Canadian artist Doris McCarthy (1910-2010) recognized that her home and studio in Toronto, Fool’s Paradise, nurtures the creative process. She wanted other artists to have the same opportunity to live and work at the site that had fostered so much of her own artistic expression.

To that end, the Ontario Heritage Trust has designed the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Centre to be a unique, living and working incubator for visual artists, musicians and writers of all disciplines, offering privacy and opportunity for artists to concentrate on their work. As part of the residency, artists are required to provide a mentorship opportunity to support the development of an emerging artist or artists.

It is the vision for the Centre to contribute to the artistic and cultural legacy of Doris McCarthy by demonstrating the inspirational value of the landscape and promoting excellence in Canadian art, music and writing.

How to Apply

The Trust invites individual artists, musicians and writers to apply to the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Centre for short-term residencies lasting from one to three months. The residencies will begin in January 2021.

Successful applicants will be provided with accommodation and studio space free of charge where they can concentrate on their creative work. As part of the residency, artists are required to provide a mentorship opportunity to support the development of an emerging artist or artists. At the conclusion of each residency, the artist will be asked to share something of his/her experience, practice, approach or work with the Trust, the Centre’s partners and/or the general public. These outcomes will vary, but may include an exhibit or show, a workshop, a recital of a completed work or a work in progress.

Applications must be submitted using the form found on the SlideRoom online portal. Step-by-step application instructions are available on the portal. Emerging artists who are interested in participating in the mentorship program and professional development workshops are encouraged to contact the Trust directly by email at

Program Details

Residency applications limited to individuals

The house is a small, rustic cottage. While it has ample studio and workshop space, the house was built for one individual to inhabit. For this reason, only one person will be able to live and work at the Centre at any given time. The modest house cannot accommodate groups, couples or families. Family, colleagues and small groups of friends, however, are welcome to visit.

Eligible creative disciplines

It was McCarthy’s wish that her home be made available as a retreat for visual artists, musicians, writers or other professional artists. Eligible disciplines can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • illustration
  • music composition
  • painting
  • performance art
  • photography
  • playwriting
  • poetry
  • printing
  • sculpture/installation
  • textile arts
  • writing

Professional artists

Applicants must be professional artists. A professional artist is defined as someone who: has developed skills through training and/or practice; is recognized by artists working in the same artistic tradition; has a history of public presentation or publication; or seeks payment for his/her work and actively practises his/her art. Short breaks in artistic work history are allowed. This definition is derived from the Ontario Arts Council.

Duration of residencies

The duration of each residency may vary from one to three months. Specific time frames will be confirmed with the successful candidate prior to commencement of his/her residency. A residency can start at any time during the year. There is no black-out period.

Mentorship component

As part of the residency, artists are required to provide a mentorship opportunity to support the development of an emerging artist or artists. The mentorship opportunity should be suited to the mentor’s particular skillset and experience. It could include a workshop, lecture, critique, studio visit, coaching, etc. The mentorship can occur before, during or slightly after the residency and can take place in the artist’s home community or in the GTA (the Trust can help facilitate a relationship with a local school or arts program). Mentees can be individual emerging professional artists or students. As part of the application process, artists are asked to provide a mentorship plan that outlines the type of mentorship proposed, how the mentee(s) will be chosen, when/where the mentorship will occur and a few key learning outcomes. Following the mentorship, the artist will be asked to provide the Trust with a brief summary of the experience.

Frequency of application

An artist who has been awarded and has completed a residency at the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Centre at Fool’s Paradise is not eligible for a second residency.

Legal status

Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, or have an application pending for permanent residency status.


The following are ineligible to apply for residencies:

  • groups, ensembles, collectives, co-applicants, producers, organizations
  • students enrolled in any educational institution or any learning program on a full-time or part-time basis at the undergraduate level of study
  • members of the advisory panel and their immediate families
  • individuals under the age of 18
  • staff and Board members of the Ontario Heritage Trust and their immediate families