Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) showcases art, culture, and nature from around the world and across the ages. The museum is the largest of its kind in Canada, attracting more than one million visitors each year.
The museum features a world-class collection of 13 million art objects and natural history specimens, featured in 40 gallery and exhibition spaces. Discover dinosaur fossils, minerals and meteorites, historical artifacts, the world’s largest collection of fossils from the Burgess Shale and key Art Deco works.
The ROM first opened in March 1914 and today is Canada’s largest field-research institution, engaging in conservation and research activities around the globe.
The natural history galleries on the second floor showcase specimens of various animals, including polar bears, giant pandas and other endangered species like a leatherback sea turtle, a white rhinoceros, a Burmese python, the distinct coelacanth fish and flowers from rare plants. You’ll even find displays on recently extinct flightless birds like the moa and the infamous dodo bird. The Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity explores the theme “Life is Diverse, Life is Interconnected, Life is at Risk.” Other displays include the Tallgrass Prairies and Savannas and the Gallery of Birds.
For up-to-date information and details on the ROM, we recommend you visit their website. For information about other places of interest to explore nearby, keep scrolling to see what Destination Ontario recommends.
Some things to do may not be available due to COVID-19.
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More about Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum, or ROM as the locals call it, has more to do and see than possible in a single day. Between the natural history galleries, world cultural galleries, and art exhibitions, everyone in the family will have plenty to keep them curious and learning.
The interactive Bat Cave presents over 800 models of 20 bat specimens, set in recreated habitats that emulate their natural environments with sound effects, dimmed lighting and rock models to create the most realistic experience possible. Outside the cave, learning panels answer bat-related questions, while inside the cave you can use the Bat Cave Field Guide to identify the various species of bats and insects hiding among the cavern walls.
For those intrigued by the geology, the Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth’s Treasures explores 3,000 minerals, gems, rocks and meteorites, ranging from 4.5 billion years ago to the present day. The specimens come from locations scattered across the globe, the moon and beyond. Some notable specimens include fragments of the Tagish Lake meteorite and the Light of the Desert, which is the world’s largest faceted cerussite.
The museum also features more than 400 fossils from the Jurassic and Cenozoic periods, with 30 fossil skeletons of long-extinct mammals. A big draw is the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs and the Reed Gallery of the Age of Mammals. The galleries display non-avian dinosaur skeletons alongside early mammals, birds, marine life and other reptiles. A highlight of the galleries is Gordo, one of the most complete skeletons of a Barosaurus in North America and the largest dinosaur on display in Canada.
On the human side, explore the history of clothing and fabrics in the Patricia Harris Gallery of Costumes and Textiles. The ROM's significant collection of textiles and fashions is the largest in Canada and ranks amongst the top three collections in the world. The display items are rotated frequently to protect them, due to the fragility of fabrics over time, so even if you visit often, you’ll discover new things upon your visits.
Among the permanent collection on display includes galleries that depict global cultures near and far, from the Stone Age to 21st century artwork. Glimpse into the history and cultures of Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, South Asia, East Asia, Europe and ancient civilizations across the planet. Some objects you’ll find on display include ceremonial masks, ceramics, decorative art, armor, sculptures and classical antiquities from ancient Rome and Egyptian mummies.
For families with young children, the CIBC Discovery Gallery is a kids’ learning zone designed for preschoolers. The space enables kids to interact with history and culture through touchable artifacts and specimens, costumes, the examination of meteorites and fossils and even digging for dinosaur bones.
Another child-friendly space is the Patrick and Barbara Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-on Biodiversity. This space allows visitors to touch and feel the natural world with objects like shed snake skins, a shark jaw and a replica fox den.
The original building was designed by Toronto architects John A. Pearson and Frank Darling as a synthesis of the Neo-Romanesque and Italianate styles with rounded, segmented arched windows, hood mouldings, decorative eave brackets, cornices and quoins. The eastern wing, which faces the Queen’s Park, was designed by James Oxley and Alfred H. Chapman, with elaborate art deco designs inspired by Byzantine era architecture. A notable expansion is the contemporary Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. Considered to be one of the most challenging construction projects in North America for its engineering complexity and innovative methods, the Lee-Chin Crystal is composed of five interlocking, self-supporting prismatic structures that co-exist but are not attached to the original ROM building, except for the bridges that link them.
The ROM serves as a national landmark, and a dynamic cultural destination in the heart of Toronto for all to enjoy.