Toronto is bursting with fun and culture, and it offers a museum to suit every taste and interest. These are our ten favourites.
Founded in 1914, and recently upgraded with the Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, the ROM is a national landmark and a fascinating learning destination. With a collection of 13 million artworks, cultural objects and natural history specimens, shown throughout 40 gallery and exhibition spaces, the ROM covers art, culture and nature from around the world and through the ages.
Ontario Science Centre
Fifty years ago the Science Centre opened as one of the world’s first dedicated science museums. It continues to evolve and innovate: with a host of interactive installations and exhibit halls the museum covers many fields of science and learning like human biology, space exploration, art and design to technology, engineering and math.
One of the largest art museums in North America, and featuring a major expansion designed by Frank Gehry in 2008, the AGO boasts a permanent collection of nearly 95,000 works, ranging from cutting-edge contemporary art to European masterpieces. It has an enormous collection of Group of Seven works as well as those by established and emerging Indigenous Canadian artists. The AGO frequently brings to Toronto high-profile and exciting exhibitions, fuelled by collaboration with museums around the world.
See the Stanley Cup up close and personal, then play against life-sized animated versions of the world’s greatest shooters and goalies. More of an announcer than a player? Call the play-by-plays of some of history’s greatest goals, view hockey footage in one of two theatres and explore the most complete collection of hockey memorabilia in the world.
Pioneer Village takes you on a remarkable journey into the past. It’s a working village, similar to those established in these parts in the early 1800s. You’ll see heritage animal breeds, a tinsmith, a broom maker, a fire house, a school and much more, and you’ll get to ask the village people all about being a pioneer. It’s a bit far, but the subway drops you right there.
One of the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, the Gardiner houses approximately 4,000 objects, including European porcelain, ceramics from the ancient Americas, Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain and contemporary ceramics. Until June 9, the museum features the exhibit Unbroken by Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most influential artists and a major human rights activist.
With a focus on the artistic diversity of Islamic civilizations, the Aga Khan Museum offers insights into aspects of culture that are shared by us all. On until August 18, the exhibit The Moon: A Voyage Through Time marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing and explores the influence of the moon on faith, science and the arts across the Muslim world.
The only Canadian museum focusing on the exhibition, collection, conservation and research of the materials necessary to everyday life, the Textile Museum has a permanent collection of more than 13,000 artifacts spanning nearly 2,000 years. It also presents rotating exhibitions and brings many fascinating items to its gift shop.
With a mission to “Exhibit, research, collect and nurture innovative contemporary art and cultural practices that engage with and address issues and themes relevant to our times,” MOCA is a ground-breaking, welcoming, provocative modern art hub. It has recently moved from Queen Street West into a 55,000-square-foot purpose-designed space in a former industrial building in the Lower Junction.
Built in 1914 by financier Sir Henry Pellatt, Casa Loma is now owned by the City of Toronto and has become a treasured heritage landmark with more than 350,000 visitors a year touring the building and its surrounding gardens. As well as documenting a precious piece of Toronto history, the castle is regularly hired out for special occasions, acts as a location for film and television, and holds an escape room and a restaurant.