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7 Under-the-Radar Museums in Toronto

Step off the beaten path to discover a new side of Toronto.
Hi, I'm Diane!

Based in Vancouver, B.C., Diane Selkirk enjoys writing stories where science, history, or social justice intersect with travel. Her work has appeared in BBC Travel, National Geographic Travel, and The Globe and Mail.

Museums like the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Art Gallery of Ontario are worthwhile destinations. But Toronto is a city with hidden depths, including a trove of lesser-known museums to explore. Blend in with the locals at some of Toronto’s quirkiest (and best!) galleries and art spaces, and discover Toronto’s vibrant cultural scene.

Ukrainian Museum of Canada

The entry sign for the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Toronto.
Canada has a long relationship with Ukraine.Bildquelle: Ben B / Tripadvisor

Learn more about Canada’s long-standing connection to Ukraine.

Founded in 1944, the Ontario branch of this museum highlights the long history of Ukrainian-Canadians and the communities they’ve built. Located in the Harbord Village neighborhood, just west of the University of Toronto, the Ukrainian Museum of Canada has featured exhibits on the steamer trunks brought over by early immigrants, examples of traditional embroidery and other handicrafts, and an exploration of the history of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Don’t miss: Make sure to check out the gift shop for the chance to purchase handmade artwork and jewelry.

Textile Museum of Canada

Exhibits inside the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto.
The collection at this museum is over 15,000 strong.Bildquelle: Textile Museum of Canada / Tripadvisor

Get hands-on at this immersive museum.

With a collection that includes over 15,000 pieces, this museum is dedicated to exploring history and culture through the art of textiles. Aprons embellished with buttons and rugs that incorporate Sioux designs reflect the artistry of Indigenous nations in Canada. Meanwhile, the textile learning hub offers visitors the opportunity to try techniques like tapestry weaving and rug hooking.

Don’t miss: As part of their sustainability program, the museum solicits donations of textiles and sewing notions to be repurposed by crafty creatives.

The Market Gallery

Inside the Market Gallery at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto.
The St. Lawrence Market has its own gallery.Bildquelle: MackenzieHouse / Tripadvisor

Find food for thought in St. Lawrence Market’s semi-secret gallery.

Located in Old Toronto, St. Lawrence Market is an unmissable spot for foodies. But the exhibition space above the historic market is often overlooked. The gallery, which makes its home in what was originally the City Council Chambers, focuses on the history of the city, allowing you to explore different periods of Toronto’s evolution.

Don’t miss: The gallery often hosts talks and workshops, so be sure to check the schedule when planning your visit.

MZTV Museum of Television

Old tvs on show inside the MZTV Museum of Television in Toronto.
MZTV Museum of Television is a fun ride into the fairly-recent past.Bildquelle: Jackie M / Shutterstock

For aficionados of the small screen.

This quirky spot in the Liberty Village neighborhood has exhibits that promise to immerse you in TV glamor. The MZTV Museum of Television’s collection includes an extensive number of historic TV sets and features exhibitions that dive into the history of the medium. Here you can learn about some of the early pioneers who brought us the technology we know and love, including the CBC.

Don’t miss: The museum website also offers a convenient virtual tour if you can’t make it there in person.

Canadian Language Museum

Outside the Canadian Language Museum, surrounded by a green lawn, in Toronto.
The Canadian Language Museum has great traveling exhibits.Bildquelle: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

A small museum that highlights Canadian diversity.

Located on the Glendon College Campus of York University, the Canadian Language Museum develops exhibits on the rich variety of languages spoken in Canada. Typical exhibits teach you about the regional French and English dialects of Canada, as well as the countless Indigenous languages spoken across the country.

Don’t miss: The Canadian Language Museum prides itself on its traveling exhibits. So, check their website to see what’s on display beyond Toronto.

Gibson House Museum

By the dining room table at the Gibson House Museum in Toronto.
Gibson House Museum is a charming place to visit.Bildquelle: Charlotte B / Shutterstock

A historic treasure hidden among high rises.

Once the home of Scottish immigrant David Gibson, this 1850s farmhouse lets you wander through part of Toronto’s past. The sturdy brick walls of this Georgian Revival house contain homey rooms with well-preserved artifacts that tell the story of the once-rural community where the house was originally situated. Another highlight of this house museum is its charming garden.

Toronto Railway Museum

An exhibit among the Toronto skyscrapers at Toronto Railway Museum.
This spot's right at the heart of downtown.Bildquelle: Mary S / Shutterstock

The mini-train is popular with kids and adults alike.

Head to downtown Toronto’s Roundhouse Park to visit the Toronto Railway Museum. This museum, which highlights the history of rail in the region, explains the role that trains had in building Toronto’s economy. Kids will love getting the chance to drive a locomotive engine with the train simulator, and all ages will have fun exploring the historic trains on display.

Don’t miss: The museum offers guided tours when you visit with a group—a great opportunity for a more in-depth understanding of some of the exhibits.

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