a black and white photo of the Royal Ontario Museums in Toronto

From Canadian Art to Islamic History: Museums in Toronto to Visit

9 min read

Heading to Toronto this Summer? From the extensive collections of the Royal Ontario Museum to the interactive exhibits of the Ontario Science Centre and the cultural heritage showcased at the Aga Khan Museum, there is something for everyone. Whether you are a history buff, an art enthusiast, or someone who loves technology, Toronto’s museums offer fascinating experiences that educate, inspire, and entertain. In this article, we highlight some of the must-visit museums in Toronto, so read on to learn more before finalizing your itinerary.

21 Toronto Museums to Explore in Ontario

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

File:Royal Ontario Museum in Fall 2021.jpg
Attribution: Maksim Sokolov (Maxergon), CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6
Learn More Here: ROM Website

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is Canada’s largest museum, renowned for its extensive collections in art, culture, and natural history. The museum houses over six million items and boasts 40 galleries, offering a comprehensive look at the world’s past and present. Its iconic Michael Lee-Chin Crystal entrance is a landmark in Toronto, blending contemporary architecture with the museum’s historical elements. Exhibits range from dinosaur fossils and ancient Egyptian artifacts to modern art and cultural displays, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in learning about the world’s diverse heritage.

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

Judith Leyster - Self-Portrait

Address: 317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4
Learn More Here: AGO Website

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is one of North America’s most distinguished art museums, housing a collection of over 90,000 works. Its holdings include Canadian art, Indigenous art, and pieces from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, along with contemporary and modern art. The AGO’s architecture, redesigned by Frank Gehry, enhances the visitor experience with its fluid, light-filled spaces. The gallery also offers a range of educational programs, making it a hub for artistic engagement and cultural education in Toronto.

Aga Khan Museum

Attribution: By Canmenwalker – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=122432532

Address: 77 Wynford Dr, North York, ON M3C 1K1
Learn More Here: Aga Khan Museum Website

The Aga Khan Museum is dedicated to the artistic, intellectual, and scientific contributions of Muslim civilizations. Its stunning building, designed by architect Fumihiko Maki, provides a serene setting for its permanent collection dedicated to the Islamic arts and Islamic artifacts, including manuscripts, ceramics, and textiles. The museum also features rotating exhibitions, performances, and educational programs that highlight the rich cultural tapestry of the Muslim world, aiming to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of Islamic heritage.

Hockey Hall of Fame

Address: 30 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5E 1X8
Learn More Here: Hockey Hall of Fame Website

The Hockey Hall of Fame is a shrine to Canada’s beloved sport, celebrating the history and achievements of hockey through exhibits and memorabilia. Located in downtown Toronto, it houses the Stanley Cup, along with a vast collection of player artifacts, uniforms, and interactive displays. Visitors can relive the greatest moments in hockey history and engage in simulated games, making it an exciting destination for fans of all ages.

Bata Shoe Museum

Address: 327 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1W7
Learn More Here: Bata Shoe Museum Website

The Bata Shoe Museum is a unique institution dedicated to the history of footwear. Its collection of over 13,000 shoes spans cultures and centuries, showcasing the evolution of shoe design and its cultural significance. The museum’s striking building, designed by Raymond Moriyama, houses permanent and rotating exhibitions, offering insights into the social and historical context of footwear from ancient civilizations to contemporary fashion.

Toronto Railway Museum

Address: 255 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3M9
Learn More Here: Toronto Railway Museum Website

Located in Roundhouse Park, the Toronto Railway Museum preserves the history of railways in Toronto and Canada. The museum features restored locomotives, passenger cars, and a working miniature railway. Visitors can explore the museum’s exhibits on railway technology, travel, and the role of railroads in shaping Canada’s development. The museum also offers guided tours and interactive displays, providing an engaging experience for railway enthusiasts and history buffs.

Textile Museum of Canada

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Address: 55 Centre Ave, Toronto, ON M5G 2H5
Learn More Here: Textile Museum of Canada Website

The Textile Museum of Canada is devoted to the art and cultural significance of textile arts from around the world. With a collection of over 13,000 artifacts, the museum showcases the diversity and history of textile production and use. Its exhibitions explore themes such as identity, cultural exchange, and technological innovation in textiles. The museum also offers educational programs and workshops, fostering a deeper appreciation for the art and craft of textiles.

Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MoCA)

Address: 158 Sterling Rd, Toronto, ON M6R 2B7
Learn More Here: MoCA Website

Housed partially in the Tower Automotive Building, the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MoCA) is a leading institution for contemporary art, featuring works by Canadian and international artists. Located in a repurposed industrial building, MoCA offers a dynamic space for exhibitions, events, and educational programs. The museum’s focus on innovative and thought-provoking art makes it a vital part of Toronto’s cultural landscape, encouraging dialogue and engagement with current issues through the eyes of contemporary artists.

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Toronto Police Museum

Address: 40 College St, Toronto, ON M5G 2J3
Learn More Here: Toronto Police Museum Website

The Toronto Police Museum explores the history and evolution of policing in Toronto. Located in the Toronto Police Headquarters, the museum features exhibits on the city’s law enforcement history, including artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays. Visitors can learn about the daily lives of police officers, notable cases, and the development of policing techniques. The museum aims to foster a better understanding of the role of the police in the community.

MZTV Museum of Television

Address: 64 Jefferson Ave, Toronto, ON M6K 1Y4
Learn More Here: MZTV Museum Website

The MZTV Museum of Television is dedicated to the history of television and its impact on society. Founded by Moses Znaimer, the museum houses an extensive collection of vintage television sets and memorabilia, tracing the evolution of the medium from its early days to the present. Exhibits explore the technological advancements, cultural significance, and iconic moments in television history, providing a nostalgic and educational experience for visitors.

Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens

A historic house with formal gardens from the Victorian Edwardian Era
Attribution: By Maksim Sokolov (Maxergon) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=111590314

Address: 285 Spadina Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 2V5
Learn More Here: Spadina Museum Website

The Spadina Museum offers a glimpse into Toronto’s past through its beautifully restored historic house and gardens. The museum’s exhibits reflect the early 20th-century lifestyle of the affluent Austin family, who were prominent figures in Toronto’s social and business circles. Visitors can explore the period rooms, gardens, and original artifacts donated by the family that illustrate the domestic and social history of the era. The museum also hosts special events and educational programs, enriching the visitor experience.

Black Creek Pioneer Village

Address: 1000 Murray Ross Pkwy, North York, ON M3J 2P3
Learn More Here: Black Creek Pioneer Village Website

Black Creek Pioneer Village is a living history museum that recreates rural life in 19th-century Ontario. The village features over 40 historic buildings, including homes, farms, and shops, populated by costumed interpreters who demonstrate traditional crafts and daily activities. Visitors can step back in time to experience the challenges and rewards of pioneer life, with interactive exhibits, workshops, and seasonal events that bring history to life.

Casa Loma

Address: 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, ON M5R 1X8
Learn More Here: Casa Loma Website

Casa Loma is a Gothic Revival mansion and one of Toronto’s most famous landmarks. Built by financier Sir Henry Pellatt, the castle features opulent rooms, secret passageways, and stunning gardens. Visitors can tour the grand hall, library, and conservatory, as well as the tower and tunnels. Casa Loma also hosts special events, exhibitions, and performances, making it a versatile venue for cultural and historical experiences.

Fort York National Historic Site

Address: 250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3K9
Learn More Here: Fort York Website

Fort York National Historic Site is a key landmark in Toronto’s history, playing a significant role in the War of 1812. The fort’s well-preserved buildings and fortifications provide a window into military life in the early 19th century. Visitors can explore the barracks, officers’ quarters, and fortifications, as well as interactive exhibits and reenactments that bring history to life. The site’s museum and educational programs offer insights into the fort’s strategic importance and the broader context of the war.

Mackenzie House

Address: 82 Bond St, Toronto, ON M5B 1X2
Learn More Here: Mackenzie House Website

Mackenzie House is the historic home of William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto’s first mayor and a key figure in the city’s history. The house has been restored to reflect the mid-19th century, offering visitors a look at urban life during that period. Exhibits include period furnishings, artifacts, and a working 1845 printing press. The museum also explores Mackenzie’s role in the 1837 Rebellion and his contributions to Toronto’s development, providing a rich historical narrative.

George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art

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Address: 111 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C7
Learn More Here: Gardiner Museum Website

The George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art is Canada’s national museum dedicated to ceramics. Its collection spans from ancient artifacts to contemporary works, highlighting the artistic and functional aspects of ceramics. The museum’s exhibitions explore the cultural and historical significance of the ceramic arts, offering a diverse range of styles and techniques. Educational programs and workshops provide hands-on experiences, fostering a deeper appreciation for this versatile art form.

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

Address: 231 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8
Learn More Here: The Power Plant Website

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery is one of Canada’s leading public galleries devoted to contemporary visual art. Located on the Toronto waterfront, the gallery presents a diverse program of exhibitions, performances, and public programs that engage with current artistic and social issues. The Power Plant supports the creation and dissemination of contemporary art, fostering dialogue between artists and audiences and contributing to the cultural vitality of Toronto.

Ontario Science Centre


Address: 770 Don Mills Rd, North York, ON M3C 1T3
Learn More Here: Ontario Science Centre Website

The Ontario Science Centre is a dynamic museum where visitors of all ages can explore science through hands-on exhibits and interactive displays. Located in North York, it features diverse exhibits on space, the environment, human anatomy, and technological innovations. The centre also hosts live demonstrations and offers educational programs, making it a popular destination for school groups and families. Its IMAX theatre and outdoor science park add to the immersive learning experience, fostering curiosity and scientific understanding.

Canada’s Sugar Beach Museum

Address: 11 Dockside Dr, Toronto, ON M5A 1B6
Learn More Here: Sugar Beach Website

Canada’s Sugar Beach Museum, part of the urban park Sugar Beach, offers an educational experience centered around the history and production of sugar in Canada. The museum features interactive exhibits that explore the journey of sugar from plantation to table, highlighting its cultural and economic impact. Located along Toronto’s waterfront, the museum and park provide a scenic and informative destination for visitors interested in learning about one of the world’s most widely used commodities.

Toronto Sculpture Garden

Address: 115 King St E, Toronto, ON M5C 1G6
Learn More Here: Toronto Sculpture Garden Website

The Toronto Sculpture Garden is an outdoor exhibition space dedicated to contemporary sculpture. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the garden features rotating installations by Canadian and international artists. The garden’s unique setting allows for the display of large-scale works, providing a dynamic and accessible venue for public art. It encourages visitors to engage with contemporary sculpture in a natural environment, enhancing the urban landscape and cultural fabric of the city.

Which Toronto Museum Will You Visit?

Each institution outlined above, from the grand Royal Ontario Museum to the intimate Textile Museum of Canada, offers a unique window into diverse aspects of human creativity and heritage. Whether you’re marveling at the intricate ceramics at the Gardiner Museum, delving into the pioneering spirit at Black Creek Pioneer Village, or engaging with contemporary issues at MoCA Toronto, these museums provide a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. Visiting these cultural landmarks not only deepens your understanding of the past and present but also connects you to the vibrant artistic and historical tapestry of Toronto. We encourage you to take the time to explore these fascinating museums and discover the stories they have to tell.