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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Explore, create and experience the spirit of the holiday season at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

(News Release)

Kleinburg, ON – Looking for some fun and festive activities this holiday season?

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection welcomes you to view a rare display of Christmas cards by some of Canada’s most loved artists in the exhibition This House Was Made for Christmas, on until January 31, 2016, and enjoy special seasonal programming for all ages.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the gallery’s founders, Robert and Signe McMichael, celebrated Christmas with a welcoming spirit, inviting neighbours into their home to enjoy their collection of Canadian art.


Now you can experience this warmth and the celebration of Christmas the McMichael way. The McMichael Founders’ Lounge is transformed for the holidays with Christmas trees, vintage ornaments and toys from the era of the McMichaels’ first Christmases in their home.

   This Christmas card was designed by A.J. Casson in 1927.  (McMichael Canadian Art Collection)
Programs include:

Gallery Talk with Elaine Charal: Power of the Pen – Saturday, November 28, 11 am
Certified Graphologist, Elaine Charal, will unveil the artistry and meaning behind pen strokes and look at the Group of Seven artists’ own handwriting, captured forever in greeting cards. A brief free analysis of handwriting will be offered. Included with gallery admission.
Registration required. Call 905.893.1121 ext. 2209, email bookings@mcmichael.com or visit mcmichael.com for more information.


Winter Musical Interlude: Acro Violini directed by Zachary Ebin – Sunday, December 6, 1:30 pm
Enjoy a performance by Acro Violini, a chamber orchestra of advanced students, aged 8-14, from Etobicoke Suzuki Music. Included with gallery admission.


Family Sunday: Happy Holidays – Sunday, December 13, 11 am to 3 pm
Create seasonal ornaments and inspire peace, harmony, and love by writing your holiday wish for the world on a piece of seed paper and hanging it on the McMichael’s wish tree. Included with gallery admission.


Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” by Humber River Shakespeare Company – Sunday, December 13, 1:30 pm
Gather with friends and family to watch the Humber River Shakespeare Company bring to life the timeless tale of greed, ghosts, salvation, and hope in this original production of Dickens’ holiday classic. Included with gallery admission.


Caroling at the McMichael with Hugh Barnett and the Carrying Place Trail Ensemble – Sunday, December 20, 1:30 pm


Join us in the festive Founders’ Lounge for this special concert that will revive the times when Robert and Signe McMichael hosted their artist and collector friends. Included with gallery admission.



About This House Was Made for Christmas
This House Was Made for Christmas celebrates the art of Christmas greeting cards, which were designed by seminal Canadian artists of the mid-twentieth century, with a special focus on Toronto-based artists.


Several members of the Group of Seven, including Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, and A.J. Casson, and their contemporaries—as well as Painters Eleven members, such as Jack Bush and Harold Town, are represented in this exhibition.

These works, some of which have never been displayed before, are drawn from the McMichael collections, public collections, and private holdings. Selected cards reflect an array of taste and styles in text and imagery from the sentimental and poetic, or the historically informative, to the humorous. The art of printmaking and original handwork come alive in these small but powerful cards.


The exchange of commercially printed holiday cards dates back to nineteenth century England and continues today. This custom allowed people to remember family and friends during a special time of year, and affix their best wishes on paper through word and image. In time, artists were commissioned to design cards that allowed them to share and promote their work with the public.



The connection to home is at the core of this exhibition. The inspiration for this exhibition stems from Pierre Berton’s 1956 article “The House That Was Made For Christmas” (Canadian Homes and Gardens magazine), which featured the foundation for the McMichael gallery—the actual home of the founders—as a place of special Christmas spirit. The original McMichael home sets the stage for this exhibition and was, over the years, depicted in several greeting cards as the picture-perfect symbol of Christmas.


About the McMichael Canadian Art Collection
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries.


In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of over 6,000 artworks by Canadian artists, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on 100 acres of northern landscape and hiking trails at 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in the City of Vaughan. For more information: mcmichael.com.

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