Top 15 Museums in Canada

From Pacific coast to Atlantic Canada, from the barren plains of Yukon to the evergreen forests of BC, Canada’s nature embraces many historical and geological curiosities. Most of these fascinating elements, including the natural heritage sites, calcified evidence of earth’s ancient residents, and the archival relics, are depicted in a variety of museums across the country. Canada’s unique collection of aboriginal artifacts stands unparalleled in its kind and preserving the world’s most extensive dinosaur collections.

Some displays take you back to the lives of ancient humans, while others emerge into the aristocratic history of medieval Canada; since the colorful arrays of culture brought by early European settlers, the country’s formation over 153 years ago, and the birth of a unique and thriving multicultural society.

We have sieved through Canada’s 2300 museums and collected the top 15 foundations, that promise both a learning and entertaining experience.

1. National Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver

National Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver

With over half a million items, the Museum of Anthropology takes the visitors on a journey of aboriginal wonders, and the world’s art and culture. The museum started as a personal collection, gathered by the first nation culture enthusiast, Frank Burnett, and later acquired by BC’s University.

Apart from the elegant café, the building is divided into culturally significant fragments; Northwest Coast Masterworks includes the ancient totem poles and sculptures, Koerner’s exquisite assemblages of European ceramics, a temporary exhibition area, and lastly multicultural section showcasing various ethnographic objects from distinct eras and nations.

The most iconic items of the anthropologic collections are the Raven and the First Men sculpture, the towering totem poles rowing around the museum’s great hall, and George Nelson’s detailed cedar house. Just outside the building, a reflection pool was constructed to mirror the museum’s structural figure, creating an astonishing vista and fresh air during summer days.

2. Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

Standing as Canada’s largest museum, the Royal Ontario Museum blends modern art, ancient culture, and natural heritage together. At the intellectual heart of town, the displays are sheltered in a state-of-the-art building- inspired by synthetic architectural cubism; the architecture is a compositional phenomenon, offering at one part a classic brick building, and the other a massive metal-glass crystal nudging outwards. The masterwork was added by the American-polish engineer, Daniel Libeskind.

It houses forty galleries with millions of unique artifacts; covering geological finds such as dinosaur bones, spectacular gems and rocks, fascinating bird and animal mounts, aboriginal cultural articles, artworks from all over the globe, and even the historic evidence of Babylon. Such mind-boggling collections have found their way into many works of literature and a handful of TV series and films. With over a century of history, ROM is the top museum destination on our list.

3. Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller

Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller

Located in the badlands of Red Deer Valley, the grand Royal Tyrrell Museum is the country’s only prehistoric museum, dedicated to studying and presentation of Paleontological discoveries. The entire region is dotted with fossils and calcified bio-organisms, mostly related to the ancient seas and giant lizards; Midland Provincial Park is the best place to see these phenomena elements, linked to the museum’s principal building with a 1.4-kilometer long fossil trail.

The galleries exhibit hundreds of permanent fossils, alongside audio and visual guides that help visualize life in the Mesozoic Era. A great section of the structure is dedicated to libraries and research centers; regular educational workshops, programs about fossil formation and relevant resources on the specimens feature the intellectual prestige of the Royal Tyrrell; it was named in the remembrance of Joseph Tyrrell, the 20th-century geologist who excavated the first dinosaur in the valley.

4. Musée de la Civilisation, Quebec City

Musée de la Civilisation, Quebec City

At the vicinity of St. Lawrence River, the curious structure of Musee de la civilization is a fusion of old and new. Within the astounding structure, the collections immerse into the culture and history of Quebec’s regional territory, since the first aboriginal tribes.

During Capitale-Nationale’s days of glory, medieval Europe played an important part in the region’s historic turning points-the museum presents a great many tangible evidence of such events, together with many cultural relics of French America. Interactive programs, seasonal celebrations, and children’s workshops highlight the museum’s timely specials.

5. Pointe-à-Callière Museum, Montreal

Pointe-à-Callière Museum, Montreal

Pointe-à-Callière archaeology museum of Monreal presents the country’s medieval to modern history for the past four hundred years while providing insights on Quebec’s aboriginal culture. Concealing nine grand galleries, it walks the visitors through the historic chain of events provoked by French and British monarchies in Canada. Ethnohistorical findings, documents, and maps of European navigators embody most of the permanent exhibitions.

