From livability to trendsetting, Toronto lands itself at the top of most must-do and look-out-for destination lists. And for good reason. Besides celebrated diversity, cuisine and entertainment, this city serves up a smorgasbord of culture.
Dive into science, technology, media, storytelling, art and craft at these new, notable and not-as-well-known cultural gems.
ILLUSIONS & MIRRORS
Museum of Illusions
123 Front Street East
One of Toronto’s newest attractions, the Museum of Illusions recently opened its doors in the heart of downtown. Over 80 brain teasing exhibits include tilted rooms, vortex tunnels, reverse rooms, holograms and more. It’s an Instagrammer’s dream.
Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas Street West
Let’s Survive Forever is another surreal exhibit to check out. Because Toronto couldn’t get enough of the visiting Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors 2018 exhibition, the Art Gallery of Ontario acquired a mirror room from the Japanese artist as part of its permanent collection. So, if you missed it last summer, you’re in luck. You’ll be able to experience the immersive room of mirrors, reflection and orbs this spring.
CONTEMPORARY ART & DESIGN
Museum of Contemporary Art
158 Sterling Road
Recently relocated, the Museum of Contemporary Art is now housed in the first five floors of the historic Tower Automotive Building in the hip west end neighbourhood of the Junction. MOCA serves as a culture hub, aiming to reshape Toronto’s art scene from its new digs.
The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
231 Queens Quay West
Expand your mind with more thought-provoking expression at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery on the Harbourfront. Devoted to contemporary visual art from Canada and around the world, the public gallery offers free admission year round.
The Museum of New
18 Bellwoods Place
Culture vultures need to visit the Museum of New, tucked away in a laneway beside Trinity Bellwoods Park. Originally established for the New New Painters collective, this little gem hosts forward-thinking artists and shows that challenge established views. Open Saturdays only, you’ll need to call ahead to book an appointment.
The Design Exchange
234 Bay Street
If design is your jam, make tracks to the Design Exchange, Canada’s only design museum dedicated to creativity and innovation. It’s located in the old Toronto Stock Exchange building and featured in the lobby is mini-exhibit, DXUncrated, a selection from the permanent collection.
ENTERTAINMENT & MEDIA
MZTV Museum of Television and Archives
64 Jefferson Avenue
Toronto professor and intellect, Marshall McLuhan, famously coined ‘the medium is the message’. The MZTV Museum of Television and Archives in Liberty Village tells the story of this impactful medium with a comprehensive collection of sets from the 1920s to the 1970s, along with other TV memorabilia.
TIFF Bell Lightbox
350 King Street West
In the heart of the entertainment district, the eclectic TIFF Bell Lightbox is a cinephile’s paradise. Home to a film reference library, a Canadian film gallery, special events, screenings, workshops, and of course, it’s the epicentre of the annual Toronto International Film Festival.
The Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge Street
Love the medium of print? The Toronto Reference Library boasts one of the world’s largest collections of works by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the genius who delivered us Sherlock Holmes. Located on the 5th floor in the Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre is a room designed and decorated to reflect our favourite detective’s study on Baker Street and hosts all of Doyle’s masterpieces. Elementary!
The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
120 St George Street
If you really want to blow minds at your book club, check out the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto. It’s the largest collection of rare books and manuscripts in Canada and is currently running a Victorian natural history exhibition. The library even contains annotated books by local legend McLuhan himself, which you’re allowed to thumb through.
ARTS & CRAFT
1106 Queen Street West
Craft Ontario celebrates professional craftspeople with an assortment of unique, handmade clay, glass, metal and wood one-of-a-kinds to admire or purchase. Their Space Gallery Craft Shop also represents Inuit and Indigenous art.
The Gardiner Museum
111 Queen’s Park
The Gardiner Museum pays homage to the ceramic arts with a fascinating permanent collection and traveling exhibits. This amazing place takes a literal approach to hands-on with drop-in, open-studio clay classes.
The Textile Museum of Canada
55 Centre Avenue
For those of us who like to touch, The Textile Museum of Canada is a lovingly curated collection of fabrics, garments, carpets and quilts from around the world, including some pretty interesting cultural and ceremonial artifacts. Sunday guests will be treated to free tours at 2pm, while Wednesday evening admission is pay-what-you-can.
Round out your weekend in Toronto at an artsy boutique hotel, sample the finest in culinary arts, and wash it all down with an artisanal beverage. Find it all and more at ontariotravel.net.