September 8, 2010 Kleinburg, ON —The McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation are pleased to announce the upcoming installation of the new outdoor Sculpture Garden. Ivan Eyre, one of Canada’s most respected visual artists, will create nine monumental twice-life-size bronze sculptures for the outdoor installation on the grounds, to be completed in spring 2011. These spectacular sculptures are being donated by the artist and will join the McMichael’s permanent collection.

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection recently received confirmation that the Federal Government and Provincial Government, through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, will contribute $4.2 million for the redevelopment of its grounds. Located in Kleinburg village, the McMichael is surrounded by 100 wooded acres of beautiful conservation land with a winding network of paths and trails throughout. The stunning natural environment is intrinsic to the gallery’s mandate; its exploration a vital part of each and every visitor’s overall excursion to the gallery. The enhancements will help preserve and showcase the spectacular setting of one of Canada’s most renowned art collections and the outdoor Sculpture Garden is a major component of this plan.

“This project is momentous in many ways, for both the gallery and its visitors,” said Upkar Arora, Chair of the McMichael Board of Trustees. “This extraordinary gift of sculptures and the funds provided by both the provincial and federal governments for the enhancement of the grounds are important steps in the ongoing revitalization of the McMichael.”

The Sculpture Garden

The redevelopment and enhancement of the grounds and the installation of the Sculpture Garden will be completed and officially opened in the spring of 2011. The Sculpture Garden will be one of wonder and enjoyment, as visitors are led on a walking tour of the nine sculptures throughout the garden. The size, effect and impact of the Ivan Eyre sculptures on visitors will be dramatic and significant.

“The Sculpture Garden will be a beautiful, spectacular artistic ensemble and its place at the McMichael reinforces the gallery’s core mission of showing how the land acts as artistic muse,” said Tom Smart, outgoing Executive Director and CEO of the McMichael. “These nine monumental bronze sculptures being placed outdoors in the Sculpture Garden will provide the viewers with a deep appreciation of the relationship between art and nature. I am delighted that our efforts over the past four years to make this a reality have come to fruition.”

The McMichael Canadian Art Foundation has been instrumental in developing the Sculpture Garden. Michael Johnston, Chair of the McMichael Foundation Board, said, “The Sculpture Garden is a major initiative for the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Foundation is honoured to play a role in this meaningful project. The Foundation has developed funding opportunities based on the installation of the nine sculptures and has undertaken a special fundraising campaign to secure funding for each sculpture from a group of select individuals, corporations and foundations.”

The Grounds Enhancement Project

Zelinka Priamo Limited initially developed the Functional Program of the Site and Entrance Landscape. PMA Landscape Architects and Aldershot Landscape Contractors Limited were the successful bidders awarded the contracts after the tender processes were completed for this project.

The enhancements of the McMichael grounds, the cemetery (where six members of the Group of Seven and gallery co-founders, Robert and Signe McMichael, are buried), and the installation of the Sculpture Garden will expand and enrich the visitors’ overall experience. The grounds have been identified in public surveys as an asset as important as the gallery and its art collections and programs. They are used for a large number of public activities, including: educational programming; children’s art camps; installation of artworks; weddings and special events; photographic and film productions; picnicking; and hiking on the trails by school groups, visitors and local community residents. The proposed work will allow the McMichael to increase its outstanding outdoor exhibition capacity, ensure its sustainability, broaden its audience appeal, increase its stature as a tourist destination, stimulate economic development in the local, regional and provincial areas, improve visitor amenities, and exhibit works of art.

This is an exciting time in the development and growth of the McMichael. With the generous financial support from individuals, the corporate community, foundations, and public sector agencies, the McMichael will continue building and showcasing Canadian cultural identity to local, national and international visitors.

The McMichael is distinct in being the only major gallery in Canada with the mandate to collect and exhibit Canadian art exclusively. Established in 1965, its collection consists of one of the largest permanent displays of works by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, Inuit and First Nations artists.

The gallery’s objective is to present Canadian stories through its exhibitions, educational programs, and collections. These stories of yesterday, today and tomorrow are shared by thousands of visitors annually, including school children, tourists, and new Canadians. The gallery attracts on average 110,000 visitors per year, including almost 35,000 school children. The McMichael offers a wide variety of informative and entertaining programs, including lectures and tours for adult visitors, studio art workshops, dedicated family activities, educational tours for school groups, curator and artist talks, classical music concerts, and much more.

About the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation

The McMichael Canadian Art Foundation was created in 1985 for the purpose of raising and receiving funds to support the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. The primary focus of the Foundation is to provide long-term funding for a number of priorities such as:

  • Art Acquisition Fund
  • Education and Access Fund
  • Capital, Building and Repairs Fund
  • Curatorial Chair/Curatorial Fellow Fund
  • Research and Development Fund

Charitable gifts to the Foundation help to ensure that the McMichael will continue to be an important part of Canada’s artistic and cultural heritage to be preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.


For further information or to receive images, contact:

Michelle Kortinen, Communications Coordinator

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

905.893.1121 ext. 2210

[email protected]