Temporary galleries display modern artworks, honorary exhibitions of related artifacts from diverse world-famous museums, and art performances. The entire structure is built over a few significant heritage sites; hence, the museum’s building together with its displays has been designated as a National Historic Site.

6. The Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg

The Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg

At the heart of Métis Nation’s homeland, Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature reflects on the natural and ethnic history of the territory. It encompasses a large planetarium for entertaining visual tours and events, a science gallery hall, vast collections of First Nations’ lifestyle and craft, and earth’s history depicted in artworks and life-size models.

A gallery hall particularly illustrates the marine life before on-land fauna came to being, dating back to 450 million years ago. The museum encompasses the entire natural and cultural wonders from the arctic shorelines to the prairie country of Manitoba while shining a light on the ancient oceanography.

7. Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg

Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg

In harmony with the multicultural essence of the country, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the one and only museum dedicated to this cause. This museum aims to educate, evaluate, and revoke the worldwide passion for preserving human rights and expressing the correlation of all humanity as a society.

It incorporates fun workshops and programs for all ages, displaying historic examples and simplifying rather complex subjects into true and engaging stories- for if it is imagined, it becomes possible.

8. Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton

Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton

Noted as the largest museum in western Canada, Royal Alberta Museum sits at the heart of Edmonton’s downtown- fringed by many art centers and the town’s finest restaurants. This museum focuses on the nation’s natural history, displaying collections of first nation inhabitants dating beyond 11,000 years.

Apart from archaeological interests, several galleries are dedicated to astonishing geological finds and evolutionary fossils of birds, animals, and insects. Temporary exhibits host either art and photography or heritage displays from foreign cultures; depending on the time of your visit, different attractions may await.

The most iconic section is perhaps the Bug Room, portraying interesting to revolting sets of insects. Most distinguishing aspects of Edmonton’s royal museum include its significant assortments of dinosaur fossils, ethnologic belongings of aboriginal tribes, and elements of Canada’s modern past-whether military acts or western cultural events. The main structure also maintains a children’s gallery, complemented with entertaining programs for young visitors.

 9. Canadian Museum of Immigration, Halifix

Canadian Museum of Immigration, Halifix

When the world wars started taking a toll on Europe and Asia, many people found hope in the farther horizons to find safety, and to build new homes. Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 honors the memory of these immigrants, traveling to Canada throughout the 20th century. Countless journeys left their marks in the firsthand stories, artifacts, old and worn out photographs, and much more.

Preserving these material reminiscences, the museum was established in Nova Scotia’s former immigration facility. The structure also reveres the memory of over half a million Canadian soldiers, who departed from the country to join the war, on the Wall of Service. The Sobey Wall of Honour mentions the name of migrating individuals who helped rebuild Canada.

As a multicultural center from its very beginning, it still contributes to cultural activities; such as accommodating integration programs, celebrating citizenships, and genealogical services.

10. Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau

Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau

The Canadian National Museum of History embraces the country’s largest cultural collection, located an hour’s drive from Quebec city. Built by an aboriginal architect, Douglas Cardinal, Blackfoot architectural techniques have been used in construction-contributing to the flow of energy, avoiding the accumulation of negative entities, and adorned with many consequential indigenous symbols.

In means of urban beautification, the architecture used copper domes, which turned green due to erosions and matched with the Parliament’s cupola.

Verging the sparkling Ottawa river, the mesmerizing building houses many parades; a general hall with the world’s largest photograph and totem pole collection, a glance through the aboriginal history, their accomplishment and mingling with the European settlers at First Peoples Hall, the two floors dedication to Canadian history hall including the queen Elizabeth’s heraldic statues and world’s oldest hockey stick collection.

11. Bank of Canada Museum, Ottawa

Bank of Canada Museum, Ottawa

Bank of Canada Museum is all about money and money art on both Canadian and foreign currencies. With over hundred thousands of monetary items, this museum is a collectors’ haven, while offering interesting insights on the world’s remuneration. Starting from two thousand years ago, initial coins and banknotes demonstrate the monetary evolution until the finding of the modern banking system- weights and hand scales, numismatic medals and even ancient counterfeit money- feature the museums’ main objects. At the entrance, a rai stone symbolizes the exhibit’s content, referring to the monetary value of these large stones in cultures of Caroline Islands’ tribes. The museum has a knack for storytelling as well, incising through the records behind money art. overlooking the bureaucratic name, this national museum is among some of the most unique and interesting exhibitions of North America.

