In the early 1960's, a group of art dealers in Montreal decided to form an association that would represent the top dealers in Canada who were committed to setting a standard of professionalism based on respect for one another, their artists and the broader arts community.
The association was established to provide a professional platform that would set ethical standards for operating galleries, lobby government on issues affecting the visual arts, and consider the problems of fake, forged and misrepresented art sold in member galleries.
Their efforts were realized in 1966 when the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) invited a group of dealers to Stanley House, New Brunswick, to discuss establishing a closer liason with the visual arts community. The dealers who attended were: Dolores Booth, Mira Godard, Avrom Isaacs, Walter Moos, and John Robertson. David Silcox, the CCA representative, and Jake Moore, CEO of Brascon and a notable collector, were also present. As a result of this meeting, the vision of the national art dealers association was formed.
The association was officially incorporated on September 6, 1966 as the Professional Art Dealers Association of Canada/L'Association professionnelle des galeries d'art du Canada. In 2001, the membership voted to change the name to the Art Dealers Association of Canada / Association des Marchands d'Art du Canada.