In 1886 artist Mary E. Dignam rented a studio in the Arcade building in Toronto and gathered together a group of women artists to sketch, exchange ideas, and develop their painting skills. Shortly thereafter, Lady Aberdeen, wife of the seventh Governor General, invited Mrs. Dignam to Government House to discuss the possibility of continuing to organize groups of women artists and "handicrafters" in order to assist them and promote interest in their work. Thus, the Women's Art Association of Canada was founded.
To this day, the Women's Art Association of Canada continues to assist students with scholarships to schools in various fields of the Arts, such as the National Ballet School, the Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of Toronto Faculty of Music, the Ontario College of Art and Design, Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advance Learning and George Brown The City College.
To support these efforts, our membership of 200 women and men, volunteer their time, talents and energies to stage fundraising events such as art shows and auctions, an Annual Garden Party, textile shows, book sales and more. Many events are open to the public.
Our charming 19th century house is the heart of our association. The architecture of the Victorian period is evident in the gallery which opens to a formal garden, both of which are available to rent for weddings, meetings, lectures, concerts, art shows and other functions.