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The Portrait Gallery of Canada... is in a Garage in Toronto

Did you know that there is a collection of portraits by and of Canadians... a collection that belongs to all Canadians? Probably not, because this wealth of images is locked away in storage, unseen.

Since 2001, this collection of Canadian faces has been waiting for a home. At first it seemed that it might have been in the old US embassy in Ottawa, then Prime Minister Harper suggested it might be good idea to share the art with his constituents in Calgary. Last week it was announced without fanfare that no decisions have been made regarding a home for the portrait collection. While the current leaders of our nation may not care whether Canadians can see their portraits, Toronto artist Sarah Lazarovic does.

Why wait for millions of dollars in funding to come from a government whose commitment to the arts could be characterized as indifferent? Sometimes all you need is a garage and a bit of effort and enthusiasm. Last night the Montrose Portrait Gallery of Canada opened in Toronto - free to everyone who loves Canadian faces. The opening was a joyful event that even featured spontaneous submissions delivered by bicycle. Portraits of all kinds adorn the cinder block walls, including terrific work by Toronto artists such as Julia Breckenreid and Kagan MacLeod.

The portrait gallery will stay in Toronto until interest wanes, or until the the collection finds a new home.

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