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An internationally renowned collection that ranges from 5,000-year-old pre-Columbian artifacts to 20th-century works from around the world makes Gardiner Museum one-of-a-kind in North America. The museum, located across from the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto campus, also features a boutique. Check out the Gardiner Shop, with contemporary Canadian works including books on ceramics to jewelery and bowls. Guided tours for groups can also be arranged.
Royal Ontario Museum incorporates a unique mix of galleries that showcase art, archaeological objects and scientific specimens. The museum, which sees more than a million visitors annually, houses a collection of over six million objects on three floors. This is the only place in Toronto where you can enjoy unraveling the mysteries of the Egyptian mummies, watch and hear an active beehive and view inspiring artwork from many different countries. When you leave, you take along memories of a unique experience.
If you like shoes, you'll love this museum devoted entirely to footwear; see shoes from various cultures and all parts of the world, from ancient times to the present. Fancy shoes and basic ones, boots and sandals, they are all in the Raymond Moriyama building, located north of the University of Toronto campus. You can view more than 10,000 pairs in all. Celebrity shoes include Queen Victoria's ballroom slippers, Elvis's blue patent loafers and Karen Kain's ballet pointes.
One of a kind in Canada, the Textile Museum opened in 1975, features an international collection of quilts, garments, carpets and ceremonial objects. First shown in a small area in Mirvish Village, the collection is now located in a 25,000 square feet space. Exhibits include textile arts from such places as China, Japan, Africa, South East and Central Asia, South and Central America, Europe and the Pacific, as well as Canada and the U.S.
Built in 1857, this Georgian-style residence was a gift to William Lyon Mackenzie, grandfather of former Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, from his followers. Mackenzie, the leader of the colonial emancipation movement in Upper Canada, had come from Scotland in 1830 to become the first mayor of the city of Toronto. You will now find a museum inside, where guides in period costumes re-enact the daily life of middle-class Toronto households in the 1860s.
The new and renovated Art Gallery of Ontario holds permanent collections of art in different mediums, be it paintings, sculpture or collections of historic artifacts. This museum in the Chinatown district is one of Canada's largest fine art museums. You can view exhibits, including the 19th-century Impressionists, Henry Moore and an exclusive Canadian collection of paintings by the famous Group of Seven. In all, there is a permanent collection of over 24,000 works representing 1,000 years of European, Canadian and contemporary art. Facilities include a gift shop, restaurant and a family-oriented activity center.
Home to the Austin family for more than a century, Spadina House is now operated as a museum by the City of Toronto Cultural Services. Although some restoration has taken place, the original feel of the 55-room mansion has been wonderfully preserved, giving visitors a glimpse into a time when immigration increased and tabloid journalism had its beginnings (1918-1939). Rooms are also available for hire. The tour guides will make sure that the experience is thoroughly informative and educational while still being fun.
Built over three years beginning in 1911, Casa Loma was born of the lofty ambitions of the Canadian financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. Inspired by the castles of Europe, Pellatt sought to employ the formidable resources at his disposal to build for himself a grand chateau in the heart of Toronto; an abode truly befitting the aspirations of the magnate. Built in the Gothic Revival style, Casa Loma appears to have sprung from the pages of a fairy tale, replete with hidden passages and generously adorned with exquisite art. The castle features 98 lavishly decorated rooms and is surrounded by a beautiful estate complete with its own conservatory, gardens, and stables. The Great Hall's sculptured pillars, the Conservatory's stained glass ceiling, the Library's impressive cache of books, and the subterranean tunnel to the stables outside are just a few of the many treasures that define the estate. Pellatt's triumph was short-lived, however, his businesses buckling in the aftermath of World War I, forcing him to sell his home. Today, Casa Loma is a museum and popular event venue.
Canada's only design promotion center, Design Exchange exhibits the latest in fashion, graphic design and ergonomics. Named after its location in the former Toronto Stock Exchange building, the Design Exchange also boasts the original trading floor, with its historic murals intact. The mural depicting "Work" is particularly fascinating, with its use of color and technique. International, national and local designers are on display in the exhibition hall and while there is an admission charge to view their creations, the Design Effectiveness Center is free.
The Hockey Hall of Fame is the place where you can test your hockey trivia skills or goalie reflexes. The hall, located in Brookfield Place, features an interactive, hands-on account of the evolution of Canada's game. It's a trip down the sport's memory lane, fueled by displays, trophies, memorabilia, movies and video games. While you're there, you can get a souvenir photo taken of yourself beside the Stanley Cup trophy. Facilities include the Spirit of Hockey store full of collectibles.
The Toronto Railway Museum is located in the Roundhouse Park, in downtown Toronto. Founded in 2010, the museum is managed by the Toronto Railway Historical Association and features a fully functional mini train, the Canadian National steam locomotive No. 6213 and other locomotives that are displayed throughout the park. Visitors can either take a walking tour or board the mini train that takes trips throughout the park.
With more than 800 exhibits and a dozen halls, it is no wonder Ontario Science Centre has managed to attract over 30 million visitors since it opened in 1969. Aside from traditional science shows, the center also features interactive areas where visitors can take part in their own experiments. It also offers a movie theater, offering screenings of thrilling and educational IMAX format films aimed at the entire family.