The Best Photography Galleries in Toronto
The best photography galleries in Toronto offer a reminder that the city's art scene is good at dealing with chaos. Our mayor may be wild and our city in construction shambles, but boy do we show off some excellent photographic talent. From the Contact Festival to Ryerson and OCAD's versatile photography programs, to a bunch of our talented Instagram photographers, Toronto's photography scene in particular shines bright as a beacon of art hope.
This wasn't really the case a decade ago. While galleries like Stephen Bulger and Corkin have been around for the long haul, many spaces on this list are more recent (say, the past five years) additions to the local arts scene. With the continued rise in the popularity of photographs as fine art, the strength of our galleries isn't much of a surprise, but it is a very good thing for those of us who count photography as their medium of choice.
Here are the best photography galleries in Toronto.
Writing by Jess Carroll / Top photo Andrew Williamson
An extension of Ryerson University's well-respected Image Arts program, the Ryerson Image Centre offers resources both for students and for the public, with an wide-ranging international exhibition schedule, a student gallery, and daily free exhibition tours. With access to more money than non-institutional spaces, the Image Centre also offers an excellent array of talks to complement their shown work, with international speakers and occasionally, experimental events. More »
Established in 1994, with an inventory of around 15,000 photographs, Stephen Bulger Gallery is a Toronto veteran when it comes to showing fine art photography. One of the founders of the Contact Festival, Bulger is known for his inventive curation of the gallery's collection as well as external work. The venue also houses Camera, the small screening room/gallery space erected by director Atom Egoyan for intimate film screenings. More »
One of the more diverse photo-centric gallery spaces in the city, Gallery 44 is an artist-run centre whose exciting exhibitions revolve around non-traditional and developmental photography. Focusing primarily on up-and-coming talent, Gallery 44 offers up both a curated vitrine and gallery space in the 420 Richmond building. More »
One of Toronto's best-known spaces for photo work, Corkin Gallery has been around forever, beginning as a John Street loft space in the '70s and now occupying a 10,000 square foot venue in the Distillery District. Corkin offers some of the most big-name work Toronto has to offer, and hosts large-scale shows from their roster of established international and Canadian artists. More »
While director Tien Huang runs two other "Bau-Xi" branded spaces in Toronto and Vancouver, Bau-Xi Photo, located across the street from the AGO on Dundas, is one of only a handful of Toronto galleries that focuses strictly on traditional photography. Helping to continue to foster established Canadian talent, the space is a telling signifier of Toronto's artistic longevity. The roster touts both local and international talent, with Ferit Kuyas being a particular gem. More »
Having just announced a move to the new art haunt on St Helens St., Gallery TPW is looking to use its bigger space to expand its curatorial options to do more with its conceptual offerings. With a wide range of programming - including the annual Photorama sale - one can expect to take in critical photo-integrated work as well as performance, sculpture, and even readings here. More »
O'Born Contemporary is one of Ossington strips most well-recognized and last remaining commercial gallery spaces, offering up works from varying mediums with a strong photo-focus. With photography, they champion primarily documentary and photo journalism work, offering up critical glimpses at international events that often don't make it on to any other walls in the city. More »
When it comes to showing good work, it can be advantageous for a young gallerist to work both sides of the floor, as both a shower of art and a maker of art. Such is the case with Black Cat at Dundas and Roncesvalles, which exhibits primarily playful local work, most of which is snapped by those who run in the same circles as photographer and Black Cat head honcho Andrew Williamson. More »
In case you couldn't glean it from the name, A Nerd's World isn't your typical photo gallery space. Founded just two years ago on Bathurst south of Dupont, the husband-wife team behind the space, Chris and Grace Hughes, run their ship as a design/branding agency. Still, it moonlights as a photo gallery, showing off an ever-growing gallery wall of client portraits amidst the vintage cameras, which prove a major draw to the storefront space. More »