Marvel at the tiny ballroom slippers worn by Queen Victoria. Check out photos of hockey players like Wayne Gretzky. View a 10th-century prayer amulet. Be dazzled by giant reptiles that roamed the Earth millions of years ago. Four excellent museums in Toronto, Ontario, offer these treasures and so much more. It’s no wonder the Bata Shoe Museum, Hockey Hall of Fame, Aga Khan Museum, and Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are so popular with groups.
“Toronto’s museums leave a lasting impression on visitors,” says Vanessa Somarriba, senior media relations manager for Destination Toronto. “From learning about the history of shoes at the Bata Shoe Museum, to seeing the Stanley Cup in person at the Hockey Hall of Fame, or the largest real fossil dinosaur skeleton mounted in Canada at the Royal Ontario Museum, we have some of the most unique museums, so there’s something for every kind of group,” Somarriba says.
Founded in 1914, The Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest museum, growing to house more than 13 million pieces of artwork, cultural objects, and specimens of natural history. More than 40 galleries and exhibition spaces highlight displays about dinosaurs, works by Canada’s First Nations people, and much more.
Conveniently located around the corner from ROM, the Bata Shoe Museum was founded in 1995 by Sonja Bata, a shoe industry executive and world traveler who amassed a terrific trove of footwear. Home to the world’s largest collection of shoes and footwear-related items, the foot-focused gem is famous for its celebrity shoes.
A marvel of architecture, the Aga Khan Museum is a striking museum that celebrates Islamic art and culture. Designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, the cubist structure presents a modern exterior for the historic art and artifacts housed inside. The core of the collection was assembled by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan (1933-2003) who began acquiring works of art in the 1950s while studying at Harvard University.
Toronto has long been famed for exciting hockey games and outstanding hockey players. The city’s Hockey Hall of Fame has the largest collection of hockey memorabilia in the world, including the original Stanley Cup. Immersive exhibits and historic collections from all teams attract sports enthusiasts who like to look for photos and memorabilia of their favorite players.
For assistance with booking group tours, Somarriba advises tour operators to visit Destination Toronto’s content hub, which provides information about each of these locations and what makes each a must-see.
Article by Jackie Sheckler Finch
Main image: Royal Ontario Museum; Credit: Royal Ontario Museum