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Theologia, Mythical Queen of All Learning (detail) Henry Holiday, London, England 1893 Bryce Hall, University of Winnipeg

Glass Art in Canada

Stained glass in an enormous range of styles and techniques is perhaps Canada’s most widespread public art. Radiant creations illuminate 160 years of public buildings in virtually every city and town of this vast country.

Canadian studios began at least as early as 1856, founded by European-trained artists in Qu├ębec and Ontario. Windows were often commissioned from England, France, Germany and the United States, along with a few other European countries. Collectors have acquired windows dating as far back as 1533.

Of national significance in Vancouver are depictions of 30 key events in Canadian history, beginning with Giovanni Caboto’s arrival in 1497; at Canadian Memorial Chapel. Conceived as a monument to the many thousands of Canadians who died in what was still called The Great War, these elaborate representations of every Province were completed in 1928.

Today, artists and crafts people in every province continue the ancient tradition in styles ranging from the medieval and Victorian, to 20th century modernism, naive and folk art, and 21st century avant-garde.

The Institute has undertaken a wide-ranging national survey of Canada’s overlooked treasures in traditional and modern glass – your help is warmly invited.