Arts Etobicoke

Summary of organization/program

Established in 1973 to provide a united voice for the local arts community, we are recognized as one of Canada’s finest community arts councils. We are proud to support established and aspiring artists of all ages and backgrounds with a broad variety of activities and services, including arts education, advocacy, community space and much more.

Contact information


 4893A Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M9A 1B2

 (416) 622-8731


Geographic region

  • Local


  • Youth

History/Background Information

Established in 1973, Arts Etobicoke is a membership-based organization that grew out of the desire of Etobicoke arts organizations to work cooperatively to achieve a number of common objectives.

From 13 groups in 1973, Arts Etobicoke today represents 55 arts and cultural organizations from all disciplines in the community. Over the past 3 decades Arts Etobicoke’s role has changed and evolved, as local arts groups became more sophisticated and public demand for arts activities and opportunities increased.

Today Arts Etobicoke has a greater focus on community arts development initiatives designed to address gaps in programming, target specific audiences or underserved communities such as North Etobicoke and developing future audiences and artists through arts education activities.

A permanent secretariat was established in 1973, with an Executive Director and Administrative Manager. In 2004, Christine McIvor, Executive Director for 25 years, retired from the organization. Louise Garfield, an experienced arts administrator and artist with a background in film and television production, theatre and dance became the new Executive Director.


  • 1973 – Etobicoke Performing Arts Council became Arts Etobicoke. A 20 member Board of Directors is elected

  • 1978 – Christine McIvor is appointed Executive Director

  • 1980 – Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts is established annually by Arts Etobicoke

  • 1981 – Annual Juried Art Show is established

  • 1985 – Corporate Art Rental and Sales service is established

  • 1988 – Annual Student Art Show “Introspections” for GTA high school students

  • 1991 – Autumn Artsfest kicks off inaugural year

  • 1995 – Arts Discovery program is launched with Toronto District School Board and Toronto Catholic School Board in elementary schools

  • 1999 – Presidents’ Legacy Scholarship Fund is established with Ontario Arts Foundation Endowment Fund

  • 2002 – Full Circle Poetry Contest with Scarborough Arts Council and Lakeshore Arts begins collaboration

  • 2002 – Props Theatre project debuts at North Albion Collegiate Institute with Expect Theatre at the helm.

  • 2003 – Arts Etobicoke sponsors Exploring Creativity in Depth workshops with The Milkweed Collective and begins ongoing collaboration

  • 2004 – Christine McIvor, Executive Director for over 25 years, retires from the organization.

  • 2004 – Louise Garfield is appointed new Executive Director.

  • 2004 – Toronto West Youth Short Film and Video Project is launched

  • 2005 – Arts Etobicoke moves to Storefront Gallery location in heart of Islington Village. Makes major donation of archival material to City of Toronto Archives

  • 2006 – urbanNOISE, a training program and Festival for at-risk youth in Rexdale is launched in collaboration with Expect Theatre

  • 2007 – Saturday Storefront Art Classes are launched for all ages

  • 2007 – From 3 to 3, a multi-cultural literacy program for young children is supported through the University of Toronto Centre for Community Partnerships

  • 2008 – 35th Anniversary is celebrated with a garden party at Montgomery’s Inn. Take a look at our 35th Anniversary Program.

  • 2009 – Art on the Move, a mobile art project is launched in collaboration with sister organization, Lakeshore Arts

  • 2009 – MABELLEarts, a legacy project of Jumblies Theatre based in Toronto Community Housing at Cordova Avenue, becomes a mentored organization of Arts Etobicoke

  • 2010 – Art Alley, a poetry mural with original poem by Toronto’s Poet Laureate Dionne Brand is created under the banner of Amnesty International’s Project: Urban Canvas

Dominant Media Forms

fine arts


Our mission is to engage the people of West Toronto with the arts and artists in their own community.

Statement of Principles

not provided


not provided

Samples of work

Click here to access sample of projects. 

Funding Sources

Operating funding for Arts Etobicoke comes from the City of Toronto, Culture Division and the Ontario Arts Council. The balance of our funding is raised through memberships, corporate sponsorships, donations, foundations, project grants, art rental and sales and fundraising events.

Click here to see our supporters.

Click here to download our Annual Report