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Home » Recent posts » Guide to the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto

Guide to the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto

Ultimate Guide to Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

If you’re craving more art in your life, then you’re in luck – Toronto’s Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery is here to introduce you to the vibrant world of modern art.

This is a public museum where everyone is welcome, whether you’re an art aficionado or just someone who – let’s be real – excels at drawing impeccable stick figures. Use our guide to explore this intriguing, culturally relevant avant-garde realm!

What is the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery?

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery is Canada’s premier non-collecting public art gallery, offering free entry to exhibits, workshops, and events. Featuring contemporary art from Canadian and global artists, it operates as a registered charitable organisation. 

Formerly known in 1976 as the Art Gallery at Harbourfront, The Power Plant found its unique home in a 1920s powerhouse. It was initially designed for Toronto Terminal Warehouse’s heating and refrigeration needs. 

Operational as a power plant until 1980, the gallery underwent major renovations in 1987. Today, The Power Plant, with its iconic smokestack and restored façade, stands as a testament to both its industrial past and artistic present.

How to get to the Power Plant Gallery

How to get to the Power Plant Gallery

Address: 231 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8

Website: https://www.thepowerplant.org/

Instagram: The Power Plant (@thepowerplantto)

Hours: Wed, Fri-Sun: 11 AM–6 PM

  Thursday: 11 AM–8 PM

By Streetcar: Grab the 509 or 510 streetcar from Union Station, and let the tracks lead you straight to the Harbourfront Centre. 

By Subway: Take Subway Line 1 to Union Station, and then head on over to the west side of Bay St. and catch the 509 Exhibition shuttle bus.

By Own Vehicle: Cruise down Lake Shore Boulevard, veer south onto Lower Simcoe Street and let the road guide you to the gallery. If you’re coming from Queens Quay West, simply turn south at Lower Simcoe Street. 

Parking Info: Choose from underground spots right in front of the gallery or above ground at Queens Quay West and Rees Street. You can also visit Harbourfront Centre’s website to check specific parking locations and rates.

Things to Know

Accessibility: For wheelchair-accessible washrooms on campus, please head to 207 Queens Quay West. For detailed instructions on finding these offsite bathrooms, refer to their CAMPUS MAP.

Artwork Interaction: Visitors should refrain from touching the artwork. 

Facilities: Two bathrooms are conveniently located on the second floor of the gallery, accessible via the stairwell or elevator.

Food and Beverage: To maintain the pristine environment of the gallery, food and beverages are not allowed inside.

Pets Policy: Unfortunately, pets are not allowed at The Power Plant. However, visitors with service animals are warmly welcomed –  don’t forget to bring documentation.

Photography: Feel free to take pictures unless otherwise indicated.

Ticket and Pricing Information 

Thanks to BMO Financial Group, admission to the gallery is free all year! For those who want to support this public gallery, you can make a donation here.

The Power Plant’s Tours

Free Weekly Walking Tours: Guests can join their free 30-minute Power Tours every Thursday at 6 PM and Saturday at 3 PM. 

Guided Tours: This tour, lasting 30 to 60 minutes, is tailored to all ages, and their expert Public Programs staff will be there to explain current displays. Fees are $5 per student and $8.50 per adult – instructors and chaperones are free.

Songs & Storytime: Engage young minds with singing, storytelling, and art activities in this 1.5-hour experience designed for Kindergarten to grade 1 students. Prices: $8 per student + HST.

Art Activity and Guided Tour: You can explore artworks and unleash creativity with an art-making activity in this 2-hour experience tailored for grade 2 to 8 students. This tour costs $13 per student + HST.

The Power Plant’s Memberships

Free Artist Membership

If you’re a practising artist, you can enjoy a free Power Plant Membership designed to support your practice and connect you with a creative network! Simply fill out their online form here.

Inclusions:

  • 15% discount on artist editions and publications, as well as gallery merchandise.
  • Exclusive invitations to exhibition preview events.
  • Access to Friends & Supporters Previews for exhibitions.
  • Access to Artist Member programs, offering masterclasses, workshops, studio visits, portfolio reviews, and more.
  • Free admission to Ontario public art galleries through the OAAG Program.

Power Plant Annual Memberships

Individual Membership

Price: $60 per person/year

Inclusions: One Membership eCard

         15% in-gallery and online merchandise discount 

          Exhibition opening invitations

          Entry to Ontario public galleries 

Dual/Family Membership

Price: $100/year

Inclusions: Two Membership eCards

         Admission for two adults and up to four children

         15% in-gallery and online merchandise discount 

          Exhibition opening invitations

          Entry to Ontario public galleries 

          Entry to North American institutions (NARM and ROAM)

Power Plant Exhibits

Anna Boghiguian’s Time of Change

‘Time of Change’ is a journey through time and cultures, with specially commissioned pieces. Rooted in her Armenian heritage, Anna unveils installations and drawings that bring historical characters and events to life.

A seasoned storyteller, she unravels the captivating dance between people. You can learn more about the historical tides that shaped societies across the Americas, Europe, and North Africa.

