Toronto school board’s art collection to be restored by AGO

Toronto school board’s art collection to be restored by AGO

Tom Thomson's Autumn Scene is part of the TDSB's collection

It turns out the Toronto District School Board has a pretty unbelievable collection of Canadian art worth millions. Unfortunately, the pieces have been sitting in a state of neglect in the dingy vault of a local high school because the TDSB has neither the funds nor the know-how to fix them up. Now, in an unprecedented partnership, the AGO and the TDSB are teaming up to get the collection restored and on display.

The scope of the TDSB art collection came to the public’s attention in 2004, when a 1936 painting by Franklin Carmichael was damaged by a burst steam pipe at Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute. A Tom Thomson painting worth an estimated $1.5 million was subsequently removed from a (presumably disgruntled) high school principal’s office.

The AGO is now offering to restore the works in exchange for the opportunity to display them in its proposed new 35,000-square-foot education wing, the Weston Family Learning Centre, by around next September. Though the deal has yet to be finalized, it will likely include free access to the public and expanded field trip programs for students. And that high school principal who lost his Thomson will have to trek down to the AGO to see it. Single tear.

AGO in talks to rescue Toronto school board’s art treasures [Globe and Mail]