10 Awesome Museums For Exploring Canadian History

A Journey Through Canadian History While Visiting Museums

Canadian history is fascinating and can be best explored by visiting museums across Canada. The journey you will embark on will grab your family’s attention and curiosity as you dive deep into Canadian history. Relics from the past will capture your interest as you explore these world-class museums, with an abundance of photo opportunities to document your historical journey along the way. Become the Indiana Jones of the Great North as you travel through time in Canadian history.

Royal Ontario Museum

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The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is one of the largest museums in North America. It’s a museum of art, world culture, and natural history in Toronto, Ontario. The ROM, also known as Musée royal de l’Ontario, has a world-class collection of 13 million art objects and natural Canadian history artifacts, featured in 40 gallery and exhibition spaces.

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The ROM attracts over a million visitors worldwide each year, making this museum the most frequently visited museum in Canada. This museum is north of Queen’s Park, with its main entryway on Bloor Street. The ROM got named after a museum subway station, and since its 2008 renovation, it became decorated to resemble its collection. This museum is an amazing place to tour with your family to explore Canadian history.

Insider Tip: In the ROM, the top floor has an interactive playroom where children can explore Canadian history.

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Stones ‘N Bones

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The Stones ‘N Bones Museum is a 10,000-square-foot museum that features an international collection of fossils, minerals, gemstones, artifacts, shells, butterflies, insects, taxidermy, massive shark jaws, dinosaurs, and more. This beautiful museum is located in Sarnia, Ontario, and is one of the finest museums this beautiful lake town offers. Family membership is only $30 and is valid for one year, with as many visits as you like. A single pass is $20 for a year. Don’t forget to visit the gift boutique, which has loads of jewelry, including ammolite, amber, gems, silver, collectible-quality minerals, fossils, shells and artifacts, decorative goods, and housewares. Ancient Canadian history was never this much fun!

Interesting Fact: Stones ‘N Bones is an outstanding natural history museum, ranked as the 3rd best museum in Canada.

Gasoline Alley Museum

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Gasoline Alley Museum celebrates the evolution of industrial design in Canadian history. The two-story museum, located in Calgary, Alberta, contains thousands of automobile memorabilia items, mostly dating back to pre-World War II. Local Calgary businessman Ron Carey generously donated the items to Heritage Park to display for the public.

The museum display includes the 1950-2000s vintage vehicles, gasoline pumps, and products that the CEO of petroleum companies have signed. One convertible is set up like it’s parked at an old drive-in theatre, and you can sit in the car for photos with the entire family.

Interesting Fact: A lot of items displayed in the Gasoline Alley Museum were restored by Ron Carey and his staff.

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Royal BC Museum

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The Royal British Columbia Museum (Royal BC Museum) was established in 1886 and consists of British Columbia’s natural human history museum and the provincial archives. The museum is located in Victoria, BC. The museum collects documents, artifacts, and specimens of British Columbia’s history, safeguarding them for the future and sharing them with the world. Research and presentations enable the museum to tell the stories of British Columbia in ways that stimulate and inspire.

By exploring social and environmental Canadian history, the Royal BC Museum advances new knowledge and understanding of British Columbia. Millions of visitors go to the museum every year and visit the website to learn about Canadian history.

Interesting Fact: During the royal tour, Queen Elizabeth II approved The “Royal” title and presented it by HRH Prince Philip in 1987. 

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First Toronto Post Office

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Toronto’s First Post Office is a historic site in Toronto, Ontario, and opened in 1834. It’s the oldest post office in Canada that functioned as a British Royal Mail department, and it’s the only surviving example.

A Visit to the Post Office in 1834

This is a storybook that was written and illustrated just for Toronto’s First Post Office! Rebecca and her father travel to Toronto’s new city from their farm to sell their products and run errands. Instead, they find a surprise awaiting them at the Post Office. Visitors will learn how to write and mail a letter and learn about some differences between town and country. This program is suitable for those under seven years of age or mixed-age groups, including young children.

The Meeting Place

At Toronto’s first post office, this museum workshop looks at Toronto’s post office history. It examines changes in communication between Canadians and the rest of the world. Visitors are invited to write a letter with quill and ink, just as in 1834. This program can be adapted to meet almost any group’s needs and focus on different aspects of Toronto’s Canadian history.

Insider Tip: Visitors can combine a post office workshop with a walking tour for a full-day field trip in Toronto’s Old Town. This will be a hands-on tour of Canadian history!