Abdelkader Benchamma’s Solastalgia: Archaeologies of Loss

This marks Benchamma’s debut solo exhibition in Canada, wherein he crafts mysterious worlds on the brink of change. Like an artistic archaeologist, Benchamma digs into universal symbols from mythologies, beliefs, and natural wonders. 

With an organic approach, he creates a hidden landscape, exploring our deep connection with the natural world. No pre-planned sketches here—just Benchamma building his compositions piece by piece.

Aria Dean’s Abattoir, U.S.A.!

Aria Dean, an artist and writer, dives into a thought-provoking world challenging how we see things. Through her sculptures, installations, videos, and essays, she blurs the lines between abstract and concrete, individual and collective. 

Dean’s focus on race, power, and form disrupts conventional ideas. In fact, in her latest avant-garde film, Abattoir, U.S.A.!, she explores empty slaughterhouses, using a cool computer graphics tool to bring them to life. 

Power Plant’s Public Programs

Power Kids

Power Kids brings the joy of art to children aged 7–12 through free creative workshops led by talented artist-educators. These engaging sessions, inspired by current exhibitions, happen on select Sundays during exhibition seasons. 

Each Power Kids session kicks off with a tour inside or outside the gallery, followed by a fun hands-on activity. Since each workshop is different, kids can come back throughout the season for a fresh dose of inspiration every time!

In Conversation

For those who want to learn more, In Conversation steps into the world of exhibiting artists as they share meaningful dialogues with key curators. These conversations offer a unique lens into the dynamic evolution of contemporary art.

Here, you can enjoy discussions about art and history and reflections on the past, present, and future. You can check their website for scheduled talks and symposiums.

Master Class

If you’re an Artist Member, you can join exclusive Master Class events at The Power Plant, designed just for you. These are where you’ll have the chance to connect with a featured guest artist, showcase your work, and receive valuable constructive feedback. 

You should take advantage of this special opportunity to elevate your artistic journey and foster meaningful connections within the creative community. 

Where to eat near the Power Plant Gallery

Boxcar Social Harbourfront

Website: https://boxcarsocial.ca/pages/harbourfront

Instagram: B O X C A R S O C I A L (@boxcar_social)

Address: 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8

Hours: Mon-Fri: 9 AM–4 PM

  Sat-Sun: 9 AM–5 PM

Contact: (844) 726-9227

Following your visit to the Power Plant, we recommend going to Boxcar Social Harbourfront – a mere minute stroll away. Nestled by Lake Ontario, this gem has an inviting patio where you can relish brunch with a picturesque waterfront view. 

It offers a blend of top-notch coffee, a diverse food menu, and crafted spirits. We suggest indulging in their delectable Smashburger featuring aioli, lettuce, pickle, and tomato  – certainly a well-deserved treat after your artistic field trip!

Pearl Harbourfront Chinese Cuisine

Website: https://www.pearlharbourfront.ca/harbourfront/

Instagram: Pearl Harbourfront (@pearl_harbourfront)

Address: 207 Queens Quay W #200, Toronto, ON M5J 1A7

Hours: Mon-Fri: 11 AM–9:30 PM

  Sat-Sun: 10:30 AM–9:30 PM

Contact: (416) 203-1235

Another spot, only three minutes away, is the long-standing Pearl Harbourfront Chinese Cuisine. Established in 1983, they’ve been offering authentic Chinese cuisine in a fine dining setting with an incredible waterfront view.

Distinguished with awards such as the 2011 Dine.TO’s Best Chinese Restaurant Award, Pearl Harbourfront is certainly a must-visit. While all their dim sum options are popular, we highly recommend their savoury pork bao buns and their yummy crispy shrimp rolls.

The Goodman Pub and Kitchen

Website: https://fabrestaurants.ca/restaurant/the-goodman/

Instagram: The Goodman Pub (@thegoodmanpub)

Address: 207 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 1A7

Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11:30 AM–11 PM

  Friday: 11:30 AM–12 AM

  Saturday: 11 AM–12 AM

  Sunday: 11 AM–11 PM

Contact: (647) 341-2337

After your foray into modern art, why not stroll for four minutes and quench your thirst at The Goodman Pub and Kitchen? With a scenic waterfront view, it offers an elevated and hip gastropub experience featuring juicy burgers, classic fish and chips, and fresh tacos. 

Don’t miss out on their crowd favourite: their buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, adorned with hot honey, tomato, pickled jalapeño, mayo, and lettuce – all sandwiched in a shiny brioche bun. This pub also offers vegetarian-friendly, vegan, and gluten-free options. 

BeaverTails Toronto Waterfront

Website: https://beavertails.com/

Instagram: BeaverTails (@beavertails)

Address: 145 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2H4

Hours: Mon-Thurs, Sun: 12 PM–9 PM

  Fri-Sat: 12 PM–10 PM

Contact: (416) 360-8245

A quick 5-minute walk from the Power Plant leads you to BeaverTails Toronto Waterfront – the home of Canada’s delightful flat donuts. These iconic treats even won the approval of President Obama during his 2009 visit to Canada!

You can choose from over 120 topping combinations. However, we recommend trying their sinfully scrumptious bestseller, the “BrWoWnie” – featuring brownie and white chocolate chunks topped with luscious chocolate hazelnut spread. 


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