When George Gardiner began collecting ceramics in 1976, he was only interested in decorating his home. But soon his passion for pottery and porcelain grew, and, rather than build a second home entirely from teapots, he co-founded the Gardiner Museum in 1984 with his wife, Helen. Today, the museum's collection has ballooned to include more than 3,000 pieces, encompassing everything from Japanese sake pots and Canadian ceramic sculptures to Italian Renaissance maiolica plates.
Objects from the core collection share space in the museum with special exhibitions. One of these is the annual 12 Trees of Christmas, a display of holiday trees. The museum supplements its showings with events such as lectures and ceramics-inspired meals, as well as clay classes for budding adult and child ceramicists. Visitors can even take home pieces from the Gardiner Shop, which sells Canadian ceramics, as well as international jewelry, scarves, and glasswork.