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Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum

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The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is a paleontology museum located in Wembley, Alberta, Canada. The museum is situated within a 41,000-square-foot building constructed in 2015 and is named after renowned Canadian paleontologist Philip J. Currie. The dinosaur skeletons, recreated bonebeds, and the real paleontologists working in the lab provide a walk-through time with every visit. Kids will discover something new each time as the exhibits keep changing!

Watch dinosaur movies, documentaries, short films, and more in the museum’s viewing room, Canada’s first National Geographic theater. Rent it out for film screenings or movie nights and enjoy your own party in a beautiful museum. The museum offers many school programs for kindergarteners to grade 12 to learn more about ancient Canadian history. This spacious and gorgeous museum is excellent for the whole family and features a cafe for a delicious lunch.

Exploring Canadian History Through Museums
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Manitoba Museum

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The Manitoba Museum is the province’s largest center for heritage and science learning. Its combined human and natural history themes are unique, with immersive world-class dioramas, science and astronomy education, and high-quality programs. Venture across Manitoba’s vast and varied landscape, from the icy arctic coast to the windswept prairies, as you learn about this important piece of Canadian history. The museum is known for its three-dimensional walk-through galleries. Highlights include the Nonsuch, a full-size 17th-century sailing vessel, and the Urban Gallery, which takes you back in time to Winnipeg, Manitoba, during the 1920s.

The Manitoba Museum has received many awards and recognitions, including the Michelin Green Guide top rating “Worth the Trip,” the Province of Manitoba’s Tourism Service Excellence Award, the Attractions Canada Prix Award (provincial) for indoor attractions, and the Canadian Tourism Commission’s “Win with Winter in Canada” Award for the Great Canadian Fur Trade behind-the-scenes tour.

Cape Bear Lighthouse & Marconi Museum

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This unique museum is located 25 km from the Woods Island Ferry. The Cape Bear Lighthouse stands on the southeast coast of Prince Edward Island southeast coast. Built in 1881, this three-story square tower has guided fishers and sailors along PEI’s Northumberland Strait. The lighthouse’s view shows small private beaches, rugged sandstone cliffs, and loads of marine life, such as seals and brook trout. Visitors can take tours of the family-friendly lighthouse and Marconi museum. Stop off at the gift shop and take in the breathtaking views of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.

Cape Bear Lighthouse was shifted from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to Cape Bear Lighthouse & Marconi Station Incorporated. A non-profit organization that focuses on preserving this historic site and the lighthouse’s role over the years. 

Insider Tip: Stop by the villages of Murray Harbour, Murray River, and Beach Point to see the fishing boats and local attractions.

Saskatchewan Science Centre

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The Saskatchewan Science Centre is a great way to spend a day in Regina, Saskatchewan! Every visit is unique, with more than 185 hands-on exhibits, visiting exhibitions, IMAX films, and incredible stage shows! Play, learn, and explore! The Saskatchewan Science Centre also has experiments, surprises you with stage shows, wows you with workshops, and has the province’s only 3D IMAX Theatre!

It’s a non-profit, non-governmental educational facility and museum with the mission of sparking scientific curiosity and innovation in communities through engaging opportunities. The museum’s vision of the future is to inspire young minds interested in science and innovation. The role of science in Canadian history is also explored in this wonderfully unique museum!

Interesting Fact: The Science Centre opened in 1989 and is one of Saskatchewan’s biggest family attractions with close to four million visitors.

The Montreal Museum Of Fine Arts

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The Montreal Museum Of Fine Arts (MMFA) is one of Canada’s most-visited museums and the eighth most-visited museum in North America, boasting more than 1.3 million visitors interested in Canadian history.

The MMFA’s original temporary exhibitions feature various artistic disciplines, fine arts, music, film, fashion, and design and are exported worldwide. Its comprehensive collection, dispersed among five pavilions, includes Canadian & international art, world cultures, decorative arts, and design. In recent years, the Canadian history museum has seen exceptional growth with two new pavilions: the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion in 2011 and the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace in 2016.

The MMFA complex includes Bourgie Hall, a 460-seat concert hall. The museum showcases Michel de la Chenelière International Atelier for Education and Art Therapy. The MMFA offers innovative educational, wellness, and art therapy programs.

After visiting these great museums, you will become an expert on Canadian history. Expect the unexpected as you explore relics that have been carefully preserved and restored, with each telling its own tale from the past. Everyone can learn from history, and these museums are a fun way to capture the attention and curiosity of your entire family. Happy exploring!


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