Discover inspiring art and express your creative side at the Gardiner Museum this Fall

Discover inspiring art and express your creative side at the Gardiner Museum this Fall

Culture lovers seeking exciting and safe indoor things to do should look no further than Toronto’s world-renowned Gardiner Museum. And admission is free on weekends!

Phot by: Natalie Logan

Art plays an important part in our lives, giving us escape and perspective especially in these uncertain times. That’s why museums need our support, now more than ever. So if you’re itching to get out of the house and do something new that’s safe and off the beaten path, this is the perfect time to spend a day at the Gardiner Museum discovering the power of clay to enrich, heal and connect us. As a bonus, admission to the Gardiner’s special exhibits and permanent collection of historical and contemporary ceramics is free on weekends and on holiday Mondays until the end of year.

Fable (detail) by Nurielle Stern. Photo: Courtesy of the artist


You can first immerse yourself in Fable, an exhibition by Toronto-based visual artist Nurielle Stern that spans the Gardiner’s soaring staircase. Stern drew inspiration from medieval European manuscripts and sculptures and utilized clay and stained glass to capture our imaginations with a fantastical cast of intricate lattice-like mythical creatures, cats and mice.

Polyanthroponemia by Magdalene Dykstra. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid

Next up is RAW, a mesmerizing exhibition that showcases clay’s versatility and enduring power as a timeless medium of expression, from sticky to crusty, pliable to powdery, and shaped to shapeless. Extended until November 8, RAW’s serene space features installations by four prominent talents pushing the boundaries with unfired clay, including internationally-acclaimed Toronto-born and LA-based trans artist Cassils and Sudanese-Canadian rising star Azza El Siddique. The exhibition’s themes range from monuments and memory to trans visibility and the sustainability of human population growth. And as our world becomes increasingly virtual, RAW also reminds us in unpredictable and powerful ways of our essential connection to the Earth.

Photo: Natalie Logan

But the Gardiner is more than just a ceramics museum – it’s also a hub for creativity and community engagement:

Photo: Lisa Sakulensky


If you find yourself inspired by RAW’s intimate and engaging usage of clay, you can express your creative side too with the Gardiner’s weekly drop-in clay workshops on Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. Using a variety of tools and more than 70 commercial brushing glazes, you can experiment with hand building, wheel throwing and decorating techniques under the guidance of the Gardiner’s experienced artist instructors. Online registration opens at 10 a.m. on weekend mornings, and classes are capped at 10 participants each to allow for proper physical distancing. Tickets range from $14.50 to $18.


In addition to free admission, the Gardiner offers free family clay activities on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A much-needed alternative to all that screen time our kids are getting these days, the activities provide an opportunity for hands-on learning and creative expression. Capacity for family clay activities is limited to 10 participants per session, and all tools, tables, and stools are sterilized after each use.

Photo: Natalie Logan


To ensure the safety of its patrons, the Gardiner is limiting the number of people in the Museum and individual gallery spaces. Gardiner staff have also ramped up their cleaning schedule and disinfecting protocols, and hand sanitizing stations have been installed on every floor of the Museum. Visitors are asked to wear masks inside the building, while also remaining at least two metres apart from other visitors at all times. Disposable masks will be available for those who don’t come equipped with their own.

And for true art lovers, the Gardiner Shop is accessible without an appointment during Museum hours, and by special appointment on Wednesdays. At the shop, you’ll find original handmade ceramics, glass, jewellery, and textiles by local and international artists. Capacity is limited to two visitors to maintain social distancing. Shop staff are sanitizing high touch objects, such as jewellery and PIN pads, after each use.

Photo: Gardiner Museum


The Gardiner offers general admission tickets online and on site without specific timed entry. General admission is $15 for adults, $11 for seniors and free for post-secondary students, youths and children. General admission is free on weekends and holiday Mondays until the end of the year. The Museum is open on Thursdays and Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holiday Mondays. Address: 111 Queen’s Park (just north of Museum Station).

To learn more about the Gardiner Museum’s exhibits and activities, please visit