From classic and historical art, to cutting-edge dance and hilarious unscripted comedy, Toronto is a hot bed of creative talent. Check out incredible street art (no admission fee!), satisfy your shoe fetish at the Bata Shoe Museum, or spend an evening at the theatre. Whatever your penchant, Toronto’s got you covered.
1. Art Gallery of Toronto
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) was transformed by Frank Gehry into an architectural masterpiece in 2008. Tear your eyes away from the imposing spiral staircase and peruse the array of Canadian, European, African and contemporary exhibits that form part of the 90,000 pieces on display.
2. Royal Ontario Museum
Great for all ages, the Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest museum of world cultures and natural history. Check out the ‘Earth’s Treasures’ display of meteorites, minerals and gems, as well as hands-on galleries, artefacts from Egypt, Rome and Africa, and incredible dinosaur exhibits.
3. Toronto street art
The Toronto street art community is thriving, with new works regularly appearing all over the city. Head to Rush Lane, a.k.a. Graffiti Alley, a kilometre-long strip adorned with vibrant murals. Kensington Market also boasts spectacular, ever-changing wall art reflecting the ethnic cultures of the city.
4. Bata Shoe Museum
The quirky Bata Shoe Museum features thousands of shoes from diverse eras and cultures. This is a storytelling gallery where every shoe chronicles a fascinating moment in time. Participate in hands-on demonstrations and learn about the pleasures and perils of dress in the 19th century.
5. Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Book worms and history buffs will love the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, the largest rare book library in Canada. Pore over rare collections dating back hundreds of years on subjects as varied as the historic medicine, Aristotle, and Canadian literature.
6. Shaw Festival
Just 20 minutes from the thunder of Niagara Falls, the Shaw Festival in Niagara-On-The-Lake is one of North America’s finest cultural attractions. Sip on Niagara wine and enjoy a spectacular array of comedies, dramas and all the best work by the infamous playwright, Bernard Shaw.
7. Outdoor music
Visit Toronto during the summer months and enjoy free outdoor concerts of all musical genres. Toronto Music Garden hosts the Summer Music in the Garden Series from June to September. If Indie music is more your style, head to Indie Fridays at Yonge-Dundas Square.
8. An evening of dance
The Harbourfront Centre is a nexus for world class dance, from classical and contemporary ballet to flamenco and indigenous movement. The centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre was the first stage in Canada to be built exclusively for dance, now attracting professional dance companies from around the world.
9. Just For Laughs
Toronto is a city that likes a giggle. No matter what night of the week, comedy clubs around Toronto come alive with stand-up and improv shows. Try Comedy Bar and Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club. The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival hosts some of the best live, scripted comedy in Canada for 12 days in March.
10. Toronto International Film Festival
For 10 days in September the Toronto International Film Festival screens more than 300 films from 60 countries. Check out the latest flicks and enjoy the electric atmosphere in the city. Keep your camera ready as Toronto is invaded by celebrities and film stars.