The WAG was established in 1912 when a group of Winnipeg businessmen, recognizing "the civilizing effects of art," each contributed $200 and rented two rooms in the old Federal Building at the corner of Main and Water Streets. Thus, the WAG was born, becoming the first civic art gallery in Canada. Now approaching its centenary in 2012, the Winnipeg Art Gallery has developed from a small civic gallery to Canada’s sixth largest gallery with an international reputation.
Recently, the WAG has undergone two major renovations. The first, over a period of two years from 2003 to 2005, expanded the vault storage area, significantly enhancing the Gallery’s ability to manage, care, and transport its collections. Then in 2008-09, the WAG received the necessary funding to entirely replace its aging roof, and to transform its celebrated rooftop back to its original splendour and purpose as a sculpture garden. The WAG’s highest gallery space is once again the most famous rooftop in the city for all to enjoy.