Toronto is home to some of the most well-known museums in the country and the world. Here are some of the best museums to visit in Toronto, whether you are visiting the city, or you live there.
This article is by Anthony Bradford
ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM
The Royal Ontario Museum, or ROM, is the quintessential museum. Displays explore all parts of the universe – earth, water and sky, human, animal and amoeba. See exhibits on ancient or contemporary cultures from around the world (including Canada), fossils, world art, textiles and design. The ROM also hosts a number of exhibits from other countries, and in the past has hosted well-known exhibits such as “The Warrior Emperor and China's Terracotta Army” and Ghanian artist El Anatsui's art exhibit “When I last wrote to you about Africa”.
Location: 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON
ONTARIO SCIENCE CENTRE
The Ontario Science Centre is a great place for kids, but adults will also enjoy a day there. Kidspark, for children 8 and under, lets young people explore and build space. Teenagers can experiment and innovate at the Weston Family Innovation Centre, challenging themselves with science problems.
Adults can enjoy time at Café Scientifique, engaging in dialogue of scientific and technological relevance. And then there's the IMAX theatre, where the whole family can enjoy movies about the world around them.
Location: 770 Don Mills Road Toronto, Ontario
HOCKEY HALL OF FAME
Hockey lovers, young and old, come to the Hockey Hall of Fame to see the best of the world of hockey. See the Stanley Cup, take a walk down memory lane by reliving some of hockey's greatest moments, and see hockey memorabilia from all over the world. See the Induction Showcase. Walk through the “NHL Zone”, and see displays and memorabilia from hockey legends and current players and builders. Explore the history of hockey television broadcasts at “TSN/RDS's Broadcast Zone”, and live out your NHL fantasy at the “NHLPA Be A Player Zone”. Learn more about international hockey in the “Tissot World of Hockey Zone”.
Location: Brookfield Place, 30 Yonge St, Toronto, Ontario
BATA SHOE MUSEUM
Here it is – everything you ever wanted to know about footwear throughout the centuries. It is said that one's shoes can tell the story of one's life, and at the Bata Shoe Museum, there are a lot of stories. Learn about Native North American moccasins, shoemaking traditions around the world, or how shoes define status in different cultures.
There are more than 1000 pieces of footwear there, with permanent exhibits and a number of rotating exhibits.
Location: 327 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON
FORT YORK NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
This site is right downtown in Toronto, and with guided tours, the summer ritual Fort York Guard demonstration, and museum exhibits, Fort York gives visitors an inside look at the garrison and its importance during the War of 1812.
Location: 100 Garrison Rd, Toronto, ON
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY CANADIAN ART
The Museum of Contemporary Art, or MOCCA, was founded in 1999, and is dedicated to promoting Canadian and international artists who use their passion to address the challenges in our world. MOCCA believes art should engage its audience, and get people talking about issues that affect us all. Art in all forms – such as paint, sculpture, film- are regularly displayed at MOCCA. The MOCCA Courtyard provides a public space to showcase art.
Location: 952 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario
BLACK CREEK PIONEER VILLAGE
Black Creek Pioneer Village brings back the memories of school trips to historical villages where staff dressed up as blacksmiths, store clerks and millers to give visitors a taste of what life was like in the 1800's. And, while the memory of those trips may put you to sleep, Black Creek pioneer village will wake you up. There is so much to do here for everyone in the family. You can find out how everyday items were made long ago at the “How it's Made” expedition, explore the village and see the Doctor's Medicinal Garden or the Weaver's Shop. Children can walk a Country Kids' Trail with their parents, and wander around the village to different activities.
Adults can visit the Black Creek Historic Brewery, and tour a working brewery that operates as it did in the mid-1800's, with the added bonus of tasting the handcrafted ale.
Location: 1000 Murray Ross Pkwy, Toronto, ON M3J 2P3
MUSEUM OF INUIT ART
The Museum of Inuit Art (MIA) is a showcase of Inuit art from the past and present. The museum looks to educate people on the importance if Inuit art, and with permanent exhibits and rotating exhibits of art in all forms, the museum is a great place for new and old admirers of Inuit art. Visitors can see works by such artists as Tim Pitsiulak, Ningeokuluk Teevee, Shuvinai Ashoona and Nicotye Samayualie. Past documentaries by filmmakers such as Alethea Arnaquq-Baril (“Tunnit: Retracing the lines of Inuit Tatoos”) have given visitors insight into the importance of past customs in Inuit culture.
Location: 207 Queen's Quay West, Toronto
The Design Exchange is the only museum in Canada that showcases design artistry, in areas such as graphics and digital design, architecture, furniture and fashion, with a focus on showing the relevance of design to our lives. Past exhibits have given visitors a look at the Hermès workshops in France, the history of French lingerie, and DXUNCRATED – Playing Favourites, a look at Canadian Architecture.
Location: 234 Bay St., Toronto, ON
The inn initially made the list because visitors can arrange to spend the afternoon making a meal the way it would have been done in 1860 – over an open fire – and using LOTS of butter. But it is also a place that is growing, and with programs for children such as “Magda Marches On”, a puppetry and storytelling adventure that explores the day to day life in an 1840s inn, and “Time Travelling at the Inn”, which explores early settler immigration, it scores extra points. Montgomery's Inn Farmers Market gives visitors the chance to buy veggies, meat, cheese, baked good and preserves. Enjoy events such as a community corn roast and early music fair.
Location: 4709 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON
OSBORNE COLLECTION OF EARLY CHILDREN'S BOOKS
The Osborne Collection, on the fourth floor of the Lillian H, Smith branch of the Toronto Public Library, is home to a vast collection of children's books dating for the fourteenth century to 1910. There are three parts to the collection: the Lillian H. Smith Collection exhibits modern titles, manuscripts and illustrations from authors such as Susan Cooper, Margaret Bloy Graham, and Maurice Sendak; the Osborne Collection has older texts, such as a fourteenth-century manuscript of Aesop's fables; and the Canadiana Collection has text specific to Canada, such as the 1859 manuscript for the first Canadian picture book, An Illustrated Comic Alphabet.
Location: 4th floor, Toronto Public Library, Lillian H. Smith branch. 239 College Street, Toronto, ON