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The art of a good proposal

Love is in the air! Here’s the story of how one art-loving couple got engaged in the AGO’s breathtaking Galleria Italia.  

Engaged Couple

Image by Emma Arsenault

It’s officially the season of love! We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day (or Palentine’s Day, if you prefer) with the true love story of Jessica Regan and Ahjton Roberts. Frequent AGO date night visitors, the couple got engaged in Galleria Italia this past October.

AGO: When did you meet?
Jessica: We met through a mutual friend who was in the same program that I was in at the University of Windsor. Ahjton reached out to me, hoping we could get to know each other.

AGO: So that means you have been together for…?
Ahjton: Four and a half years… and counting!

AGO: Tell us about the day you got engaged. How did the proposal happen?
Ahjton: It was stressful because I wanted as much intimacy in the moment as possible. I went to the AGO the day before to scout out multiple locations and get tickets for everyone involved. 

Jessica: Ahjton wanted it to be a surprise, so he told me that we would be going to an Adidas Thanksgiving event at the AGO (he is a brand ambassador for Adidas Canada). He told me it would be black tie and very formal so I should dress up and do my nails. I have never seen Ahjton press me so much about what I was wearing!

AGO: Very clever. How did Ahjton pop the question?
We were early getting to the AGO, so Ahjton suggested we check out some art before the event. When we walked into Galleria Italia, he asked if I wanted some photos near the artwork. While posing, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed some odd people wearing hoods, sitting nearby. At that point, Ahjton started his proposal speech. I was so taken aback and breathless I can’t even remember what he said, but I do remember him getting down on one knee.

AGO: What was going through your head Ahjton?
: When we got into Galleria Italia, it was a sunny day that lit the space perfectly. My beautiful now-fiancée was balancing a mixture of confusion and frustration when I clearly began to stall instead of going straight to our “event.” When I finally got down on one knee and my friends came out of hiding to capture the moment, it wasn’t a rushed experience. Even the visitors at the Gallery saw what was happening and respected our time. It couldn’t have been a smoother experience.

AGO: What made the AGO the perfect proposal backdrop?  
Jessica: Ahjton and I love art. We make an effort to check out local art galleries when we travel. He knows how much I like the AGO because I frequently visit on free Wednesdays evenings.

Ahjton: We have had so many funny memories at the AGO, and I wanted a beautiful background for our engagement photos. I knew she would look so beautiful with the natural light and wood in Galleria Italia.
AGO: Do you have any advice for others preparing to pop the big question?  
Jessica: It was really nice having Ahjton’s best friend there to help capture the moment. His friend was so proud. Having a solid group of people around you on that day is amazing.

Planning to surprise your special someone with a special date night? Or maybe even a proposal? Unlimited admission to the AGO Collection and all special exhibitions is free for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass and everyone 25 and under.

Already engaged and interested in checking out the AGO as a wedding venue? Visit for details, or email to start a conversation.

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