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Toronto Art Guide from Love Art Director Nicole Milkovich

Art & Design

This spring Thompson Toronto partnered with the Love Art Fair to install an exclusive preview event throughout the hotel. From now through April 20th, modern art installations from six Canadian galleries will be displayed throughout the Lobby, the Lobby Bar, the Lower Lobby, the Screening Room and the Rooftop Lounge.

Love Art is the Canadian edition of the Affordable Art Fair. The fairs celebrate the idea that art is for everyone, offering original artwork priced from $100 – $10,000, with half of the work under $5,000. Love Art offers unique programming including a wide variety of artist and curator talks, workshops, kids’ activities and more. A global brand, the fair now takes place in Amsterdam, Bristol, Brussels, Hamburg, Hong Kong, London, Maastricht, Milan, New York, Seoul, Singapore and Stockholm.

We checked in with Nicole Milkovich, the Love Art fair director about her top picks for seeing art in Toronto.

Forno Cultura Italian Bakery

Next to visual art, the art of food is right up there with things that are important in my life. I have a morning ritual at Forno Cultura on King Street West, which is the best bakery in the city and possibly the country. I spend a half an hour there most mornings drinking a cappuccino and eating an almond orange biscotti. Some days, I go back for lunch!

Art Gallery of Ontario

First Thursday’s at the AGO is one of my favourite nights out. The events and performances are always different and it is one of Toronto’s great people watching hang outs. It is also a fun experience to view historical art in a public gallery amongst such a frenzy of activities. Also, a little known thing about the AGO is that on Wednesdays from 1pm to 8pm there is open access to the Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre. It is an opportunity to enjoy behind-the scenes and see your favourite prints, drawings, watercolours, and photographs.

401 Richmond Building

This building is a hub for creative types, everything from commercial galleries, to artist run galleries, to printmaking studios, to graphic design studios, to music studios, and an awesome design store called Swipe Design if you are looking for the perfect gift for a friend. Abbozzo Gallery is located on the first floor and has some absolutely beautiful work, my current favourites are the charcoal drawings by Olexander Wlasenko. Ineke or Margaret would be happy to show you one, all you have to do is ask!

Big Red Canoe

I am a big fan of Douglas Coupland’s big red canoe in “Canoe Landing Park”. Everyone has seen this at one point or another usually while sitting on the Gardiner “not so” Expressway. I love the Canadiana element of this canoe and Blog TO once rated it as one of the top ten make out spots in Toronto!

Alison Milne Gallery

Director Anthea Baxter-Page has great taste in art and knows how to put on an opening. This gallery also happens to be very close to my house but I every time I go I fall in love with something new. Alison has designed a great conference table which has a drinks trough down the middle where they serve drinks out of during their openings.

Art Supply Stores

I am an art supply junky! Get me near some colourful oil pastels and the paint brush isle and look out! I have a degree in visual arts but do not currently have time to paint as much I would like. To make up for it I go into either Curry’s or Above Ground and spend time looking at all the great things they have. It is fun to see what is new since I last checked in. That being said, I am a bit of a loyalist as I have used the same brand of paint since I started but it is always fun to look.


Leslieville is a pretty arty part of town. It is in the middle of a major transformation which allows for younger galleries, smaller neighbourhood restaurants, artist studios and unusual shops of all kinds to exist because the rents are not yet out of reach. Parts Gallery on Queen Street East, has just moved into a new larger space, is my favourite in the neighbourhood. Director Dianna Witte has brought together a very talented group of artists that she loves (one of them literally). The gallery is very approachable and the quality of the work is outstanding.

p|m Gallery

Since moving to Toronto I have always enjoyed Dundas Street West, and favourite gallery in that part of town is p|m gallery. I am a big fan of the artists owner Powell MacDougall has chosen for her roster. I encourage you to pay her a visit and spend some time chatting, don’t be afraid to ask her about the artist and the story behind the work, there is often a much bigger story behind the work than your first impression of the work. Once in a while you will fall in love with a piece of art because of the work, and then because of the story, and to me that is the greatest part of collecting art.