Museums of Toronto


Toronto’s cultural atmosphere reflects its status as one of Canada’s largest and most diverse cities. There is something for both casual observers and diehard fans, the rushed and the leisurely, the educated and the foolish. Explore world-class collections of fine art, ceramics, and Islamic relics; get your pulse pumping with a hockey simulation or a scientific experiment; travel through historic underground tunnels and a recreated rainforest; or just enjoy some of the city’s most stunning architectural wonders. No matter what kind of traveler you are, these cultural landmarks will help you get to know Toronto better.

AGO at dusk

Ontario Art Gallery
This museum’s collection of about 100,000 items includes works by European masters, Central African artisans, and young Indigenous Canadians, as well as cutting-edge modern pieces that challenge and inspire. The expansion designed by Frank Gehry in 2008 has made the museum one of the most photographed buildings in Canada. It is also one of the largest art museums in North America.

Bata Shoe Museum

Bata Shoe Museum
This one-of-a-kind shoe shrine is gracefully housed in a five-story structure designed by the renowned architect Raymond Moriyama. This museum was established in 1995 with the private collection of Sonja Bata, a shoe manufacturing executive and world traveler who amassed a vast assortment of footwear. As a lesser-known, specialized museum, the Bata rarely experiences lines; nonetheless, weekend afternoons and special exhibits and activities may draw huge numbers of experts.

Aga Khan Museum in Toronto

The Aga Khan Museum
This is the largest museum outside of Islamic nations dedicated to Islamic arts and culture. It is situated on a magnificent North York estate surrounded by a stunning park and formal gardens. The museum opened in 2014 in a building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki. His Highness the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili community and a Harvard graduate, built it. The building is breathtakingly modern, with outside walls made of Brazilian granite, an interior open-roofed courtyard, and a design that considers how changing natural light affects the ambience of the rooms during the course of the day.

Casa Loma

Casa Loma
This Canadian “Camelot” was built in the early 20th century for Sir Henry Pellatt and his wife, Lady Mary, by Sir Henry Pellatt, a military and corporate figure and former chairman of 21 enterprises. The Gothic-style castle, constructed between 1911 and 1914, was inspired by the Pellatts’ travels to Europe and is filled with Canadian and international treasures and works of art. In addition to the gardens, the castle was built with a network of battlements and underground tunnels, which are currently among the most popular tourist attractions.

Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum
Since its foundation in 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum’s collection has grown to encompass around 13 million pieces of art, cultural objects, and natural history specimens. More than 40 galleries and exhibition venues display, among other things, Chinese sculptures, Japanese samurai swords, Arabic inscriptions, Greek antiquities, colonial art, and works by Canada’s First Nations. The James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs, which have one of the world’s best fossil collections, and the Reed Gallery of the Age of Creatures, which has 30 fossil skeletons of ancient species, are among the most popular displays.

Gardiner Museum Toronto

Gardiner Museum
Considered one of the city’s best-kept secrets, this little museum is one of the few completely devoted to the ceramic arts. The facility was first inaugurated in 1984 to host the private collection of George and Helen Gardiner. Between 2004 and 2006, it was enlarged by KPMB Architects, who transformed it into an award-winning structure that currently rates among the most beautiful in Toronto. One of the non-collection features is the terrace on the third level, which offers one of the greatest views of the city.

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