Toronto Museums and Art Galleries offer something for EVERY interest! Here is an introduction to some of the most popular ... plus a few unique places to explore.
FIRST, the BIGGIES!
Locally known as the ROM (to rhyme with Tom), The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the biggest museums in Toronto and a definite MUST-SEE.
The golden mosaic dome of Venetian glass, the great totem pole in the staircase, the Buddha room in the Chinese galleries, the Bat Cave, the dinosaur display … regular visitors count these among their favourite features. The Canadiana section is great introduction to Canadian culture, history, and art work. Hosts international exhibits and offers lots of tours, educational programming, musical events, etc.
A fairy tale castle with a Sleeping Beauty past. Canada's only castle.
Culture vultures won’t want to miss the AGO, Ontario's largest public art gallery. Recently reopened after extensive renovations, its holdings of 68,000 works include Canadian and international pieces. Some examples: the Group of Seven, Cornelius Kreighoff, a famous Henry Moore sculpture court, Rodin, Monet, Picasso. More information
Ontario Science Centre
Poll any group of local kids and you’ll find that after more than three decades, the Ontario Science Centre remains a class favourite. Children can’t wait to put their hand on the Van de Graaff generator, that magic silver ball that makes your hair stand up.
Toronto has many historic museums but this is the biggest... it's an entire VILLAGE. It features 40 heritage buildings and you can easily spend half or a whole day here. For other history museums check this page under "Toronto": Ontario History
NOW, for some of the smaller, but UNIQUE museums!
Bata Shoe Museum
Definitely one of the weirder Toronto Museums. The wacky Bata Shoe Museum, shaped like a shoebox, features a collection of footwear from all around the world, dating back centuries. 12,500 artifacts. Everything from antique beaded Aboriginal footwear to Marilyn Monroe's red leather pumps.
Fort York Toronto is a popular living history museum. It boasts Canada’s largest collection of buildings from the War of 1812.
Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Arts
Across the street from the ROM you can visit the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Arts, with Canada’s largest collection of pre-Columbian pottery, plus contemporary ceramics, fine porcelain, maiolica and delftware. They run several temporary shows a year so keep an eye out for upcoming exhibits.
The shrine for Canada's national sport. A must-see for hockey fanatics. Covers the NHL, amateur teams and the Olympics.
Aga Khan is North America's only museum devoted to Islamic Art. Read my detailed review (link above).
This was the last home of William Lyon Mackenzie, a leader of the 1837 rebellion, Toronto's first mayor, and journalist/writer. It's also a good example of how the middle class lived in the 1860s.
A little off the beaten track, but well worth a visit to see what life was like in a tavern/inn in the 1800s.Spadina House
This next door neighbour of Casa Loma doesn't get as much attention as the "Castle" but it's a great old mansion filled with wonderful antiques, all belonging to four generations of one family.
Textile Museum of Canada
Not far from the AGO, tucked away in a squat tower on Centre Street in downtown Chinatown, you’ll find the Textile Museum of Canada. Surprises await here! Every kind of textile art you can imagine is housed in this little jewel: carpets, wall hangings, embroidery, and so on.