Things to do in Toronto

Museums in Toronto

Famous paintings, historic buildings, and plenty of culture — discover it all at the best museums in Toronto.

Toronto has it all: From world-class entertainment options to delectable culinary

delights, it is one of the most popular destinations in Canada. The city also offers a unique blend of natural beauty and urban amenities.

Whether you want to spend the day shopping for designer duds or hiking past waterfalls, there are plenty of things to do in Toronto for people of all ages. Get started with a visit to one of these museums.

Art, Culture, and Nature

Thousands of years ago, the Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinaabe peoples named the area Tkaronto (the place in the water where the trees are standing). Thanks to its rich history, Toronto is full of interesting cultural sites, including two major museums dedicated to preserving the region's art, culture, and nature.

1. Royal Ontario Museum

If you only have time to visit one of Toronto's museums, make it the Royal Ontario Museum. Its vast collection of artifacts spans thousands of square feet and delights visitors of all ages. We especially love ROM’s natural history exhibits, which include beautiful butterflies, massive mammals, and more than 68,000 gem and mineral samples.

For art enthusiasts, admission to the Royal Ontario Museum opens a world of wonder. View art from ancient temples, busts of Roman gladiators, and more as you walk through the cavernous space. Don’t miss the Gallery of Chinese Architecture. You’ll see a tomb that once held the remains of General Zu Dashou.

Photographer: Mitul Grover

2. Gardiner Museum

The Gardiner Museum is more than just a place to see a few artifacts and call it a day. Staff members are committed to using clay to unite people, making it a great place to forge new connections. You can even get your hands dirty during one of the museum’s pottery classes.

If you just want to browse the exhibits, the museum has more than 5,000 ceramic objects on display. While you’re there, don’t miss the European earthenware collection. Teapot, Kakiemon Style is one of our favorite pieces. Made in the Netherlands, the delicate teapot features bold strokes of cobalt blue, finished with a glossy glaze.

The Gardiner Museum is also home to works by contemporary artists, including Sharif Bey, David R. Harper, and Courtney M. Leonard.


If you know more about cars, trucks, and trains than you do about artists, consider visiting the Toronto Railway Museum. More than a dozen railways, including the Canadian National Railway and Midland Railway of Canada, helped turn Toronto into an international center of commerce.

3. Toronto Railway Museum

Do you have what it takes to run a locomotive? Find out at the Toronto Railway Museum, the only museum in the region with a train simulator on site. We recommend visiting during the winter months, as using the train simulator is one of the best indoor activities in Toronto.

If you have kids, bring them to the museum for a mini train ride. The tour moves through Roundhouse Park, giving you a glimpse of CN Tower in all its glory. If you're visiting with adults, the Toronto Railway offers guided tours, providing insight into how Canada’s railways changed the city's economic and social landscape.

Photographer: Daniel Hodson

Historic Houses, Inns, and Schools

Toronto wasn’t incorporated as a city until 1843, but Europeans arrived much earlier. Long before their arrival, Indigenous groups established agricultural villages in the region. As a result, the city has many historic houses, inns, and schools.

4. Casa Loma

Grab your suit of armor and head to Casa Loma, also known as Toronto’s Camelot. The majestic castle is the perfect setting for wedding receptions, corporate parties, and other social events. It attracts more than 650,000 visitors annually, making it one of Toronto’s most popular attractions.

Sir Henry Pellatt finished construction on Casa Loma in 1914, so the building isn’t medieval, but you wouldn’t know it from the lush landscaping and minarets crowning the imposing structure. The antique car display is one of our favorite exhibits, including a 1910 Maxwell Model Q Standard and a 1929 Ford Model A.

Before you leave, take a tour of the museum's 98 rooms. Many contain authentic Edwardian furniture and fabrics, giving you a taste of how the other half lived during the early 20th century.

5. Spadina House

Step into the elegant world of the Austin family with a visit to Spadina House. James Austin served as the first president of Dominion Bank, making him a real mover and shaker in Toronto’s social scene. Austin’s family used Spadina House as a country estate, transforming it into one of the most opulent properties in the region.

