Discover the street murals, museums and captivating art exhibitions that will give Metro Toronto Conference Centre attendees a fresh perspective—even if they only have an hour or two to spare.

Those looking for a fresh source of inspiration will find it here in Toronto, where museums, galleries and public art abound. Creative minds—and those in search of inspiration—will have plenty of opportunities to immerse themselves in architecture, murals and framed work.

Plus, if they are attending a conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), they won’t have to venture far! Here are 8 iconic art and cultural landmarks attendees can easily access from the MTCC so they can refuel and recharge for the rest of the day’s agenda.

1. Take in the waterfront and contemporary art at The Power Plant.

A key feature of Toronto’s downtown waterfront, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery is Canada’s leading public contemporary art gallery. Unmissable thanks to its towering smokestack and its connection to the Harbourfront Centre, The Power Plant offers free admission year-round. Once there, attendees can take in rotating exhibitions featuring work from Canadian and international artists, plus a series of programs, including artist discussions and live performances.

Getting there from the MTCC: Walk 10 to 15 minutes down Simcoe Street to the waterfront. 

2. Explore Stackt, North America's largest shipping container market. 

Stackt Market is devoted to supporting local art, music, culture, and social enterprise. The "market" is made completely out of shipping containers which have been transformed into shops, galleries and creative hangout nooks. The space's events and programming are ever-rotating, but attendees can expect local art on display and a cast of vendors serving up everything from crated cocktails and beers brewed on-site to tacos and baos to new wardrobe must-haves.

Getting there from the MTCC: Walk 15 to 20 minutes west on Front Street. 


3. Retreat to the Market Gallery at St. Lawrence Market.

The Market Gallery offers a serene escape for event attendees in need of a change of scenery and mindset. Located on the second floor of the St. Lawrence Market—a must-visit for a peameal sandwich, artisanal goods and local fare—the gallery tells the story of Toronto’s history through film, photography and artefacts.

Getting there from the MTCC: Walk east along Front Street for about 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Take a coffee break and a graffiti walking tour in Queen West

Go on a scavenger hunt to find the best street art, murals and graffiti. Start at Graffiti Alley—home to black panthers, blue cats and pink ladies. These bold, bright and sometimes quirky street art murals provide a visual representation of Toronto’s diverse cultures and often evoke thought-provoking social commentary. From there, attendees can walk west along Queen Street West, lined with coffee shops, acclaimed restaurants, eclectic boutiques and yes, lots of incredible street art.

Getting there from the MTCC: Walk north to Graffiti Alley, about 20 minutes, or jump on the Spadina streetcar from Front Street and get off at Richmond. 

5. Dive into a kaleidoscope of artistic expressions at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest museums in North America and boasts more than 100,000 works of art, spanning from contemporary pieces to those dating back to the first century. The Frank Gehry–designed building, especially renowned for its iconic spiral staircase, is also one of the most photographed places in Canada. 

Getting there from the MTCC: Walk 20 minutes north or jump on the TTC Subway for two stops, from St. Patrick Station to St. Andrew Station. 

6. Explore centuries of global artistry at The Royal Ontario Museum.

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is home to awe-inspiring exhibits spanning natural history, art and heritage. One of Canada’s largest museums, the ROM has been a staple of knowledge and culture for more than a century.  The more than six million objects housed in the museum, combined with vast educational opportunities, contribute to its status as one of Canada’s premier cultural institutions.

Getting there from the MTCC: Take the TTC from St. Andrew Station up to St. George Station and allow about 20 minutes of travel time. (The Gardiner Museum is across the street and the Bata Shoe Museum is only about a 5 to 10 minute walk away.) 

7. Browse ceramics at Gardiner Museum.

Across the street from the Royal Ontario Museum, ceramics of all shapes and sizes are on display at the Gardiner Museum. Here, attendees can happily spend time perusing miniature sculptures, porcelain plates and earthenwares. The Gardiner Museum includes pieces from Europe, North America, and South America. Before leaving, attendees can stop by the gift shop to purchase jewellery, stationary and one-of-a-kind souvenirs from local artists.

Getting there from the MTCC: Take the TTC from St. Andrew Station up to St George Station and allow about 20 minutes of travel time. (The ROM is across the street and the Bata Shoe Museum is only about a 5 to 10 minute walk away.) 

8. Explore the creativity of footwear fashion at the Bata Shoe Museum.

Want to immerse attendees in design thinking, culture and function outside of their role? Look at shoes. The Bata Shoe Museum displays the evolution and redesigns of footwear, spanning centuries and continents, thanks to a collection of more than 1,000 shoes, boots, sandals and more. And, with its small size and easy-to-navigate setup, there’s plenty of time to view the entire collection in an hour, making it a perfect stop for a midday break. Plus, the architecture of the building—designed by award-winning Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama—is as stunning as its footwear collection.

Getting there from the MTCC: Take the subway from St. Patrick to St. George Station, about 20 minutes.