Best of Toronto's Museum and Galleries Tour, Toronto (Self Guided)

Because of being one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the world, it is more than obvious that Toronto is not just another expensive global city, but also has a strongly developed sense of culture. Just give this city a chance to convince you of this. Take this walking tour and check out the best of Toronto's museum and galleries, as listed below.
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Best of Toronto's Museum and Galleries Tour Map

Guide Name: Best of Toronto's Museum and Galleries Tour
Guide Location: Canada » Toronto (See other walking tours in Toronto)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km
Author: ann
Hockey Hall of Fame

1) Hockey Hall of Fame (must see)

The people of Toronto take their sport very seriously especially when it comes to their much-loved game, Hockey. And no visit to Toronto is complete without getting a glimpse of this fascinating sport and being part of the thrill. What better way to do this than tour the Hockey Hall of Fame! The museum is dedicated to the history of ice hockey and proudly displays the achievements and accolades won by the teams and their players.

First established in 1943, the Hockey Hall of Fame is the result of the tireless efforts of James Thomas Sutherland, a national ice hockey player, coach, administrator and an ardent sports developer and supporter. He is fondly remembered as the Father of Hockey. Located at the corner of Front and Yonge Streets and spread over an area of 57,000 square feet, the Hall of Fame is divided into 15 exhibits. The Museum displays cups, trophies, memorabilia as well as equipment and jerseys worn by famous hockey personalities. Apart from that, get insights and read biographies of members of the Hall of Fame and browse through portraits and photographs of players. The Museum also has some fun interactive exhibits where you can try your hand at taking real pucks as well as play goaltender.

Why You Should Visit:
For an entry fee of $20 (the average cost of most entry fees in Toronto), you get room after room of memorabilia from years gone by until the past year.
This place has it all from NHL to international hockey. Also, a great shop to get team apparel. The interactive games are a real hit with the kids.

For $10 plus tax you can have your photo taken with the Stanley Cup – they will print out 3 photos and you also receive a digital copy.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm; Sat: 9:30am-6pm; Sun: 10:30am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museum for Textiles

2) Museum for Textiles

In the heart of downtown Toronto is one of most unique museums you can ever encounter, the Museum of Textiles. With a plethora of colors, designs and texture, the Museum of Textiles manages to display the mundane and regular in the most vibrant and lively manner there is.

The Museum boasts a vast collection of over 12000 objects to display from over 200 countries and regions from across the globe. Initiated in 1975, the Museum of Textiles has come a long way since its inception. What started off as a modest venture comprising a room full of carpets and other textile displays, has now become one of the world’s most reputed textile museums. Earning popularity on the international circuit, helped move the collection to a more suitable place and since 1989, the Museum of Textile is displayed at 55 Center Avenue.

Displaying textile art in the most engaging manner is what the Museum is most known for.

The exhibits include textiles like carpets, ceremonial garments and clothing, quilts, fabric and other historical artifacts. The exhibits collected at the Museum date back to over 2000 years and are also updated with contemporary and recent exhibits that feature recent technology in the textile world.

Opening hours: Daily 11:00 am - 5:00 pm; Wednesdays 11:00 am - 8:00 pm.
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

3) Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) (must see)

One of the most spectacular structures you can ever encounter in Toronto is the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Housing the world’s largest Canadian art collection, the Art Gallery of Ontario is a must visit when in Toronto.

The museum was established in 1900 and was the resultant of the efforts of a group of citizens who didn't take art lightly. Although the museum had a shaky start, it progressed to earn the reputation of being one of the best-known museums in the city.

The AGO has a proud collection of over 80,000 pieces of works that display art right from the 1st century till the present day. Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh, Frans Hals, Peter Paul Rubens, Tintoretto, Anthony Van Dyke, Thomas Gainsborough, Pablo Picasso are the few artists whose works are proudly displayed at the museum. The perfect place for admirers and followers of art, the AGO also has a brilliant collection of modern and contemporary artists like Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and Jenny Holzer. Not only is the museum a haven for devoted paint and canvas lovers, the works of some of the finest sculptors can also be seen here. The AGO has the largest collection of sculptures by Henry Moore, who took the world by storm with his semi-abstract pieces of work.

Why You Should Visit:
The architecture alone is worth coming for; add the permanent Group of Seven exhibition as well as the African, European and Indigenous art to make a most enjoyable experience.
You can also stop into the museum shop for all the fun and interesting items.

The museum policy allows for exiting and re-entering on your ticket within the day.
Don't forget to check out the basement which has many models of naval ships, mostly from Britain. It's spectacular and often overlooked.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Thu: 10:30am–5pm; Wed, Fri: 10:30am–9pm; Sat, Sun: 10:30am–5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Toronto Police Museum

4) Toronto Police Museum

Ever since man has evolved into a social being, he has made rules and regulations to make life simpler. Since the beginning of society, law has always played an important role in the everyday lives of the community. However following the history of law, is an issue not many have dived into.

