Art Institute of Ontario

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Art Institute of Ontario

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Description area

Dates of existence



The Art Institute of Ontario (AIO) was officially incorporated in 1951 to organize and circulate exhibitions, lectures, and instructional programmes throughout the province of Ontario with the help of its institutional members. The AIO’s founding members were the Art Gallery of Toronto (now Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Art Gallery of London, Hart House, the London Public Library and Art Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, The Ontario Association of Architects, The Ontario Society of Artists, The Royal Ontario Museum, and The Willistead Art Gallery of Windsor. A proposal to form the AIO was originally put forward as early as September 1948 by the Art Gallery of Toronto, which had begun circulating exhibitions. However, funding was not formalized until 1951 when a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Education made it possible to sponsor an exhibition circulating throughout the province. In later years the AIO would also receive funding from the Atkinson foundation, Canada Council (since its founding in 1957), and the Province of Ontario Council for the Arts.

Harold C. Walker (President of the AGT from 1948-1950) originally served as the AIO’s Chairman while Martin Baldwin (Director of the AGT from 1948-1960) was its Director until 1964, when Paul Bennett took over the role (Baldwin stayed on as President). Bennett had previously been hired as the AIO’s first Field Director in 1959, serving as Director until the institute was absorbed into the AGO’s Extension Services in 1968.


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Relationships area

Related entity

Bennett, Paul, 1928-2014 (1928-2014)

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Description of relationship

Related entity

Extension Services (1968-1996)

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Extension Services

is the successor of

Art Institute of Ontario

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Description of relationship

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Level of detail


Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Updated 4 October 2018


  • English



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