Here's Where to See the Best New Art in Canada — Including Montreal's First Indigenous-run Art Center

Over the past two years, Canada has seen an art boom. Here's your guide to the country's newest museums, galleries, and art centers.

Conceptual artwork called First Mermaid that can Maneuver on the Land
Iqaluullamiluuq (First Mermaid) that can Maneuver on the Land, a sculpture by Mattiusi Iyaituk and Etienne Guay, was on display in INUA, the inaugural exhibition at Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Qaumajuq wing. Photo: Collection of Nunavik Inuit Art, Avataq Cultural Institute/Courtesy of WAG

Even lockdowns and border closures can't stop creativity. Over the past two years, multiple museums, galleries, and art centers made promising debuts across Canada, with a focus on Indigenous art and perspectives.

Here are some of the best new centers for Canadian art.

Qaumajuq— Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Visible Vault at Qaumajuq
The visible vault at Qaumajuq contains thousands of artifacts. Lindsay Reid/Courtesy of WAG

Qaumajuq, a separate wing of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, is now the world's largest museum devoted to contemporary Inuit art. It contains sculptures, prints, textiles, and several thousand carvings displayed in a glass vault visible across four floors of the gallery.

Museum of North Vancouver—Vancouver, British Columbia

Children explore exhibits at MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver
Exploring the exhibits at MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver. Alison Boulier/Courtesy of MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver

The new multimedia Museum of North Vancouver, or MONOVA, charts the city's trajectory from forestland to logging community to industrialized urban center.

Members of the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, whose traditional territories encompass present-day North Vancouver, helped design the museum's welcome circle, which showcases a collection of archival photographs and recorded oral histories.

Daphne—Montreal, Quebec

Visitors at daphne's first exhibition, Parure - a solo exhibition with artist, Teharihulen Michael Savard
Visitors at daphne's first exhibition, Parure - a solo exhibition with artist, Teharihulen Michael Savard. Mike Patten/Courtesy of Daphne Art Centre

Established by four artists of Anishinaabe and Kanienkhá:ka heritage, Daphne is Montreal's first Indigenous-run art center, featuring works by contemporary artists from Quebec and beyond.

Since the center opened in May 2021, exhibitions have ranged from metalwork by Teharihulen Michel Savard, a member of the Wendat First Nation, to illustrations by Kaia'tanó:ron Dumoulin Bush, an Onkwehonwe/French-Canadian artist.

A version of this story first appeared in the February 2022 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline Origin Stories.

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