Art Gallery of Ontario

317 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M5T 1G4
CEO: Stephen Jost
Board President: Maxine Granovsky Gluskin

Charitable Reg. #:11879 0401 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

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Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 79 cents are available for programs.

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About Art Gallery of Ontario:

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) was founded in 1900 by a group of private citizens as the Art Museum of Toronto. Today AGO is one of the largest art museums in North America, with a physical facility of 583,000 square feet. Its mission is to “bring people together with art to see, experience and understand the world in new ways.” AGO expanded in 2008 with an innovative architectural design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. It now holds approximately 91,100 works of art in its collection, which originate from 100 A.D. to the present. AGO organizes and hosts a wide spectrum of major exhibitions.

In 2011, AGO launched the new Weston Family Learning Centre, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects. Programs offered in the 35,000 sq. ft. space include free youth drop-in centres and programs, school programs, teacher workshops and art courses for all ages. The gallery launched AGO Live Stream in 2014, which provides video access to AGO events, performances, and talks.

In F2016, AGO had 718,200 visitors, which was down 9% from F2015, and a continuation in the slide in visitors from a peak of 861,991 in F2014. Further, it had 38,362 student visitors in F2015, which was down 10% from F2014. Membership increased to an all-time high of 101,100 patrons, which is up 8% from F2014. In F2016, AGO received $24.6m in donated art compared to $244.8m in F2015 due to the timing of receipting Ruben's masterpiece Massacre of the Innocents announced in 2002. AGO's Annual Review only highlights the art work it purchased, not the art work donated. In F2016, AGO spent $0.7m on new art compared with $5.8m in F2015. 

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Combining the AGO Foundation and AGO, AGO is one of Canada's 100 Major charities with cash donations of $32.6m in F2016. In 2015 AGO was Canada's second largest charity with the $244.8m in donated art - a historic year. Charity Intelligence consolidates AGO Foundation as it has no staff, with AGO covering all operating and fundraising costs. On a consolidated basis, AGO's administrative and management costs are 7% of total revenues and fundraising costs are 15% of donations (including $22.4m donated to AGO Foundation). With this donation to AGO Foundation, and AGO Foundation's investment income, AGO had operating cash flow surplus of $27.3m before amortization costs of $9.2m. Given AGO's significant building and maintenance costs, donors should consider including amortization/depreciation as an operating expense.

AGO and its foundation have combined funding reserves of $90.4m of which $65.2m are donor endowed. Excluding the endowment, AGO's funding reserves cover 72% of annual operating costs indicating a need for funding. Also of note is the foundation's assets of $73.5m produced strong investment returns of $5.6m of which only $1.9m contributed to the AGO's operations. Most investment income was reinvested rather than distributed to AGO operations.

Like every other art museum, AGO's vast collection of art is NOT included in its asset values. AGO's collection of 91,100 artworks is carried at a nominal value of $1,000. In F2016, AGO sold 78 items for $2.5m to buy more art in the future. AGO reports that 4,000 artworks (4%) are displayed at any one time. The remainder are in storage. Art policy economists note that typically only 15% of an art museum's collection is "display quality" with the remainder in permanent storage. This is gaining greater attention from art donors who are stipulating that donated art be given broader public display often sharing with smaller, provincial galleries.

AGO's restaurant and gift shop contribute a negligible $0.2m from annual sales of $13.2m (1.5% net profit margins).  Running a museum is an expensive proposition: AGO's annual operating costs are $55 per visit.

Operating costs are fixed at approximately $40m, of which $33.9m is staff and labour costs. Staff levels have remained fairly constant at 318 full-time staff with 258 part-time staff. The average salary for full-time staff is $85,085. AGO reports it does use external fundraisers. External fundraisers raised $1.2m in F2016 - a minor share of AGO donations showing a limited role - retaining $0.3m (29%). It is more cost efficient for donors to support AGO directly rather than through third parties.

This charity report is an update that is being reviewed by the Art Gallery of Ontario. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on January 30, 2017 by Kate Bahen.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 6.8%2.4%10.5%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 14.5%28.5%31.4%
Program cost coverage (%) 263.7%159.3%155.7%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 32,56515,96415,675
Goods in kind 24,638244,7875,165
Government funding 22,76723,64122,528
Fees for service 9,5189,74910,670
Business activities (net) 174395564
Investment income 5,9235,9635,818
Other income 1,5771,3091,133
Total revenues 97,162301,80861,552
Program costs 58,914284,74840,730
Administrative costs 6,2277,1205,856
Fundraising costs 4,7114,5424,918
Cash flow from operations 27,3115,39810,048
Funding reserves 90,38863,67355,363

Note: Ci has excluded the charity’s donated works of art from the program cost coverage ratio. Donated arts varies materially year to year. Ci has consolidated the income statements and balance sheets for AGO and AGO Foundation although these are separate charities and not noted by the auditor as related parties. AGO Foundation has no staff so its fundraising must be done by AGO staff. Also some of AGO's directors are AGO Foundation directors. Grants from AGO Foundation to AGO and from AGO to the AGO Foundation are excluded from donations and grants. The information for AGO Foundation is from T3010 filings rather than audited financial statements. Ci presents "business activities" (gift shop and restaurant sales) as net profit. This reduces revenues and expenses by $13.1m in F2016, $13.1m in F2015, and $12.9m in F2014.  To present for donors when donations actually arrived, Ci has unwound deferred donations $0m in F2016, $1.3m in F2015, and $3.8m in F2014.  

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 318

Avg. Compensation $85,085

Top 10 staff salary range

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2016

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