Must-visit museums in Ontario
If you're a cultural enthusiast, here's a selection of "must see" museums to add to your list.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada (MOCA) is brimming with innovative and thought-provoking art and exhibits. Located in Toronto’s Lower Junction Triangle, MOCA occupies the first three floors of the former Tower Automotive Building, once a factory producing aluminum products during World War II.
Pick up delicious baked goods at the museum’s brightly lit cafe, or publications and one-of-a-kind gifts at its shop. MOCA’s rotating installations and exhibitions make each visit new and exciting.
Location: 158 Sterling Road #100, Toronto
Founded by media genius Moses Znaimer, The MZTV Museum of Television provides a fascinating journey into the history of television. Learn about TV inventors and pioneers, marvel at the largest collection of early televisions—including TVs once owned by Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe—and explore technology that has revolutionized the TV experience.
Location: 64 Jefferson Avenue, Toronto
Did you know that Niagara Falls was an important stop on the Underground Railroad? Or that Niagara Falls was a notable locale during the War of 1812? Learn all of this and more at the Niagara Falls History Museum. From artwork inspired by historical events to critical analyses of current events, this museum covers hundreds of years of Niagara’s history.
The museum has partnered with the Battle Ground Hotel Museum, the Willoughby Historical Museum and Lundy’s Lane Battlefield, all located near the majestic Niagara Falls.
Location: 5810 Ferry Street, Niagara Falls
Kitchener’s modern art and science museum has an abundance of interactive exhibits on space, the Earth, history and more. There are also exciting exhibits that pop culture fans will want to see.
Whether you visit for the art, the science or simply to play some one-of-a-kind games, this treasured museum offers plenty of fun and educational entertainment.
Location: 10 King Street West, Kitchener
Ottawa’s Cumberland Heritage Village showcases historic buildings from the early 1900s. Town landmarks like the Vars Train Station or the A.E. McKeen General Store are filled with artifacts from the early 20th century, while costumed actors provide an interactive glimpse into the general way of life during that time.
Location: 2940 Old Montreal Road, Cumberland
Housed in the historic Sam Steele Memorial Building, the Orillia Museum of Art & History (OMAH) is located in the city’s art district. There’s even a former jail in the basement of the building that stores the museum’s archives and records. OMAH carries a wealth of the town’s history and its exhibits are changed frequently.
Location: 30 Peter Street South, Orillia
The extensive educational exhibits and collections of art, culture and nature at Canada’s largest museum provide a powerful connection to the past and endless inspirations for the future.
Visit three levels of gallery space showcasing an array of artifacts from early civilization and natural history and so many interactive ways of learning. Mark your calendars for exclusive exhibits and exciting programming from across Canada and around the world.
Location: 100 Queen's Park, Toronto
Celebrating the considerable contributions of Muslim culture, the Aga Khan Museum features extensive and rare collections that include elaborate tapestries, captivating paintings, ancient books and a variety of ceramics and metallics from thousands of years of history.
The museum’s architecture is equally impressive with intricate details, open-concept spaces and natural lighting. Even its restaurant, which serves Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian-inspired cuisine, has 18th-century decorative art. The venue also boasts a masterfully landscaped garden oasis with a stunning granite pool.
Location: 77 Wynford Drive, North York
Canada’s first national museum is a great place to learn about nature and wildlife from various regions. The Fossil Gallery presents prehistoric existence in a dramatic and engaging setting. Learn about water, minerals and rocks and see the arctic region guided by interactive activities and innovative multimedia.
Visitors are also treated to exhibits of over 400 species of birds, thousands of fossils of reptiles, mammals and fish and a variety of new and exciting programs.
Location: 240 McLeod Street, Ottawa
Home of the original Stanley Cup, this museum salutes amateur and professional hockey excellence and celebrates the nostalgia of the sport. Check out the many trophies and peruse the vintage jerseys of your favourite NHL hockey teams, awards, retro hockey sticks and various exhibits featuring hockey superstars.
Hone your hockey skills by playing interactive activities, answer trivia questions to test your hockey knowledge or see if you have what it takes to be the next sports broadcaster.
Location: 30 Yonge Street, Toronto
Those who served in Canada’s military from the Loyalist era to modern times are honoured at the Canadian Military Heritage Museum, including the valiant and important contribution of women and Indigenous people. Military enthusiasts will want to see the restored military vehicles and planes displayed, while knowledgeable guides provide exciting stories about brave and historic moments.
Location: 347 Greenwich Street, Brantford
Once considered the richest man in Canada, Sir Harry Oakes acquired his wealth prospecting gold and invested in the most successful mining company in Kirkland Lake. His former residence and historical landmark is now the site of the Museum of Northern History.
The museum features art exhibits and various artifacts from the turn of the century that demonstrate everyday life in Kirkland Lake. A children’s bedroom built for Harry Oakes's oldest daughter, Nancy, is a popular attraction. The room contains vintage furnishings, a dollhouse and clever and elaborate designs applied to its stucco walls.
Location: 2 Chateau Drive, Kirkland Lake
Located in the world-class Charles W. Stockey Centre for Performing Arts, the Bobby Orr Museum recognizes the career of hockey legend Bobby Orr, who was born in Parry Sound.
In addition to the proud display of the famous number 4 jersey and NHL memorabilia, the museum features rare collections from Bob Orr’s early career in hockey and also honours notable athletes with ties to Parry Sound. There are various interactive hockey-inspired games available for families to play.
Location: 2 Bay Street, Parry Sound
Find more museums and heritage sites in Ontario.
Last updated: September 11, 2023