Attempting to answer this very conundrum is the Toronto Police Museum. Situated in the atrium of Toronto’s Police Headquarters is the Police Museum. Attracting tourists from all over the world, the Police Museum sheds light upon the law enforcement history of Toronto’s Police.

Taking its visitors almost 170 years back, to city’s notorious days, where the greatest offense was larceny and cattle stealing, here you get to learn fascinating facts like how once upon a time, volunteers were appointed to take care of law and order in the city, as well as witness the transition from use of animal units to motor vehicles. Interesting exhibits also includes the transition of weaponry, uniforms and insignias over time. Interactive exhibits like the police car and motorcycle are a hoot with the kids. Museums needn’t always be about art and craft and Toronto’s Police Museum stands as the best example to prove this.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Carlu

5) The Carlu

Known for many years as the "Eaton's Seventh Floor", the Carlu is the most impressive Art Déco interior in Toronto and even in the whole world. It opened in 1930 and was recently restored to its original beauty. The building is really outstanding and marvelous. There are organized different cultural events that can be visited and the place can be also rented. Itself an Art Moderne masterpiece, the Eaton's Seventh Floor was at the heart of Toronto's cultural life for many years. The Auditorium played host to the major performers of its day, including Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra. The first performance of the National Ballet of Canada was on the stage of the Eaton Auditorium. Canada's own Glenn Gould, fond of the Auditorium's excellent acoustics, used the hall for a number of his recordings. The Round Room was, as the name suggests, a circular room, with circular moldings in the domed ceiling and recessed alcoves in the corners. At the centre of the room stood a Lalique fountain, lit from below. Carlu was responsible for all aspects of the dining room's design, from the lighting fixtures to the Royal Worcester china, the stemware, and the waitresses' black uniforms. Carlu's wife, Natasha, designed the murals on the walls, depicting various scenes of pastoral life. For years, the Round Room was one of the most elegant places to dine in Toronto. Inside of the Carlu, monel, a steel-nickel alloy, was used for many accents. The monel can be found in the light fixtures, vents, doors and the fountain. It helps to play up the sleek lines in the space and the Art Moderne style. Marble paneling was also used at both ends of the foyer. The color palette for the Carlu was taken from the marble and spread throughout most of the floor. The Seventh Floor was eventually restored, after years of neglect, and was reopened in 2003 to much acclaim as "The Carlu" event venue. Today, the space acts as a special events venue. Concerts, dinners, galas, weddings, fashion shows are just a few of the events that take place at the Carlu.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Royal Ontario Museum

6) Royal Ontario Museum (must see)

From dinosaurs, meteors and historical artifacts to famous paintings, cultural artifacts and hands-on exhibits, the Royal Ontario Museum has it all. If you love museums and unraveling the past, historically, archeologically or scientifically, the Royal Ontario Museum is the place to be.

Receiving over a million visitors every year, the Royal Ontario Museum is one place that every tourist of Toronto has on his list. With over six million artifacts covering ancient history, art, meteorology, science, anthropology, archeology and paleontology, there is no mystery behind the huge reputation the Museum has. It is a proud owner of the largest collection of fossils from the Burgess Shale which is the world’s most popular and celebrated fossil field. Since its establishment in 1912, the Museum has had close ties with the University of Toronto. It was not until 1968, that the Royal Museum became a separate and independent body.

The architecture of the Museum also needs a special mention. The building is an amalgamation of different styles and designs of architecture ranging from Neo-Romanesque to Byzantine along with eye-catching ultra-modern and contemporary styles. The Royal Ontario Museum comes as the perfect treat for the eyes and provides food for imagination as well as one’s curiosity.

Why You Should Visit:
Royal and relevant; not only are the exhibits great and diverse too – the architecture alone is also an attraction.
Has over 40 galleries, a fantastic kids area on the 2nd floor, a nice souvenir shop & more.

There are special events held often, and on certain Friday nights, the museum will become party central with an organized social, bar and opportunity to mingle among the artifacts.
Plan on being at the museum for about one hour per exhibit/collection and note that some special exhibitions may have an additional charge.
The c5 Restaurant Lounge, located at the top of the Crystal, offers views of Liza's Garden, a sustainable garden installed on the museum rooftop, as well as the Toronto skyline, and there are also other fine dining/coffee spots inside or close-by.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art

7) Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art

If you are an admirer of clay and Chinaware, the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art is the place for you. The Museum is tucked humbly on Queen’s Park and is reportedly Canada’s only ceramic museum. Opened in 1984 by George R. Gardiner and his wife Helen Gardiner, the Museum has come a long way since its inception. Today, the Gardiner Museum is deemed as the jewel in the box of ceramic treasures and is a place you just cannot afford to miss if you are in Toronto.