12. The Canadian War Museum, Ottawa

The Canadian War Museum, Ottawa

The patriotic look of the Canadian War Museum shines from far, illustrating its almost uniformed building and wavering enormous flags. Whether for the thrill of warcraft gazing, or discovering the demonstrative past of Canadian soldiers during the wars- this museum is an optimum destination. Hitler’s personal cruise car, tanks, machine and guns, life-size trenches, artifacts from WWII and the cold war comprise the military relics. “Palace of Memory” is allotted to the memorial representation of the national soldiers’ personal artifacts, letters with touching stories, and archives together with informational programs.

As the bitter memory of every war, it is crucial to remember the purpose of resistance; Regeneration Hall symbolizes “hope for a better tomorrow” in bitter-sweet memories of those lives the nation lost, and the honors gained.

13. Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria

Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria

The Royal BC Museum commemorates the excavated or donated elements belonging to the province’s ethnographic and natural past. Cultural aspects of indigenous communities of British Columbia, including 34 linguistic branches, art, and presentations relating to the current living statues. Lined with totem poles, Thunderbird Park houses the Mungo Martin House, marking it as an indigenous art gallery and a get-together point.

The museum cherishes the memorial of George Vancouver, illustrating his original portrait, and a scientific replica of his ship- noted as the galley’s icon. The grand exhibitions even include the reconstruction of the old town in its flourishing days- details are so captivating that evoke the true sentiments of medieval French settlements in the region.

In a country that different noble families, farmers, and craftsmen came together from diverse parts of the world, family lineages are often clearly traced back to the very first forefathers; BC’s family archives are kept at the museum, offering maps, photographs, handwritten documents, and royal seals. Temporary displays also take place here, often embodying modern art and themed exhibitions.

14. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto

Enlisted among the most elaborate art galleries in entire North America, the Art Gallery of Ontario boasts nearly 100, 000 artworks. It is noted as one of the largest art museums worldwide; the building comprises a series of structures, fluctuating in architectural style, landscaping, and content. Starting from The Grange facade on the southern side, dating from the mid-19th century, the modern addition of Galleria Italia, Moore sculpture hall, and titanium and glass swirls; mark the mentionable segments.

The Gallery Includes an in house artist residence and promotes innovative art performed by native and foreign emerging artists. Additionally, historic works from 1 BC to the present day include permanent exhibitions, ranging from renowned artists to nameless masterworks.

After strolling through the buildings, joined with fine passages, shaded benches in Italian courtyards, and English gardens, you can visit the gallery’s elegant restaurants for a fine dining experience. Gift shops themed entertaining programs and stop by cafes highlight other recreational elements.

15. Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina

Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina

At proximity to Beaver Hill’s native grasslands, Royal Saskatchewan Museum is one of Canada’s oldest museums. Established over 115 years ago, it aims to conserve and display over 3.5 million of the natural and ethnological history of Saskatchewan.

Most of the exhibits are related to earth science, including dioramas, calcified bio-organics relating to the understanding of life, and the world’s largest T. Rex at CN T. Rex Gallery. Exhibits of the First Nation people provide reflections on the first nation’s anthropology, life, and trade with the modern Europeans.

Canada’s museums, whether small or big, carry their own charm and significance; however, some stand out. In addition to the above list, here are three more of our favorite museums;

Saskatchewan Science Centre, Regina

Saskatchewan Science Centre is Regina’s science museum, established on an old power plant. The science center offers activities for all visitors, including child entertaining programs, to engaging activities for adults.

Dawson City Museum, Yukon

The museum displays the glorified past of the region’s mining industry and later the downfall of the gold rush, leaving bankruptcy behind. The building itself is a national historic site, describing the Klondike heritage during the industrial boom and the neighboring aboriginal communities.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Recognized as one of North America’s largest art gallery museums, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts conceals a grand collection of nearly 50,000 artworks from native and international artists. Fine arts, films, art clips, and architectural arts- the museum is riddled with awe-inspiring art.

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