Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada


Ottawa (Ontario) - December 8, 2009

It has been a tradition since 1988. Every holiday season, the National Gallery of Canada fills its magnificent Great Hall with the fresh scent of spruce and the brilliance of 10,000 glittering lights. The Gallery’s majestic tree will be aglow from December 10, 2009 to January 3, 2010, its decorative lights generously sponsored by Black & McDonald for the third consecutive year.

Harvested from a tree farm in Sherbrooke, Quebec, this 40-year old spruce tree is 12.2 metres high (40 feet) and 7.6 metres (25 feet) wide and weighs approximately 1,136 kg (2,500 lbs). An entire day is set aside to install and decorate the tree, which involves the use of special hoists to stand it upright.

“With its commanding presence in the heart of the National Gallery, the annual tree is a must-see for all who treasure the magical gift of light on short winter days,” said Marc Mayer, Director of the National Gallery of Canada. “We know many of our repeat visitors look forward to seeing our tree every year and we wish to thank the National Gallery of Canada Foundation and its partners for helping us continue the tradition.”

Lighting ceremony December 9, at 6 pm
The lighting ceremony will take place on December 9 at 6 pm in the presence of some 300 patrons attending the NGC Foundation’s annual donor reception held to honour their support.

“We are privileged to enjoy a warm friendship with our large family of patrons and partners,” said Marie Claire Morin, President and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. “On this special evening, it is our great pleasure to express our gratitude for their loyal support. My thanks also go to Black & McDonald, who generously agreed to sponsor the Gallery’s Christmas tree once again this year.”

This year, a member of the Canadian Forces and his family will light the tree, as a tribute to all those in the Canadian Forces serving Canada at home and abroad, marking the National Gallery’s new membership categories for members of the military and their families.

Café l’Entrée extends hours in December
Visitors can enjoy the tree from the best seats in the house—in Café l'Entrée, the licensed restaurant that is also situated in the Gallery’s Great Hall. Perfect for lunch or afternoon tea, the Café's menu emphasizes elegantly prepared, light foods and fine pastries. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm. During the month of December, Café l’Entrée will be extending its hours to 8 pm on Thursdays.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art in the world. In addition, it has pre-eminent collections of Indigenous, Western and European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, American and Asian Art as well as drawings and photography. Created in 1880, it is among the oldest of Canada’s national, cultural institutions. As part of its mandate to make Canadian art accessible across the country, the NGC has one of the largest touring exhibition programs in North America.

About the National Gallery of Canada Foundation
Established in 1997, the National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to providing the National Gallery of Canada with the additional financial support needed to preserve and promote Canada's rich visual art heritage and make art accessible and meaningful to Canadians. The blend of private philanthropy and public support is vital to the National Gallery’s ability to carry out its programs and fulfill its unique mandate. The Foundation welcomes immediate and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments.

About Black & McDonald
Established in 1921, Black & McDonald is an integrated, multi-trade contractor providing electrical, mechanical, utility and maintenance services to government, industrial, commercial and institutional markets. From emergency service calls to multi-million dollar construction and operation contracts, Black & McDonald is committed to implementing innovative services to complex technical requirements facing every customer. With over 3,000 employees, the company operates 20 offices in Canada, the United States and selected global markets.

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Note to editors: Media are invited to attend the lighting ceremony on Wednesday December 9 at 6 pm. Please RSVP to Lyse Teasdale.

For more information, please contact:

Marie Lugli
Acting Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada

Josée-Britanie Mallet
Acting Manager, Communications and Public Relations
National Gallery of Canada

Lyse Teasdale
Chief, Communications and Stewardship
National Gallery of Canada Foundation