Modern museums don’t just serve as static display cases; they’re interactive activity hubs that encourage visitors to think critically and explore.
This architectural marvel is the most-visited museum in Canada and houses four million collections that provide an accurate history of Canadian society. Be amazed by one of the world’s largest totem pole collections at Grand Hall or learn more about Canada’s Indigenous heritage in First Peoples Hall – these exhibits cover every facet of Canadian life!
The Royal Ontario Museum
Since 1914, The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM for short) has been celebrating art, culture and nature from around the globe and throughout history. Boasting an astounding world-class collection of 13 million objects spread over 40 galleries and exhibition spaces, ROM stands as an internationally significant cultural institution on continent. Step back in time and witness dinosaur fossils, minerals and meteorites; historical artifacts as well as mysterious Egyptian mummies among many other stunning finds at this spectacular cultural institution.
The Royal Ontario Museum’s collection of cultural relics is unparalleled in North America, making it one of the premier travel destinations. Dawn of Life provides an epic journey into our planet’s origins and its inhabitants; while other galleries highlight a range of subjects – Chinese tomb figurines dating from Hang and Tang Dynasties tomb figurines; Near Eastern and Asian art – including rare Buddhist and Daoist sculptures; as well as early Canadian decorative arts at Sigmund Samuel Gallery are just some.
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) houses archaeological collections from every continent, with the Egyptian collection being one of its main draws – it’s even larger than Canada! Additionally, its extensive art and ethnological collections, which once belonged to Rembrandt but are now known to belong to another artist (e.g. Portrait of a Seated Woman with a Handkerchief by Carel Fabritius being one of these masterpieces) include pieces like Portrait of a Seated Woman with a Handkerchief by Carel Fabritius which used to belong to Rembrandt until someone discovered its true identity as Art in 2016 by another artist (rembrandt had claimed authorship at that time).
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) houses over 40 galleries, and spending an afternoon exploring them all is well worth your while. Admire the lavish carvings on the outer walls of its original structure from 1914, or marvel at architect Daniel Libeskind’s modern Michael Lee-Chin Crystal extension that opened in 2007. Or learn about South Asian art and culture at Shreyas and Mina Ajmera Gallery of Africa, Americas and Asia-Pacific or explore an assemblage of artwork from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal Pakistan Tibet from Sir Christopher Ondaatje Gallery of South Asian Art!
The Musee de la Civilisation
Since opening its doors in 1988, the Musee de la Civilisation has embarked on an ambitious agenda with exhibitions that explore all the ways humans have shaped civilization. Thanks to innovative audiovisual and interactive technology use that has made it one of Canada’s most visited museums with numerous international awards to its credit. Furthermore, its sensitive approach towards diverse cultures from near and far make this museum world-renowned.
Old Quebec is home to an architectural complex housing the Museum. Situated near the port, its main building stands out as being uniquely modern with a spacious foyer connecting its two exhibit halls; yet its exterior echoes Old Quebec limestone architecture with copper roof and bell tower features that call back to nearby Place-Royale and Upper Town buildings.
Exhibits at this museum range from human anatomy and senses, Aboriginal culture, Quebec history and artificial intelligence development – as well as its ever-evolving collections that cover an abundance of topics – to artificial intelligence itself. A dynamic museum that draws in visitors of all ages!
Many exhibits at this museum feature immersive holographic technology to give visitors a real experience of living in Quebec’s past, while others draw from leading anthropologists’ works and include documents and photographs from its archives to tell a tale. It is an ideal way for people to gain knowledge of Quebec culture as it has changed through time.
This museum is also an ideal destination to bring children. They will love exploring its exhibits about Quebec’s culinary heritage – making for an entertaining afternoon visit in Old Quebec!
The Quebec City Museum hosts a range of cultural activities, from live concerts and lectures to special events and exhibitions. A must-visit for visitors, this attraction boasts gift shops, souvenir boutiques, shows and a leisure room as well as friendly and helpful staff along with an exceptional restaurant that provides tasty cuisine! Open Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 5 pm
The Canadian Museum of Immigration
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is Canada’s sixth national museum, celebrating and exploring immigration stories as well as our multicultural society and heritage. Situated at 1055 Marginal Rd in Halifax and taking up what used to be known as Pier 21, where over one million immigrants arrived between 1928-1971.
Prior to recent years, the museum’s collection focused on those who passed through Pier 21, but has expanded over time to cover immigrant experiences at all Canadian ports of entry and beyond. Furthermore, their oral history collection contains over 2,000 stories and 500 interviews that can be viewed either onsite at Scotiabank Family History Centre or online.
In 2015, the Museum underwent a significant transformation and assumed a national museum mandate, bringing to life immigration through two galleries. The Pier 21 Gallery highlights first-person accounts from immigrants who entered Canada at its marine gateway between 1928 and 1971 via this marine gateway – Origin Studios designed a vibrant exhibit space to complement this section anchored by wood and painted steel from its historic building.
The exhibit provides many “wow” moments, from an immersive recreation of a ship’s dining room and cabin, to a scaled recreation of a Colonist train car, as well as the Scotiabank Family History Centre where visitors can search for their family stories.
To craft an engaging visitor experience, the Museum conducted persona interviews with parents and empty-nesters from Halifax as well as international students and tourists from Toronto (where most out-of-town visitors reside). Research confirmed that its brand idea “Gateway to Empathy” resonated strongly with all these audiences; however, some barriers needed to be addressed – for instance many felt more could be done to counter the impact of recent news stories on perceptions about immigrants; as such, its message needed to become more accessible and relevant for today’s visitors.
The Museum of Anthropology
On the University of British Columbia campus lies this museum dedicated to world arts and cultures. Designed by Arthur Erickson, its building has garnered critical acclaim for combining contemporary architectural forms with its setting and artifacts, as well as its “visible storage” system that allows visitors to see all collections behind glass or Plexiglas cases.
The Museum of Anthropology opened in 1978 and boasts one of the finest collections of Northwest Coast First Nations art, such as ornately carved totem poles, ritual masks and canoes from Northwest Coast First Nations peoples. Additionally, they hold a respectable archaeological collection. Furthermore, its Great Hall features totem poles with views overlooking Point Grey Cliffs as well as sculptures by legendary Haida artist Bill Reid who made this space his personal canvas.
Outside, a crushed stone path leads visitors past wooden Musqueam post-and-lintel structures and two nineteenth century-inspired Haida houses before arriving at a large ethnobotanical area planted with maples, hemlocks, mahonia and ferns. They can also stroll along a meadow stretching between the main building and forested cliffs that features both reflecting pool and shell beach at its base.
The Great Hall features a breathtaking collection of totem poles and cultural artifacts from British Columbia communities such as Gitxsan, Kwakwaka’wakw, and Haida; works commissioned from Musqueam artists; including Bill Reid’s yellow cedar sculpture Raven and the First Men – featured on Canada’s twenty dollar bill – as well as works commissioned from Musqueam artists commissioned specifically for this museum exhibit.
Make the most of your visit by scheduling a docent-led tour; their staff is well informed and will ensure an engaging experience. Admission costs normally $18 for adults and $47 for families, though UBC students, staff, children under six, Thursday evenings from 5-9 pm admission is free – parking may also be available nearby but public transit would likely be easier as the museum can be found at 6393 NW Marine Drive on the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus.