The WAG’s collection is a point of great pride among its staff, members, and constituents. We take seriously our mission to enrich culture through the collection and preservation of art. Since its founding in 1912, the WAG has acquired 25,000 works of art, collecting in the areas of Canadian and international historical and contemporary art. As well, the Gallery enjoys three specialized collections: decorative, photography, and Inuit.
The collection has been built both through donated gifts and considered purchases. Approximately 70% of Gallery acquisitions come from private donors—often dedicated collectors looking for a permanent home for their works where they will be appreciated, cared for, and put on display for others to enjoy. Artists also donate their work, such as the 2008 donation by Edward Burtynsky of 40 of his large-scale photographs. It is because of the generosity of these donors that the WAG enjoys the national position it holds as a leading collecting institution.