The National Gallery of Canada (gallery.ca) occupies a cleverly conceived building whose acres of glass reflect the turrets and pinnacles of Parliament Hill. The collection was founded in 1880 by the then-governor general, the Marquis of Lorne, who persuaded each member of the Royal Canadian Academy to donate a painting or two. Over the next century artworks were gathered from all over the world, resulting in a permanent collection now numbering more than 25,000 pieces. There’s not enough space for all the paintings to be exhibited at any one time, so although the general layout of the museum stays pretty constant, the individual works mentioned below may not be on display; the gallery also holds world-class temporary exhibitions. The collection spreads over two main levels and free plans are issued at the reception desk; the gallery shop sells guides to both the permanent collection and the exhibitions.

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19 phenomenal pictures of Canada

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Video: the most beautiful places in Canada

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