Toronto, Canada is a beautiful city filled with tree-covered hillsides, hidden parks, and incredible roadwork. It’s a fantastic place to spend your entire vacation exploring the wonders of downtown from morning to midnight.
You’ve heard about the skyscraper restaurants and the legendary markets. These are all exciting destinations, but what about when you need a few quiet, entertaining hours? Whether you’re on a business trip or vacationing with children, sometimes visiting the local museums is the perfect way to spend your time. Of course, no two museums are alike. Even better? Toronto has a whole collection of them.
Let’s take a closer look at some of Toronto’s most eclectic museums.
Bata Shoe Museum
Ever wonder how footwear has evolved through the ages? Toronto has an entire museum dedicated to historical footwear from around the world. Its exhibits range from ancient Chinese sandals to velvet Italian platforms. Together, they create an interesting display of how footwear has shaped and been shaped by society. The collection includes more than 13,000 shoes and shoe-related artifacts whose origins span more than 4,500 years of significant shoe trends. The current highlights of the Bata collection include velvet-covered platform chopines from 16th-century Italy and a wide collection of footwear from circumpolar societies like Inuit Native Americans and Siberians. The Bata Shoe Museum isn’t just a great place to cool off and enjoy some artistic exhibits. It’s also a great stop to learn the answers to questions that you never would have thought to ask about shoes.
Even more unusual than the shoe museum is the Toronto museum dedicated entirely to textiles. Weaving, fabrics, beadwork, tapestries—you name it. If it involves textiles, it’s in the Toronto Textile Museum. It has exhibits displaying how textiles have been a part of Canadian development from the beginning, along with displays of cultural textile history throughout the world. There is a constant rotation of active textile exhibits, and you’d be amazed at just how much can be said about groups and trends in textile manufacturing. The Textile Museum is also an awesomely inexpensive place to visit, with a great family price for groups traveling with several children. If you love a beautifully woven rug, blanket, or well-made coat, the textile museum could be a fun destination. And if you plan to come back, consider joining its membership program, which provides free admission every time you return.
Toronto Police Museum
Canada has a fascinating history of policing. Although Canada is notoriously orderly and polite, the Police Museum features some of its more infamous cases throughout history. The exhibits include a wide variety of police memorabilia and even a few pieces of real evidence from real solved crimes. There is a police car and motorcycle, and a great display of how Canadian police fashion has changed over the years. Many parents have found that the free admission and quiet self-guided display tour is an ideal stop for children who are wearing down for the day. It’s interesting, affordable, and accessible right through the police statement. There’s also a gift shop if you want police museum branded items. From shiny buttons to vicious killers, the Toronto Police Museum is a great place to spend an hour or two on a self-guided adventure.
The Mackenzie House
The Mackenzie House is another fantastically affordable example of Canadian tourism. It is also a beautiful example of Georgian Greek Revival architecture. The house has been maintained as the pinnacle of Victorian-era Canada and is the home of the first mayor of Toronto, William Lyon Mackenzie King, which is where the house got its name. That honored mayor led a rebellion to overthrow the British in 1837 and moved into the house in 1859. It’s a beautiful place to step into the past with dark polished wood and Victorian-era home technology, from the detailed kitchen to the upstairs bedrooms. It was saved from demolition in 1937 when other homes on the street were destroyed. It’s also said to be haunted by the first mayor, who died there, with multiple reports from residents since the construction. In fact, when it was bequeathed to the city, the list of items included ended with the item: “One Ghost.”
Hockey Hall of Fame
Whether you’re a sports fan or just excited to be in Canada, you can’t visit Toronto without stopping by the Hockey Hall of Fame. It is the home of the Stanley Cup and features the most extensive collection of hockey jerseys in the world. But the Hall of Fame doesn’t just house things to look at. You can also find state-of-the-art hockey games that challenge visitors’ shooting and goalkeeping skills against great historical hockey players. There’s even a replica of an NHL dressing room so that hockey fans know what it feels like to prepare for a Stanley Cup game. And yes, you can even get hands-on access to the actual Stanley Cup. The Hockey Hall of Fame is a must-see for anyone doing a tour of Toronto museums. It’s the perfect place to stop for souvenirs as gifts for sports fans back home. It’s also the perfect place for a vacation birthday party if the stars align and you’ve got a sports fan celebrating during the vacation.
If you’re planning a vacation to Toronto, there’s no need to spend countless hours hanging out in the hotel or waiting for something to happen. In Downtown Toronto, there’s always another interesting novelty museum to tour, and many of these museums are either free or very lowcost to get in and walk around. Toronto has an infinite number of things to do as a tourist traveling on foot or by car in the area. This is only a single aspect of the lively culture and activities available in the shining Canadian city of Toronto.