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AGO Announces Lead Inaugural Partner

(Toronto, September 3, 2008) The Art Gallery of Ontario announces a three-year partnership with BMO Financial Group as Lead Inaugural Partner of its grand opening and Signature Partner of the Canadian Collection Program. The AGO has been transformed by celebrated architect and Toronto-born Frank Gehry and is his first Canadian building.

“The generous commitment and support of BMO Financial Group builds on the vision of the late Ken Thomson, and we are pleased BMO can share in this exciting moment in the Gallery’s history,” says AGO director and CEO Matthew Teitelbaum.

Supported by BMO Financial Group as Lead Inaugural Partner, the new Art Gallery of Ontario will open to the public on Friday, November 14 with three days of free admission. The opening day begins with a special ceremony in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. This event is followed by an opening ceremony featuring remarks from Matthew Teitelbaum, Frank Gehry and key individuals who made the new AGO a reality. Following the ceremony, some of Canada’s newest citizens will be among the first to experience the AGO.

As the Signature Partner of the Canadian Collection Program, BMO will support the next three years of planned activities to engage visitors in Canadian art, including special lectures and tours.

As part of the partnership, BMO will also be the lead sponsor of an exhibition presenting work by renowned Canadian photographer Ed Burtynsky. This exhibition features a series of photographs capturing the complexity and beauty of the various stages of the AGO’s transformation.

“The new Gehry-designed AGO is one of the most important cultural institutions of our time, and BMO Financial Group wanted to be part of this wonderful celebration for Toronto,” says Gilles Ouellette, President and CEO, Private Client Group, BMO Financial Group, and Deputy Chair, BMO Nesbitt Burns. “Our support of the AGO's Canadian Collection Program is extremely important in BMO’s long-term commitment to Canadian art.”

BMO has shared a 30-year history with the AGO, most recently sponsoring a David Milne exhibition in 2006 and the AGO’s annual fundraising party Shadow Ball in 2007. BMO is also a major donor to the Transformation AGO campaign.

Transformation AGO is generously supported by the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario through the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program. The launch of the transformed AGO is generously supported by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund.

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For media information or visuals, please call:
Antonietta Mirabelli, 416 979 6660, ext. 454, Antonietta_Mirabelli@ago.net

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Culture. Additional operating support is received from the Volunteers of the AGO, the City of Toronto, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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