Canadian Modern

Canadian Modern
  • Closed
December 3, 2022 to October 15, 2023
  • Level 4, Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles and Costume
FREE for Members


Canadian Design is Everywhere.

Do you recognize Canadian design around you? Canada's modern design and craft movement has been a dynamic part of the country's narrative from the early 20th century right up to today. Step into the latest ROM-original exhibition and explore Canada's innovative and lasting contributions to modern design and craft.

From Clairtone's Project G stereo to Fluevog footwear, this exhibition showcases one hundred examples of culturally significant, limited-edition and mass-produced objects designed and crafted in Canada, and the stories of insight, experimentation, and innovation behind them.

Inspired by everything from pop culture and the Swinging Sixties to Canada's natural landscape and the Space Race, Canadian innovation was embraced by global markets, putting the country's designs on the world stage, where many of them continue to hold a place — and function — today.

Whether it's fashion, furniture, jewellery, electronics, or ceramics, each object tells a story — some new, some nostalgic — and this exhibition invites visitors to take a fresh look at these everyday objects. Designers including Alfred Sung, Michael Massie, Hugh Spencer, Jeremy Laing, Jeff Goodman, Karin Jones, Michael Fortune, and Daphne Odjig are represented. Interviews, advertising, and digital media in the exhibition provide greater context by highlighting vision, production, and functionality.

Canadian Modern places an important ROM collection front and centre, and offers an engaging lens through which to examine and appreciate Canada's unique place in the modern design and craft movement.

Canadian Design's Bright Future

Canadian Modern offers a peek at Canada's next generation of designers through a partnership with OCAD University. Following an open submission call to current and recent students through OCADU's Career Launcher program, six works have been selected for inclusion in the exhibition by a jury of distinguished experts including OCADU's Dean of Design and Dr. Rachel Gotlieb, the exhibition's lead curator. Each work is unique and demonstrates how designers from a diverse range of backgrounds are contributing to the future of the industry. 


Canadian Modern, a companion publication to the exhibition, is written by Dr. Rachel Gotlieb and features contributions from ROM curators Dr. Arlene Gehmacher and Dr. Alexandra Palmer, along with a foreword by Josh Basseches and an afterword by Dr. Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall. The publication, available now in ROM Boutique and other select retailers, highlights designers and manufacturers along with stunning original images of several exceptional objects included in the exhibition.

Canadian Modern in the News

This exhibition is generously supported by the Royal Exhibitions Circle.