There’s something to be said about an afternoon in a museum. Whether you dress up for the occasion or simply stroll in with your flip-flops and oversized camera, there’s a lot to see in Ontario. It’s the second largest province with countless museum options. Here at Expedia Canada, we love spending afternoons exploring the culture of new places, which is why we’ve partnered with Attractions Ontario to share our top museum picks in Ontario that you simply can’t miss.
Take a peek inside your closet. Would you put any of your shoes in a museum? If you said yes, you’d get along swimmingly with Sonja Bata, the founder of the Bata Shoe Museum. Since the 1940s, Bata has searched high and low for footwear of historical, social, and artistic effect. Shoes represent more than getting from A to B; they tell a story of technological advancements and cultural tastes. See everything from Chinese bound foot shoes to modern glamour platforms when you visit the museum.
It’s a special occasion when you find a museum dedicated to the men and women who’ve put out monster fires throughout the decades. The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre was founded in 1987 by a group of volunteers, and today, the museum has expanded to include two dozen vintage aircraft and a 3D theatre. Climb into the cockpit of some of the nostalgic planes, watch as aircraft are rebuilt in the restoration area, and send Morse code messages from the 1940s-style ranger station. It’s an interactive museum you and the kids will love.
It’s not every day you can visit an underground museum that was built in total secrecy, but that’s exactly what you’ll find when you visit the Diefenbunker. When the country worried about nuclear disaster during the tense Cold War, the bunker was built to house 535 Canadian government officials and military personnel in case of a missile strike. Today, you can visit the 300 underground rooms and peruse the artifacts of the day.
In the early 1900s, Torontonians wanted a museum so grand it would make an impression on the world stage. When the Royal Ontario Museum opened in 1912, they got their wish. The centre is brimming with art, culture, and treasured pieces of man’s history. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II even helped usher in a new era of the centre in the late 1970s by opening the Terrace Galleries. When even the queen admires your museum, you know you can call it “Royal” with pride.
How about taking everything you know about museums and turning it inside out? That’s exactly what THEMUSEUM aimed to do when they opened their doors. The centre wanted to separate itself from the usual museum fare of artifacts and objects and revolve instead around ideas and experiences. This means several interactive exhibits and a range of topics from Titanic to Dr. Jane Goodall. Some of the permanent exhibits include a virtual graffiti wall, cartoon animation station, and musical mixing room.
Put on some comfy shoes and enjoy the day at the museums in Ontario. Whether you create graffiti or admire wacky shoes, it’s a day well spent.
– Expedia Canada Staff Writer