Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario, one of the largest art museums in North America with more than...
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In the Spotlight: Royal Ontario Museum
Welcome to Canada’s largest museum of world cultures and natural history.
The beautiful, attention-grabbing facade, inspired by the museum’s own mineral collection, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park) has to offer. The museum’s exterior, a.k.a. the Crystal, was designed to resemble an actual gemstone right on the streets of Toronto. And it truly does! Visitors to the museum are reminded of the chunky geometry of a gemstone up close—which they can view at the museum—as they walk through the doors of the ROM.
The striking exterior welcomes you into a vast museum filled with exhibits that speak to Ontario’s past, present and future identities. With respect to the history of the Indigenous people of Ontario, as well as a broad collection from all around the world, the ROM is considered one of the continent’s most important cultural institutions.
Spend the day hanging out with dinosaurs, travelling to ancient Egypt, and learning about Canada’s First Peoples, among other adventures. The ROM houses 13 million artworks, cultural objects and historical artifacts that span the long and fascinating history of Ontario, and Canada moreover. If you have just one afternoon to spend in Ontario, buy a ticket and hop on the bus to the ROM, located right in the heart of Toronto’s downtown.
Places to eat in or near the ROM
From upscale dining to casual eateries, there’s no shortage of classic Toronto spots to eat around the Royal Ontario Museum. Whether you’re after a drink at the end of your day or want to treat yourself to the meal of a lifetime, you won’t have to go further than a few blocks.
This gorgeously decorated Lebanese restaurant will have you licking your lips and sinking satisfied into the crushed velvet upholstery. Almost as beautiful as the museum itself, Amal is located just a few blocks from the ROM on Bloor Street. 131 Bloor St. W.
Duke of York
Just up Bedford Road off of Bloor Street, this casual pub offers all the local brews you’ve been wanting to try. Enjoy the sunshine from the upstairs patio, or cozy up in one of the classic pub booths. 39 Prince Arthur Ave.
c5 Restaurant Lounge
Located right inside the museum, this upscale dining destination has everything from artistic platings of swanky meals, to simple afternoon tea fare. Sit atop the Crystal and sip tea from fine china as you watch the streets of Toronto bustle below. 100 Queen’s Park
Things to see at the ROM
Take a deep dive into the cultural treasures of times past and present. Whether it’s fashion history, pop culture, or ancient relics, the ROM’s exhibits highlight the beauty and worldly significance of even the simplest objects.
With a carousel of new exhibits all the time, spanning a wide range of topics like Kent Monkman’s own interpretation of the ROM’s collection, rare wildlife photography, Canada’s Atlantic whales and Ethiopian artist Elias Slime’s artwork, to name a few.
The ROM also offers a wide range of digital exhibits that visitors can experience long after they’ve left the museum. Online exhibitions include the Blue Whale Project’s bittersweet story, an exploration of the Burgess Shale, and an in-depth look at the silks of highland Madagascar.
Along with fresh new exhibits, the ROM’s permanent collection includes around one million cultural objects gathered from around the world. With artifacts dating back to a range of time periods, from prehistoric civilization to present-day, visitors can explore the artwork, archaeology, fashion, and decor of ancient Asian, European, Greek, Roman, African, and Indigenous Canadian societies.
The ROM is Canada’s largest collection of natural history specimens, giving visitors the chance to explore an extensive treasure trove of botanical, zoological and mineral findings. Perhaps the most alluring is the collection of gems that sparkle and shine as you walk through the darkened exhibit. Diamonds aside, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to have the fossil of a millenniums-old dinosaur tower over you, or what it’s like to walk through a bat cave, check out the Royal Ontario Museum.
Head to the CIBC Discovery Gallery for hands-on learning and immersive events that your kids will love, like dressing up in medieval costumes, digging up dinosaur bones and interacting with historical props. ROM Daytime is yet another fascinating experience where participants partake in lectures pertaining to groundbreaking research and advancements in art, culture and nature. Afterwards, chat with fellow art aficionados over coffee, tea and treats.
Don’t miss the upscale c5 Restaurant Lounge, situated at the top of the Crystal facade. On the museum’s upper floor, order a coffee, drink, or fine dining meal to enjoy while you appreciate the view. And speaking of views, don’t forget to look up when you’re at the museum—you just might find the ROM’s gorgeous mosaicked ceiling!
Fun facts about the ROM
- The Royal Ontario Museum was founded in 1914
- The ROM is located on ancestral lands of several First Nations
- The ROM’s courtyard is a public space where Torontonians can enjoy a garden and a view of the crystal-shaped facade
- The ROM is the biggest museum in Canada
- The ROM is the fifth biggest museum in North America
- The museum is home to more than 13 million artifacts, including artwork, fossils, cultural items and more
- The museum’s dinosaur fossils span hundreds of millions of years
How to get to the ROM
From the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW): Take the Gardiner Expressway to Spadina Avenue. Continue north on Spadina to Bloor Street West and turn right. Continue on Bloor until arriving at Queens Park Avenue.
From the 401: Take the Don Valley Parkway south to the Bloor Street West ramp. Continue on Bloor until arriving at Queens Park.
Parking: The ROM doesn’t provide parking but there are many parking lots nearby.
By TTC: The closest stops are St. George Station (on the Bloor-Danforth Subway Line) and Museum Station (on the Yonge-University Subway Line).
By GO Transit: Transfer at Union Station and take the Yonge-University Subway Line to Museum Station.
By UP Express: Transfer at Union Station and take the Yonge-University Subway Line to Museum Station.
Build a virtual trip through Canada’s cultural capital, thanks to the miracles of technology.