The Best Museums in Toronto
The best museums in Toronto bring merit to the cliche that learning can be fun. Yes, yes, cringe if you must, but tell me it's not exciting to explore an AVRO Arrow metal replica at the Canadian Air & Space Museum or take shots on net at the Hockey Hall of Fame. The best museums in Toronto take you back to different times, across continents, to different cultures and foreign experiences, all while still making it home in time for dinner. And some of them, for that matter, offer pretty good meals on-site too.
Here is the list of the best museums in Toronto, as voted by the readers of this site.
Ah, the ROM. No surprise this one was voted #1. Despite what you may think of its more recent structural developments, the ROM has consistently served as a reliable source for new and exciting exhibits, courses, lectures and more. Many of us have grown up with the ROM, experiencing good times exploring the dinosaur bones, and bad moments losing bladder control in a bat cave that was just too realistic. Ah well, high school is an embarrassing time.
Hockey Hall of Fame
While the Toronto Maple Leafs haven't brought the Stanley Cup "home," per se, in more than 50 years, lucky Torontonians can get up close and personal with it anytime by visiting the anyhow at the Hockey Hall of Fame. The interactive exhibits also make this museum a fun one to visit with friends, and a good source for a hockey fix during the offseason, also known as baseball season.
Bata Shoe Museum
I'll always remember that first time I saw a pair of Elton John's shoes in real life. I'm pretty sure I just glanced at them, then moved onto the next pair. In any case, the Bata Shoe Museum is a great place for anyone interested in the history of fashion, with fabulous exhibits and featured shows illustrating just how extreme fancy footwear can get. We'll probably see Crocs there in 30 years.
The Gardiner Museum
The Gardiner Museum is a haven for ceramic lovers, exhibiting some of the most interesting creations made from clay. The exhibitions are always changing and feature artists from all over the world. And if seeing plates gets you hungry (as I imagine it probably would) The Gardiner has added Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner, a restaurant offers eats made with local and organic ingredients.
The Design Exchange
Many of us know The Design Exchange as a great venue to host events. But yes, it is also a museum, promoting the art of design and architecture. It has both on-site and online exhibitions, and offers tours of the Historic Trading Floor, exhibits, as well as other adult and youth programs.
The Textile Museum of Canada
I'm heavily resisting the urge to make a terrible joke about how this is the museum for the "touchy feely type." The Textile Museum has more than 12,000 objects from more than 200 countries and regions, exploring clothing, fabrics, patterns, and decorations. It has both permanent and visiting exhibitions, including its permanent fibrespace gallery, which is a hands-on exhibit for the touchy feely type. Sorry.
Historic Fort York is the place to go for history buffs, as the site hosts Canada's largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings. For a more interactive experience, it's best to visit Fort York in the summer, where you can watch Fort York Guard demonstrations, cannon firings, flag raisings, and cooking demonstrations, which come with my own personal favourite Fort York activity--tasting.
Archives of Ontario
Archives of Ontario is a great place to check out if you're looking for a wealth of information on a variety of different topics. In the spirit of the recent Royal Wedding, you might be keen to check out the exhibit on Queen Elizabeth, then perhaps move on to the history of Eaton's, exploring toys throughout the decades, followed by the history of education in Ontario. What better way to get geared up for the upcoming provincial elections?!
If you're feeling nostalgic for the good old days of broadcast, a trip to the CBC Museum would surely be in order. The CBC Museum has over 4000 artifacts including old broadcasting equipment, allowing you to finally see what a reel to reel machine looks like when its not being stored in your grandparents' attic.
Canadian Air & Space Museum
Again resisting the urge to opine predictably that the Canadian Air & Space Museum is "out of this world." Housed in the original 1929 home of the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada, the Canadian Air & Space Museum (formerly the Toronto Aerospace Museum) boasts a collection of artifacts and full-size aircraft, as well as flight training simulators used in the 1940s and 1950s.
The MZTV Museum of Television
The MZTV Museum of Television is all about television--the object. It has one of the most comprehensive collections of television sets in North America, with tubes form the 1920s onward. The MZTV Museum of Television also has a collection of permanent online exhibits, including "Television in Quotes" and "The Pioneers of Television."
Arthur Conan Doyle Collection
The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection at the Toronto Reference Library is devoted to the life and work of the famous Sherlock Holmes author. Visitors can browse freely, exploring different editions of Doyle's works, translations, adaptations, and parodies. Started in 1969, the collection continue to grow today.