The property's exterior combines elements of several architectural styles, including Victorian and Edwardian. Before you enter the main house, take a moment to appreciate the large bay windows and stone terrace. No visit to this Toronto museum is complete without a walk through the lavish gardens.

Photographer: Ronin

6. Mackenzie House

Was Toronto’s first mayor just ambitious, or did he betray the Canadians who trusted him? When you visit Mackenzie House, you decide. Managed by the City of Toronto, the row house looks somewhat out of place when you see the soaring skyscrapers around it. However, it’s an important piece of the city’s history.

Explore the life and times of William Lyon Mackenzie, a politician to his core. Mackenzie led the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837, which caused some to question his loyalty. Pay close attention to the Victorian decor and historical artifacts during your visit.

7. Gibson House Museum

Hidden among the high-rise buildings in North York, Gibson House Museum is a 19th-century farmhouse inviting visitors to return to the 1850s. Once inside, you can almost imagine what it was like to relax in front of the fire at the end of a long day of farming.

Fun fact: The Georgian Revival farmhouse wasn’t the first home built on the property. The original building burned to the ground after David Gibson participated in the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837. After hiding in the United States for a while, the Gibson family returned to York County.

8. Colborne Lodge

Colborne Lodge sits in High Park and is one of the most unique art museums in Canada. Unlike some of the tiniest Toronto art galleries, the historic home has plenty of room to explore.

The original owners, John and Jemima Howard, never had children together, but they wanted to leave a lasting legacy for the people of Toronto. In 1837, they signed the deed for the 165-acre property over to the city, ensuring Torontonians would enjoy it for generations to come.

John and Jemima were both artists, but John was also a surveyor and an engineer. As a result, the museum is filled with architectural drawings and original artworks. It also has Indigenous guides to tell you the story of Toronto from their perspectives. Rumor has it Colborne Lodge is haunted, so you may even see a spirit or two.

9. Montgomery’s Inn

Picture it: Toronto, 1835. You’re exhausted after traveling for what seems like weeks on end. You need a safe, comfortable place to stay. Montgomery’s Inn fits the bill. These days, you can’t stay overnight, but you can stop in to see the inner workings of a 19th-century inn.

Montgomery’s Inn doesn’t have an expansive collection of artifacts, but it has live music, pub nights, and other activities to unite visitors. The on-site farmers market provides a place to buy produce and freshly baked bread, and hearth cooking demonstrations and Sunday teas keep visitors engaged.

10. Campbell House Museum

Campbell House Museum combines a museum and performance venue, making it a popular destination. Located in the oldest surviving building in York, this Toronto museum has rotating exhibits designed to help you understand what life was like in the 19th century.

We highly recommend taking one of the adults-only baking classes. Even if your bread doesn’t rise, baking in an old-fashioned brick kitchen is still fun. If baking isn’t your thing, snag a pair of tickets to the next live performance.


In Canada, hockey isn’t just a sport. It’s woven into the culture, making it important to Canadians of all ages, races, and social classes. Toronto residents also enjoy boxing, baseball, and other activities. If you’re a sports enthusiast, indulge your inner athlete with a visit to one of the sports-themed museums in Toronto.

11. Hockey Hall of Fame

Don’t be a hoser. Make the Hockey Hall of Fame one of the first stops on your itinerary. It honors some of the greatest names in hockey, including Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and Mario Lemieux.

If you view just one exhibit in the permanent collection, make it the Silverware Trophy Tour. If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with the Stanley Cup, now’s your chance. The Hockey Hall of Fame also has over 3 million photographs and an audio and video vault filled with clips from some of hockey’s greatest moments.

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12. Museum of Toronto

The Museum of Toronto has rotating exhibitions designed to bring community members together. One of its most popular displays is Winners & Losers: Sports Histories of Toronto. For sports lovers, it’s a can’t-miss collection of objects used to demonstrate the importance of athletics in Toronto.

