Toronto for History Lovers – The Four Museums to Check Out
From castles to the history of hockey, the fascinating museums in Toronto will leave you in awe.
The history and culture of Canada and its largest city, Toronto, is exciting and colorful. So if you’re visiting Toronto and want to explore the city’s best attractions, you can’t go wrong with the museums.
There are museums in Toronto that cover every aspect of the local, regional, and Canadian culture, including fine art, science, architecture, and more. Here are the four museums you should check out on your next visit to the city.
1. Royal Ontario Museum
This museum has an impressive collection of everything from natural history to art from around the world. But the first sight that will leave you in awe is the building itself. It’s an architectural marvel and a blend of traditional and modern – extravagant styles that are best left unspoiled with too much description.
There are many fascinating galleries inside that are certain to satisfy any specific interests. Starting from the long lost world, the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs showcase the dinosaur, plant, and insect fossils dating back to tens of millions of years old. Here you’ll see real dinosaur skeletons ranging from the Jurassic to the Cretaceous period. But the star of the exhibit is Gordo, an 88ft long Barosaurus skeleton that’s one of only three of its kind in the world.
Moving on in the times of natural history, the Reed Gallery of the Age of Mammals houses specimens of animals that inherited the planet from the giant reptiles. Here you can see the early mammals of Earth, including a mastodon and a saber-toothed cat, as well as a five million-year-old North American rhino.
To round up the natural world tour, there’s the Gallery of Birds and the Bat Cave showcasing a large number of species.
When it comes to the history of humankind, the Royal Ontario Museum galleries will take you on a journey through the most impressive civilizations that existed throughout the ages. There are exhibits covering the history of China, Korea, Egypt, Nubia, the Roman empire, ancient Greece, and more.
The Shreyas and Mina Ajmera Gallery of Africa, The Americas, and Asia-Pacific has an exceptional collection of artifacts that document various aspects of the indigenous cultures of the world.
2. Art Gallery of Ontario
There’s plenty to see in this massive art museum. With almost 100,000 art pieces, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the largest museums of its kind in North America. It houses works of artists from Europe, Africa, and North America.
The collection spans centuries and various styles ranging from the traditional indigenous Canadian and Central African art, through classical European masters, to contemporary pieces. So you can go from Rubens to modern photography and see everything in between, although it will take quite some time to take in everything the museum has to offer.
The library also has a notable book collection that’s sometimes overshadowed by the impressive visual art. There are several collections worth going through, including Rare Books that showcase five centuries of illustrated books and obscure, lesser-known volumes. The library has more than 380,000 volumes that you can navigate through the handy online catalog.
3. Casa Loma
Casa Loma is a Gothic Revival castle built in 1914. While it’s not as old as the original European castles, it’s been an attraction of Canada for over a century. The Casa Loma of today is a fascinating and renowned site that was once a shocking feature among the Victorian architecture of old Toronto.
This castle was home to Sir Henry Pellatt, a Canadian financier famous for his investment in the Canadian railway and hydroelectric industry, and his wife. King Edward VII knighted Pellatt for his military service, so the Casa Loma castle was actually inhabited by a real knight and Lady.
The architectural wonder features 98 rooms, secret passageways, towers, and an expansive garden. There are also several exhibits with permanent installations and collections of historical photographs, antique cars, and period furniture.
The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum holds a collection centered around the regiment Pellatt served in, the longest-serving infantry regiment in Canada. Here you can see military equipment and uniforms from the early 20th century, among other items from the period.
Casa Loma also houses the Group of Seven Collection, with artwork by the group members. These landscape painters worked on developing a distinctly Canadian style of art. They influenced the Canadian art landscape so much that the group eventually transformed into the Canadian Group of Painters.
4. Ontario Science Center
There’s much to see and experience in the Ontario Science Center. Whether you’re interested in nature or the limits of the human body, you’ll find many exhibits that are sure to satisfy your curiosity.
To start with, the Dinosaurs in Motion exhibit offers a virtual tour through the ancient history of our planet while you’re surrounded by moving colossal animals.
The public Planetarium is the only one of its kind in Toronto. Here you’ll have the chance to explore the universe and learn about the great expanse in one of the various shows.
You can experience a real rainforest in The Living Earth exhibit, visit a cave, and see a coral reef. This exhibit offers a great insight into the development and different natural conditions of the world.
Finally, The HotZone is a presentation area that covers numerous subjects related to science, showcasing their history and development, as well as where they’re at today. You can learn also about robotics, AI, physics, psychology, and more.
Take a Deep Dive Into the Toronto Museums
There’s much to see and experience when it comes to museums in Toronto. The rich collections speak volumes about the history and cultural heritage of the city, Ontario, and Canada as a whole.
Bear in mind that the exhibits are quite extensive and one visit to the most memorable museums in Toronto likely won’t be enough.