The Renaissance Up North: Toronto 

Since the closure of the MOCCA (Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art) in 2015, contemporary art has been painfully lackluster in Ontario’s most cosmopolitan city. Like many major markets, Toronto’s art scene fell victim to rapidly rising rents, stemming from overall gentrification of the city.

With a miniature ‘art boom’ on the horizon, Toronto continues to make its case as one of the most inconspicuous and diverse cities on the planet.

Here are some things to place on your radar for your next venture up north


The former Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) has reopened in the quickly developing Junction neighborhood. The revamped institution now occupies 55,000 sq. ft of the building’s first five floors, more than double the size of its previous home, which closed in 2015. The ground-floor space, which has free entry, will host The Invitation Project, a rotating presentation of site-specific and participatory works.


Opened this past summer, this new Museum is the biggest permanent tourist attraction to open in Toronto since Ripley’s Aquarium in 2013. This is the museum’s 6th location worldwide, and the experience brand has plans to open several more in the coming year. Filled with holograms, optical illusions, installations and unusual rooms, the concept of the Museum of Illusions is based on the principle of fun and offers an original experience to visitors, locals and tourists alike.



Toronto’s first ever Biennial will make its debut next September in the 3rd quarter of 2019. The Art fete will feature 90 days of contemporary art along Toronto’s oft-neglected waterfront with exhibitions, performances and educational events for youth, families, artists, and professionals in the arts. All artists will be producing new, commissioned work for the Toronto Biennial. These artists include Shezad Dawood, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Arin Rungjang, Susan Schuppli, Syrus Marcus Ware and many many more.


Although it’s not exactly a museum, this new non-profit incubator for young creative entrepreneurs was launched this year by La Mar Taylor, known for his work as The Weeknd’s Creative Director. This new institution is positioned at the forefront of the city’s new creative class, with a mission to fostering innovation and opportunity for the city’s underprivileged creative.


Situated in a professional wood shop within a creative community on Sterling Road (the same street as the new MOCA), this DIY studio offers one night and multi-week classes on furniture making, woodworking, and related projects. Classes here pair novices with experienced designers and furniture makers

For more insight into this art-driven renaissance, read Quentin’s full Toronto City Guide for December 2018 here.

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