The collection includes uniforms, equipment, and other artifacts related to baseball, hockey, boxing, football, basketball, and lacrosse. Author Adam Bunch and sportswriter Morgan Campbell are co-curators of the exhibit.

Footwear and Textiles

Not all Toronto, Ontario, museums focus on arts, culture, and history. In fact, the city has two institutions dedicated to preserving clothing and shoes. Delight the fashionistas in your life with a visit to the Bata Shoe Museum or the Textile Museum of Canada.

13. Bata Shoe Museum

Located on Bloor Street West, Bata Shoe Museum is all about — you guessed it — shoes. Grab your denim jacket, do your best Molly Ringwald (or Judd Nelson) impersonation, and get ready for a blast from the past with a stop at the Dressed to Impress exhibit. This exhibit focuses on the relationship between footwear and consumerism in the 1980s.

The museum’s permanent collection has more than 15,000 objects, so you can visit over and over again without ever seeing the exact same combination of items twice. Find out how simple shoes can spur economic development, alter religious beliefs, and create new social attitudes.

14. Textile Museum of Canada

Gather your art-loving friends and head to the Textile Museum of Canada. It’s the only museum in the country dedicated to telling stories with textiles.

View colorful quilts from Nova Scotia, a suit made from salmon skin, and fragments from a Peruvian rug made more than 2,000 years ago. If you live in the area, you can even contribute to the museum’s community quilt project.

Local History

Many Toronto museums have artifacts from all over Ontario. If you’re looking for an in-depth look at specific neighborhoods or cultures, visit a museum dedicated to preserving local history.

15. Scarborough Museum

Scarborough Museum, located in Thomson Memorial Park, has four heritage buildings to help you understand how the city has changed over the years. We especially like the Indigenous garden and murals, which remind visitors of the First Nations peoples who originally established communities in the area.

Scarborough Museum also has youth programs, day camps, and live demonstrations, making it the ideal destination for local families. If the kids need to blow off steam, let them play in Thomson Memorial Park before or after your museum visit.

16. 48th Highlanders Museum

The 48th Highlanders are one of Canada’s most famous Reserve infantries. Learn more about their accomplishments at the 48th Highlanders Museum. Queen Elizabeth II, the regiment's colonel-in-chief, opened the current location in 1997, making the museum a major point of interest for those who follow the British Royal Family.

Walk through the museum to see uniforms, badges, banners, and other objects from the 48th Highlanders regiment. Some of these items played an important role in major historical events, such as Queen Elizabeth II's funeral, World War II, and the Second Boer War.


When you think of museums in Toronto, perhaps you picture ancient artifacts or paintings from the 1700s. The MZTV Museum of Television offers a more modern take on Canada’s development. Instead of spending the day on your couch, visit the Museum of Television to learn the ins and outs of beaming moving images into households all over the world.

17. MZTV Museum of Television

The MZTV Museum of Television doesn’t immerse you in the world of your favorite fictional characters. Instead, it takes you through a whirlwind journey through the technological advances that made television possible.

Step into the John Logie Baird exhibit to learn about a major milestone in broadcast history: the first recognizable moving TV image. This exhibit also has mechanical discs, glass slides, and other objects from Baird’s career.

The Philo Farnsworth exhibit tells the story of the 14-year-old boy who originally had the idea for an all-electric television. When he turned 19, Farnsworth convinced two investors to give him $6,000 to work on his idea. You’ll see the first camera tube, an original Farnsworth TV, and more.

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Embracing the Cultural Journey: A Final Reflection on Toronto’s Museums

Arts, culture, history, and sports — you really can’t go wrong with a visit to one of the many museums in Toronto.

If you’re still hankering for some culture, run — don’t walk — to our shows. Let our compelling storylines carry you away to a world where limits don't exist and dreams become reality. You'll be on the edge of your seat when you watch one of our shows in Toronto. But don't take our word for it — come see us today!

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