Discover Indigenous Experiences in Toronto

Learn about Indigenous culture, history, and art as you explore Toronto on this 2-day itinerary.

Indigenous cultures, history and art are valued in Toronto, where they have played a foundational role in the city’s diversity and dynamism. Learn more about Indigenous events and culture in the city with these top experiences. Use the map to help you plan your own itinerary, or follow our curated guide below.

Download the First Story app 

Start your adventure by downloading the First Story app (available on Google Play and the App Store). Developed at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, the app has an interactive map featuring original stories, photographs, archival documents, and audio and video clips that illuminate the evolving Indigenous history of the Toronto area.

Day 1

Savour Indigenous cuisine with a view

Start your day with lunch at 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower, which offers a three-course prix-fixe meal designed by chef David Wolfman, a leading Toronto chef and culinary professor from the West Coast’s Xaxli’p First Nation. Dishes include braised bison short rib and seabuckthorn custard.

Tour the Art Gallery of Ontario

From there, it’s a scenic walk to the Art Gallery of Ontario for a tour of the many works from the First Peoples of North America, as well as global Indigenous art from Africa, Australia and the Torres Strait Islands.

An AGO highlight is contemporary Inuit art, with an emphasis on work produced in Canada since 1948.

Art and dinner in Old Town 

Located in downtown’s Old Town neighbourhood, Bay of Spirits Gallery is a must-stop for serious collectors or anyone wanting to appreciate great Indigenous art. It specializes in Inuit and First Nations sculpture, paintings, Northwest Coast wood carvings and more.

A short stroll away, the car-free Distillery Historic District is a lovely spot for further exploration and tasty nosh.

Also see: Explore Indigenous Art in Toronto

Day 2

Be amazed by a 50-tonne Inukshuk sculpture

Not too far from the downtown core, you’ll find the Toronto Inukshuk Park, home to one of the world’s largest Inukshuk sculptures.

Measuring 9 m (30 ft) tall and 4.5 m (15 ft) wide, the piece was crafted by Inuk artist, Kellypalik Qimirpik, using over 50 tonnes of mountain rose granite. Its lakeside locale makes it a perfect area for strolling and taking in the views.

Shop for one-of-a-kind artisan crafts

If you’re souvenir hunting, the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto’s Cedar Basket Gift Shop sells a range of pieces designed by Indigenous artisans. While there, be sure to browse the art collection on the walls of the centre. 

Also see: Indigenous Experiences

Learn about Indigenous footwear  

A short walk along Bloor Street from there, you’ll find the Bata Shoe Museum, which houses handcrafted works of historical and cultural significance, including an extensive collection of Indigenous footwear.

Before you visit, check out the Making of Moccasins video with Justine Woods, a Métis interdisciplinary designer based in Tkaronto.

Sample Indigenous dishes and local ingredients 

Since 2012, Gerrard East’s Tea-N-Bannock has been serving dishes that reflect culture both past and present. For guests looking to experience true Indigenous flavours, choose from pickerel, Arctic char, wild rice, bison, elk and, of course, traditional bannock.

You may also like: Experience Culture & Cuisine at Toronto’s Indigenous Arts Festival

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