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Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is a cultural mosaic with some of the world’s finest museums. This vibrant city offers a rich tapestry of museums covering everything from sports and science to art and culture. While museums are often thought of as educational havens for children, Toronto’s museums offer a treasure trove of exhibits for adults to explore and enjoy.
Not only do Toronto’s museums offer an immersion into diverse worlds of knowledge and creativity, they also reflect the multicultural heartbeat of the city, making each visit a unique discovery.
Exploring “The Six” is incomplete without delving into the diverse cultural experiences offered by Toronto’s top museums. Here are five must-visit museums that capture the essence of Toronto’s unique culture.
Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
The ROM is Toronto’s crown jewel of museums, known as Canada’s largest, with over 40 galleries of permanent and temporary exhibits spanning art, culture, history and science.
Children are particularly drawn to the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs, which houses one of the world’s leading fossil collections. It’s an educational centre where kids can learn about world history and the heritage of Canada’s First Peoples.
For adults, the museum’s Friday Night Live series transforms the ROM into a vibrant nighttime venue with music, food and drink, offering a sophisticated museum experience.
Visitors of all ages should plan their visit to make the most of their time, as it’s easy to spend an entire day immersed in the museum’s vast collections.
Location: 100 Queens Park, Toronto Website: rom.on.ca
Bata Shoe Museum
A shoe lover’s paradise, the Bata Shoe Museum delves into the global history of footwear. Located just a short walk from the ROM, the museum surprisingly spans five floors and houses over 13,500 items from around the world.
The museum offers a unique perspective on world history through the evolution of footwear, from the painful history of foot binding to the iconic shoes worn by pop culture legends, in four dynamic galleries, including one that frequently changes its exhibits.
Location: 327 Bloor St West, Toronto Website: batashoemuseum.ca
Aga Khan Museum
A relatively new addition to Toronto’s museum scene, the Aga Khan Museum, which opened in 2014, focuses on Islamic art and culture. The museum’s architecture alone, a creation of Pritzker Prize-winning Fumihiko Maki, is worth a visit. Inside, more than a thousand artifacts tell the story of the rich history and cultural contributions of Islamic civilizations. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, workshops and performances.
Although located in North York, the museum is accessible by public transportation and offers free admission every Wednesday from 4 to 8 pm. The on-site restaurant, Diwan, offers a culinary journey in an exquisite setting.
Location: 77 Wynford Drive, Toronto Website: agakhanmuseum.org
Casa Loma, a Gothic Revival mansion built in 1914 for Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt, stands as a city castle with its 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables, and beautifully landscaped gardens. Its stunning architecture makes it a popular choice for weddings. Visitors can take a self-guided tour with headsets available in several languages, making it a picturesque spot for a leisurely picnic.
Location: 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto Website: casaloma.ca
Specializing in ceramic art, the Gardiner Museum’s collection includes more than 4,000 pieces ranging from ancient works to contemporary creations, including Chinese and Japanese porcelain and Italian maiolica. More than just a place to observe, the museum offers workshops for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced techniques. Conveniently located across the street from the ROM, it’s a perfect addition to a day of museum exploration.
Location: 111 Queens Park, Toronto Website: gardinermuseum.on.ca