For Canada 150, let’s build a national portrait gallery

Action on creating a much-needed cultural institution is long overdue – the time has come for Canada to have its own national portrait gallery.

Since the 19th century, the National Archives of Canada has accumulated, and continues to accumulate, the world’s second-largest collection of portraits. These are portraits of Canadians from all walks of life and periods in our history. If they were put on display, they could tell a profound story about our nation through the people who have called this vast land home.

Many countries, including England, the United States and Australia, have permanent national portrait galleries that are prominently featured in their capital cities. Interestingly, young people make up the majority of attendees: in London and Washington, D.C., almost half are under the age of 35 years. These galleries are exciting, open to all, and are active participants in the life of their respective nations.

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