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Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

The Government of Ontario Art Collection Database - Help Page

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About the Government of Ontario Art Collection Database

With the earliest pieces dating to the middle of the 19th century, the Government of Ontario Art Collection currently comprises over 2,500 original works of art. Administered by the Archives of Ontario, the collection includes paintings, murals, works on paper, indoor and outdoor sculpture, antique furnishings and decorative objects. A significant number of portraits, particularly those of the province’s Lieutenant Governors, Premiers and Speakers, also form part of the collection. Other works of note include the C.W. Jefferys’ drawings for Canadian history texts, and the George A. Reid donation of 459 of his own paintings in 1944.

Eclectic and widespread, the collection can be found hanging in the Ontario Legislative Building and ministry offices in Toronto, as well as in government buildings in 36 towns and cities across the province.

This database provides descriptions and images of approximately 700 of the works from the collection. New images and descriptions will be added on an ongoing basis.

Ordering Copies and Using Images from this Database

To order images either as a print or in digital form, please see our digital order form.

Permission to use images from this database in any publication, exhibition, film, video or tv broadcast, or on any cd or website, must be obtained from the Archives of Ontario prior to use. Please see our Terms and Conditions of Use for more information.

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Search Tips

Enter a word or choose a search term from one or more of the available fields in the search form:


Choose a category of artwork (such as “painting” or “sculpture”) from the list provided.


Enter word or words that may form part of the title of a work.


Choose an artist from the alphabetical list to see all of the works by that person.

Date Range:

Search works by date or a range of dates. Enter a year or a range of years. If you search by a range of years, the beginning and end year by a double-dash (e.g. 1969--1981).


Enter a word such a place (e.g. Toronto), position (e.g. Governor General).

Accession No.:

Each work in the collection has a unique, six-digit “accession” number. If you know the accession number for a particular work, you may search for it in this field.

Entering more than one search term:

You may enter more than one search term. For example, choosing:

  • Category “portraits”
  • Artist “GRIER, Sir Edmund Wyly”
  • Date Range “1920-1940”

Will return portraits created by Sir Edmund Wyly Grier between the years 1920 and 1940 inclusive.

Search Results Cannot be Bookmarked

Please note that you cannot bookmark pages in this database and that your search session will “time out” after approximately 20 minutes of non-use.

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Brief Search Results

After a search, you will see a list of thumbnail images of works of art that have matched your search (up to 10 “hits” per page).

You can click on the thumbnail image to view a larger image along with more information describing that work of art.

Choosing Images for the Clipboard

If you click on the link “select for image gallery” appearing underneath a thumbnail image, that image will appear in the “clipboard” to the right of your search results. Images from the clipboard can be viewed in an image gallery.

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Image Gallery

By clicking on the “View Selected Images in an Image Gallery” link in the clipboard, you can view selected images in an image gallery.

From the image gallery, you may enlarge or reduce images and move images around the screen.

To move images around the gallery, left click on an image and hold.

Drag to reduce or enlarge     Click and drag on this icon to reduce or enlarge the size of an image.

Shrink Image     Click on this icon to reduce the size of the image.

Enlarge Image     Click on this icon to enlarge the size of the image.

Close the image gallery to return to your search results and clipboard.

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