistic mediums with creative projects designed to encourage skill development. These camps can be booked in any order and are not prerequisites for one another. Each session will focus on different aspects of the highlighted medium and will engage campers with new and innovative projects.
Let’s use our artist’s eyes to take a close look at nature!
From painting en plein air, to making art with objects found in nature, to learning all about trees and flowers through sketching, campers in this session will develop their observational skills and creativity while learning about the biodiversity of the Humber River Valley. Outdoor activities will be coupled with close looking at works of art that address environmental themes and in-studio projects that nurture creative skills and appreciation for the natural world. A special visit by Andrew Sookrah, an expert in en plein air painting, will animate this week.
Try your hand at painting, sculpting, printmaking, and more! Every kind of style, technique and material can be found in artwork at the McMichael. This session will encourage campers to try them all – the only limit is your imagination! Campers will complete an artistic challenge using a range of materials, styles and techniques. Interspersed with fun outdoor adventures, this program offers a summer of mixed-media madness to remember.
Did you know that paint can be poured, sprayed, scratched, sponged, and so much more?! Starting with a close look at the work of great Canadian painters like Tom Thomson, this session will dare to go beyond the paintbrush. In the studio, campers will dive into the wonderful versatility of paint by taking on a variety of inventive challenges, allowing them to deepen their understanding of the medium and see how painting can help them discover their own personal style. A visit to see Tom Thomson: North Star with the exhibition curator and Executive Director of the McMichael, Ian Dejardin, will provide a special moment during this session.
One of the most beloved sessions, this camp challenges campers to think creatively and scientifically as they create fun and wacky 3-D sculptures. Taking full advantage of the McMichael’s extensive art collection, special exhibitions, and grounds, this session will introduce campers to a new understanding of volume and balance while experimenting with unusual art materials. A special visit from Christina Kerr, a practicing clay artist, will provide campers with the opportunity to see how a piece of clay comes to life.
Discover the art and science behind all the colours of the rainbow! This session will encourage campers to boldly experiment with the expressive power of colour and to explore hues, values, and saturation. The McMichael’s galleries and the grounds will become spaces of discovery, while the studio will transform into a fun, artistic laboratory.
By popular demand, we’ve added another session to this multidimensional camp! While new campers are welcome to join, experienced campers who took part in Super Sculpture I are invited to return to new challenges and projects that are as playful and fascinating as those in the original program. This camp is a paradise for artists who love the tactile aspect of artmaking and working with sculpture.
Inspired by the exhibition Uses of Enchantment: Art and Environmentalism, this session will be an artistic call-to-action! Campers will learn all about the various habitats, animals, and plants indigenous to the Humber River Valley and create nature-inspired artwork that reflect on and promote environmentalism and conservation. A special hands-on workshop in the Minokamik Garden, led by horticulturist Lynn Short, will introduce campers to the world of invasive species in the garden and how they can step in to help the cause.
Creativity is each camper’s superpower in this session! Inspired by the diversity of exhibitions on view, campers will be encouraged to use all their senses to seek inspiration from the world around them and to express their creativity through art projects that use nature as both a medium and a canvas. A special visit from the Toronto Wildlife Centre will add to this wild adventure as campers learn about the animals that share our habitat!
Smart phones, tablets, cameras—anyone can snap a photo these days, but what sets a good photographer apart? Campers will have free range to explore the McMichael’s grounds and architecture through a camera lens and fine-tune their understanding of photography principles and programs. Budding photographers will learn to create and edit striking digital images and experiment to find their individual style.
This year, we’re inviting experienced painting masters to use the McMichael’s grounds as inspiration and as an open-air art studio. This program, designed for more advanced young artists, will lead participants through the entire artistic process, from a preliminary drawing to a final masterpiece, allowing campers to experiment with various painting mediums particularly suited to working in an outdoor setting. Campers will have the opportunity to visit the iconic Tom Thomson Shack and experience a sketch-out session with a professional landscape artist, further animating this master workshop.
The connection between art and nature is the theme of this session that explores environmental themes in the McMichael’s exhibitions coupled with outdoors activities that highlight the rich, but also fragile, habitat of the Humber River Valley. From en plein air painting to eco art, campers will be encouraged to explore creative solutions to the challenges of climate change while refining their technical skills. Campers will enjoy a special guest session of painting en plein air (outdoors) with Andrew Sookrah, an acclaimed landscape artist.
Each summer camp class will consist of up to 17 campers, one instructor, and one assistant working in a designated studio space with controlled access to washrooms.
Please note that as of now campers and staff are not required to wear face masks while indoors in accordance with current York Region Public Health guidelines. However, these guidelines may be updated before the summer. We kindly request that all parents and guardians review public health practices with their child prior to the start of the session.
Registration is required for each session. Transportation is not offered.
Parents/guardians are responsible for packing their children’s lunches and snacks and ensuring that they are all nut- and sesame-free.
Select the camp program that you wish to enroll your camper in. Your camper’s full name is required at this time.
To complete your purchase, be sure to have a major credit card on hand. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover,and American Express.
Complete your purchase. This step reserves your camper’s spot.
Step 2 : After purchasing a camp program, please log on to the Camp Portal to fill out some mandatory questions about your camper(s) in the Parent Portal section. You have 10 days from the purchase to complete this section.
Please note: These details are required to secure your spot.Remember to include a brief medical history, signed waivers and answer the general questions at this stage.
Please have the following information on handy for Step 2 of the registration process:
Contact details including home and work addresses and phone numbers for parents/guardians
Camper name and date of birth
McMichael Membership details, if applicable
Camper allergies, dietary restrictions, medications and treatments
Camper medical history
Name, address, and phone number of camper’s physician
Camper’s OHIP infomation
Emergency contacts (2) name, address and phone number
Name, address and phone number of any additional people (must be over 18) who are authorized to pick up camper
For Summer Camps, cancellation requests must be submitted by May 31, 2023, to receive a refund of 75%. No refunds will be available after this date.
The McMichael reserves the right to cancel or combine individual programs if minimum registrations are not achieved 14 days prior to a camp’s start date. Full refunds will be made in the event of program cancellation.
The health and safety of your children and our staff and volunteers is our top priority and we continue to follow Ontario public health guidelines and implement enhanced health and safety measures. Should the province place our region into a lockdown or impose a closure on the McMichael, you will be offered a full refund for any cancelled sessions.