Toronto
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The best museums in Toronto to explore right now

Peruse world-class fine art collections, ceramics, Islamic artifacts and more at some of Toronto’s best museums

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Toronto is at the top of many travel rankings and personal wishlists for many reasons. Not only is it the most diverse city in the world, and one on a rapid development tip, it’s also packed with a vibrant arts and culture scene. It seems like every year, Toronto gets a new museum or pop-up showcasing captivating exhibits and world-class art. But you can also find some niche offerings you won't see anywhere else, like a museum dedicated solely to shoes or one that looks more like a royal castle rather than a place to admire art. Whether you’re seeking a history lesson, international art exhibits or a perspective of notable footwear from the past and present, you're covered at the best museums in Toronto.

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Best museums in Toronto

  • Museums
  • Bloor Yorkville

Canada’s largest museum houses an expansive collection of 13 million artworks and artifacts. Stop by the Royal Ontario Museum to learn everything from the art of the First Peoples to modern fashion to the age of dinosaurs. Don’t miss the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs to hang out with the prehistoric creatures for the day. The museum's schedule of exhibitions and events is ever-revolving, including the summer-long Friday Night Live, which transforms the galleries into a party with live DJs, food and drinks.

  • Art
  • Chinatown

After the ROM, this might be the city’s second most well-known and visited museum. On the artistic side, the Art Gallery of Ontario is a sure thing; it’s a work of art itself. Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry redesigned the gallery to be a sculpture in its own right, and its collection contains more than 95,000 works of art, including a vast collection of Canadian art. If you plan on potentially visiting the museum more than once, consider getting the annual pass for $10 more than a day pass.

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  • Art
  • Greater Toronto

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCa), formerly known as the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Mocca), reopened in a new home at the Tower Automotive Building in 2018. The art is still fantastic. Smack dab in the middle of the city's Junction Triangle (formerly called the West Queen West neighbourhood home), the museum is home to a slew of need-to-be-explored exhibits showcasing the cutting edge of contemporary art. Don’t miss out on MOCA Free Friday nights, every Friday from 5pm to 9pm.

  • Museums
  • Wynford Drive

The first museum on the continent dedicated to Islamic civilizations, the Aga Khan Museum is well worth a visit. Architect Fumihiko Maki designed the building—a piece of art in its own right—and holds countless treasures from the Islamic world. Highlights of the collection include a bronze planispheric astrolabe, a 10th-century prayer amulet and exhibit after exhibit of gorgeously illuminated manuscripts.

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  • Attractions
  • Casa Lomo

Constructed in 1914, Casa Loma is a Gothic Revival castle-style mansion and garden in midtown Toronto that is now a historic house museum and landmark. It was constructed from 1911 to 1914 as a residence for financier Sir Henry Pellatt. Casa Loma is styled to look like a very over-the-top European château, complete with an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables and five acres of gardens. Canada might be a relatively young country, but that doesn’t mean Toronto can’t have its very own castle. Stroll around Casa Loma’s expansive grounds, covering five acres of borders, resplendent walled gardens and other botanical marvels.

6. Spadina Museum

Fancy a time travel journey back to the early 1900s mi’lady? Evolving from a Victorian country estate to an Edwardian city mansion, one might consider this museum Toronto’s version of Downtown Abbey. Replete with displays of life in the city from the early 1900s through the lens of the affluent Austin family, the Spadina house was home to the family since 1866. James Austin founded the Dominion Bank (known today as TD). Descendants of the family lived here through to the 1970s, after which it was acquired by the city and transformed into a museum. Many of the original artifacts donated by the Austin family include furniture, artwork, letters, and even grocery lists. The best part of this museum might be its gorgeous gardens, which were modeled after the Victorian-Edwardian era and host themed events like Gatsby parties in the summer. And it’s close to Casa Loma, so you can garden hop for the day!

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7. Little Canada

Explore one of the largest countries in the world in bite-size. Little Canada is a highly detailed and animated miniature attraction that enables you to explore the country’s sweeping vistas, famous landmarks, iconic cityscapes and more via captivating animation. This site of little wonders will leave you with big smiles, especially because you can even be part of the attraction. Print your own 3D model in various sizes to bring home or immortalize yourself on-site. Either way, this little site, close to the city’s famous Eaton Centre, will wow you in a big way.

8. Museum of Illusions

We couldn’t not include an Insta-worthy museum in this round-up and the Museum of Illusions feels like it was made for the app. With over 80 illusions, holograms, installations and exhibits, The Museum of Illusions is a trippy experience. Enter into the Vortex Tunnel and turn upside down in the Rotate Room. Get your game on with 3D puzzles and much more. The Museum of Illusions was established in 2020 to provide an interactive and immersive experience and teach folks about perception and how our minds can play tricks on us.

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  • Museums
  • Bloor Yorkville

All things clay are on display at this museum dedicated to ceramics. Get your hands dirty at one of the Gardiner Museum's regular ceramic techniques, wheel throwing, and slip casting classes. If you'd prefer to leave the messy stuff to the experts, spend some time admiring the collection of some 4,000 pieces from the ancient Americas to today.

  • Museums
  • Susex Ulster

Let your boots do the walking all the way to the Bata Shoe Museum, an expo dedicated to footwear from around the world. The collection includes more than 13,000 items on display, with shoes from the ancient world to present day, all housed in Raymond Moriyama’s award-winning structure. You can even take a look at their collection of shoes that once cushioned the famous feet of a bunch of high-profile celebrities, including Toronto’s very own Drizzy Drake.

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  • Museums
  • St Lawrence Market

This institution, dedicated to Canada's national pastime, is packed with hockey ephemera. Even visitors must pay tribute to Canada's hockey greats—it's practically a law in this ice-obsessed nation. Visit the permanent home of the Stanley Cup, face off against famed players in the Shoot Out simulation, and check out the unrivaled collection of jerseys and other relics in the massive Tissot World of Hockey Zone.

  • Museums
  • Downtown Toronto

This museum, devoted to textile arts, is the only one in Canada. With a permanent collection of nearly 13,000 artifacts spanning nearly 2,000 years and 200 regions around the world, the downtown museum focuses on the role of cloth and fabric in society.

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  • Things to do
  • Downtown Toronto

The last home of Toronto's first mayor is now a museum supposedly haunted by his ghost. Before you start thinking that all Canadian history is quiet and polite, swiftly dispel your misconceptions with a stop at Mackenzie House. The city official and radical journalist was forced into exile in the States after leading the Rebellion of 1837. Check out the exhibits and watch out for his ghost, who has been spotted working at the printing press.

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