Toronto has a large number of museums that are worth visiting. This article describes some of the most well-reviewed institutions that the city has to offer.
The Top Museums in Toronto
This article does not contain every museum in the city as that would be way too long for one list. There are plenty of ones worth visiting, but the ones below are some of the best and most popular places in the city.
Aga Khan Museum
The Aga Khan Museum is unique in that it’s the first museum entirely focused on Islamic civilization and culture to be built in a non-predominantly Islamic country.
Located at 77 Wynford Drive, the Aga Khan a relatively new museum that opened in 2014. There are artifacts in its collections that date back over 1,000 years, with art, religious manuscripts, technology and more on display. The building itself is a piece of art as its exterior walls are designed to act like a sundial as the day goes by.
For more information, visit the Aga Khan Museum website.
Art Gallery of Ontario
The Art Gallery of Ontario has one of the most extensive collections of art on the continent. The gallery’s entire complex covers nearly half a million square feet so there is always a ton to explore. There are large exhibitions of Canadian art always on display, including many works from the famed Group of Seven. The rotating temporary exhibitions bring in works from around the globe in all sorts of styles and mediums.
Located at 317 Dundas Street West, the building was designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, who is from Toronto.
To learn more, see our article about the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Bata Shoe Museum
This museum has the largest collection of shoes in the world. It’s not expensive. It’s also not one of the most packed museums in the city either which can make it a nice place to visit.
Located at 327 Bloor Street West, this museum is a very short walk away from the Royal Ontario Museum. Housed in a building appropriately designed to look like a shoebox, there are thousands of items on display. They range from shoes worn by Queen Victoria and Terry Fox to footwear worn by people from various ancient civilizations.
For more details, visit the Bata Shoe Museum website.
When you think of Toronto you might not think of medieval-style castles, but that’s what Casa Loma is! It’s a little over a century old and was originally designed to be a private residence. Today, Casa Loma has been turned into a museum and is a popular attraction to visit.
Much of the original design has remained intact, with various fun sections of the property to explore including big gardens, an 800-foot underground tunnel, art displays and more. The castle is located at 1 Austin Terrace and hosts different events throughout the year on top of its public tours.
For more information, see the Casa Loma website.
At 111 Queens Park, the Gardiner Museum is directly across the street from the Royal Ontario Museum. This one is definitely smaller than its more famous neighbour, but still a good museum in its own right.
The Gardiner Museum is all about ceramics, with thousands of pottery pieces on display. For those interested in a more hands-on experience the museum offers classes that allow you to try out the pottery-making process yourself. There’s also a terrace on the upper floors that provides great views of the surrounding area.
To learn more, check out the Gardiner Museum website.
Hockey Hall of Fame
Speaking of more hands-on experiences, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a great place for that. From the chance to pose with the Stanley Cup to interactive stickhandling and goaltending games, this is a must-visit for anyone who likes hockey.
The building is located at 30 Yonge Street and there are a wide variety of exhibitions on display. Visitors can go from learning about all the members inducted into the Hall of Fame to stepping into a complete re-creation of an NHL dressing room. Hockey is Canada’s sport and this is a great shrine for it!
For more details, click Hockey Hall of Fame.
This museum is the smallest one on the list, consisting of a former residential house at 82 Bond Street. The house in question belonged to William Lyon Mackenzie, the first mayor of Toronto and grandfather of the famous Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. A man with a colourful history, this house covers his own story and provides an example of what 19th century life was like in Toronto. The building is also said to be haunted!
To learn more, visit the Mackenzie House website.
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Toronto Museum of Contemporary Art moved to a new location at 158 Sterling Road in 2018. This larger building allows for an increased number of exhibits with a focus on local artists. There are plenty of displays from Canadian and international artists in all forms, styles and mediums in the exhibitions. The museum is housed in the Tower Automotive Building which is a heritage site in its own right.
For more information, click Museum of Contemporary Art.
Museum of Illusions
Located at 132 Front Street East, this museum is unique in that it sets out to try and bend your mind a little. From small puzzles to entire rooms with different warped realities, exploring the Museum of Illusions is a full-body experience.
There’s a fully rotated room, one designated as being “anti-gravity,” and the intriguingly named Infinity and Vortex Tunnels. The museum is designed for those of all ages and is a good way to exercise your brain.
To learn more, check out the Museum of Illusions website.
Royal Ontario Museum
The ROM is the most famous museum in the city and the biggest in Canada. There are millions of items on display or in various collections in this building located at 100 Queens Park. Focusing mainly on natural history, you can see everything from ancient fossils to samurai swords.
While the dinosaurs and human artifacts from thousands of years ago might steal the show, there are also extensive displays of local Indigenous art and continually rotating guest exhibitions. There is also plenty of content to explore online in the ROM at Home collection.
For more information, see our article about the Royal Ontario Museum.
Textile Museum of Canada
This Textile Museum of Canada has grown tremendously since it first opened its doors. There are over 10,000 items in its collections, with fabrics of all kinds that date back to the times of BCE.
Located at 55 Centre Avenue, there are additional offerings on top of the standard exhibits. This includes a library with thousands of books, a variety of workshops for people of all ages, and advice and help with how to properly care for your own textiles.
For more information, visit the Textile Museum of Canada website.
Other articles that might be of interest both on this website and sites include the following:
- Toronto’s Top Attractions
- Toronto’s Calendar of Events
- Ottawa’s Top Attractions
- Montreal’s Top Attractions
- Quebec’s Top Attractions
- Vancouver’s Top Attractions
- Victoria’s Top Attractions