With a collection of over 3000 pieces from all over the world, you can tour the works of ancient civilizations as well as contemporary artists from all over the world at the Gardiner Museum. Tour some of the rarest pottery you can find and the world’s oldest pieces of ceramic. From the works of ancient Americans and the delicate antique Ming vases to robust and artistic Italian Renaissance majolica, the Museum has it all. Owing to its increasing popularity and the ability to attract tourists in large numbers, the Museum also holds some very interesting temporary exhibits.

But the Gardiner Museum is not only about exhibits and plain demonstrations. It holds lectures, talks and classes for both adults and children. Apart from that, the Celebrity restaurant and the gift shop add fun to your visit.

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday: 10 am – 6 pm; Friday: 10 am – 9 pm; Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Bata Shoe Museum

8) Bata Shoe Museum

There are many things that we have so conveniently taken for granted, but just can’t do without them. Footwear is one such item, so very important, and yet so easily overlooked. But imagine a place just dedicated to footwear!

One of the most fascinating museums you can ever visit is the Bata Shoe Museum founded in 1940 by passionate shoe collector Sonja Bata. If the name sounds familiar, then you have guessed it right, she is associated with the giant shoe making empire. However, the museum boasts an independent collection of footwear and has hardly a dozen Bata pieces.

What started off as a fun hobby today is one of the most fascinating museums in the city. The Bata Shoe Museum is home to the largest collection of shoes and footwear related artifacts in the world. Along with a strictly time controlled exhibit, the Museum also holds lectures, talks and performances. Apart from that, the Museum also has a thriving research program which dives into the anthropological aspect of footwear and its evolution over time. Thanks to their in-depth understanding, the Museum also boast some 12,000 pieces of footwear related artifacts from all over the world spanning a time-frame of over 4,500 years. The best part is the brilliant structure which houses the exhibits. Shaped in the form of a shoe box, the building is just apt for the museum it is home to.

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday: 10:00am – 5:00pm; Sunday: 12:00pm – 5:00pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Toronto, Canada

Create Your Own Walk in Toronto

Create Your Own Walk in Toronto

Creating your own self-guided walk in Toronto is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Downtown Nightlife Part 1

Downtown Nightlife Part 1

An international hub and major metropolis, Toronto is also an important cultural center in Canada and North America. Seeing a large influx of tourists throughout the year, Toronto features a vibrant nightlife scene chock full of clubs, bars, restaurants, and lounges in the thriving Entertainment District located in the heart of the city and in outlying areas as well. Take this Toronto Nightlife...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Downtown Nightlife Part 2

Downtown Nightlife Part 2

An international hub and major metropolis, Toronto is also an important cultural center in Canada and North America. Seeing a large influx of tourists throughout the year, Toronto features a vibrant nightlife scene chock full of clubs, bars, restaurants, and lounges in the thriving Entertainment District located in the heart of the city and in outlying areas as well. Take this Toronto Nightlife...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
Toronto's Waterfront Self-guided Tour

Toronto's Waterfront Self-guided Tour

Toronto is located on the shore of Lake Ontario and it is more than obvious that the locals, as well as visitors to the city, cherish and admire the alluring views of the lake. Toronto's waterfront is one of the most picturesque places for walking, but it is also a great destination for those in search of entertainment. This walking tour will reveal all the pearls strewn along the quay....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 km
Religious Heart of Toronto Walking Tour

Religious Heart of Toronto Walking Tour

Because it is an ethnically diverse city, Toronto has different types of churches beginning with imposing Revival style Cathedrals to small postmodernist churches.This tour however aims to introduce you to some of the most famous religious structures in the city. While in Toronto be sure to check the ones listed below.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Souvenir Shopping Part 1

It would be a pity to leave Toronto without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Toronto, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.3 km
Art Lover's Tour In Toronto

Art Lover's Tour In Toronto

This tour will take you to a district that once embraced Gothic culture, and became a very popular tourist attraction. Young, vibrant and bohemian, Queen West Street is often compared to New York’s or London’s SoHo districts. It’s a hangout for many artists and musicians, with its many music stores, cafes, clubs and of course lots of art galleries. Follow this self-guided tour as it takes...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.5 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Traveler's Guide to Toronto: 15 Authentic Canadian Products to Bring Home

Traveler's Guide to Toronto: 15 Authentic Canadian Products to Bring Home

Toronto may well not be the whole Canada, but no Canada is whole without Toronto! By far too many things, quintessentially Canadian, associate with this bustling city, from Niagara Falls to Ice Hockey to... to mention but a few. To mention them all, check out the list of some not-to-be-missed...
The Epic Toronto Pub Crawl

The Epic Toronto Pub Crawl

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Toronto for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Toronto has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Toronto, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.