Series LA.SC048.S4 - Art Gallery of Toronto papers

Identity area

Reference code



Art Gallery of Toronto papers


  • 1947-1953 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

6 cm of textual records

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

James Stanley McLean (1876-1954), Toronto business executive and art collector, was president of Canada Packers and founder of the J.S. McLean Collection of Canadian art. He was born in Clarke Township, Durham County, Ontario. Having graduated from the University of Toronto in 1896, McLean became an employee of the Harris Abattoir Company in Toronto in 1901, rising to become president in the 1920s. He achieved a merger of his firm with three others in 1927, forming Canada Packers Limited — of which he was president until his death. J.S. McLean was a founder-member of the Art Gallery of Toronto and a member of its executive from 1934 until his death. He was a patron of Canadian art himself and started collecting in 1934. In 1939 he began to buy Canadian artworks of art to hang in the offices and other areas of Canada Packers’ plants across the country. The result was a significant collection amassed at a time when such art was not widely sought after. Among the creators of modern art in Canada, he focused especially on the work of A.Y. Jackson, Carl Schaefer, Paraskeva Clark and David Milne. In 1952 the collection was the subject of an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of J.S. McLean. Many of the works lent for this exhibition were subsequently donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario. J.S. McLean died in Toronto in 1954.

Archival history

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Content and structure area

Scope and content

Series comprises committee reports and minutes, correspondence, monthly bulletins of the gallery, exhibition notices, lists of donors, and accessions lists.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


No further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright is held by the creator or his heirs. Copyright belonging to other parties, such as that of photographs, may still rest with the creator of these items. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.

Language of material

  • English

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Finding aids

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Edward P. Taylor Library and Archives, Art Gallery of Ontario

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Originally prepared in 2003


  • English



Accession area

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