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Head to the city’s museums and art galleries to discover, learn, and be entertained. Then, explore what’s beyond their walls.
With April showers ushering in May flowers, it’s the perfect opportunity to embrace all things new. Toronto arts and culture venues make it easy to become inquisitive, learn new information, and be entertained all at the same time. Plus, part of the fun of checking out the latest exhibitions is exploring a venue’s surrounding area.
Here are five institutions that are welcoming new exhibits — as well as things to do in Toronto beyond art and artifacts.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Art Gallery of Ontario (@agotoronto)
A post shared by Art Gallery of Ontario (@agotoronto)
With more than 9,000 artworks, the AGO is one of North America’s most distinguished art museums. Plus, the architecture itself is artistic. The fact that it’s located in the heart of Toronto makes the AGO a jumping-off point for some true city exploration. From the AGO, you can walk to Yonge-Dundas Square to take in the area’s sights and sounds; Chinatown for more cultural vibrancy; and Kensington Market to enjoy foodie gems.
One new must-see exhibit: On from May 31 to Sept. 4, Cassatt – McNicoll Impressionists Between Worlds brings together two pioneering women Impressionist painters.
Insider tip: Experience the AGO’s collection galleries for free every Wednesday from 6 to 9 pm. Check out Free Wednesday Nights for everything you need to know.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Royal Ontario Museum (@romtoronto)
A post shared by Royal Ontario Museum (@romtoronto)
The iconic Yorkville neighbourhood is home to Canada’s biggest museum, the ROM. This is an area of the city packed with art galleries, coffee shops, and boutiques as well as everything from French bistros to sushi places. So, there’s lots to see beyond the newest Toronto museum exhibits — and the ROM’s other 13 million artworks, cultural objects, and natural history specimens. Plus, the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall is a three-minute walk from the Royal Ontario Museum. End the day with a musical performance.
One new must-see exhibit: Starting May 20, ᑐᓴᕐᓂᑐᑦ TUSARNITUT! Music Born of the Cold invites you to discover the breadth and diversity of Inuit musical expression.
Insider tip: Looking to visit more Toronto attractions for less? Try CityPASS. You can tour five well-loved cultural sites over a nine-day period while saving nearly 40 per cent. CityPASS admission includes the CN Tower, plus four more attractions. Choose from the ROM, Casa Loma, Toronto Zoo, Ontario Science Centre, and City Cruises Toronto.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Aga Khan Museum (@agakhanmuseum)
A post shared by Aga Khan Museum (@agakhanmuseum)
This arts and culture destination is your window into the artistic, intellectual, and scientific contributions of Muslim civilizations to world heritage. Located in Toronto’s North York district, The Aga Khan Museum offers Islamic art and Muslim culture in one location. In addition to instantly-memorable architecture, the museum has an open-air courtyard and is attached to a stunning green space called Aga Khan Park.
One new must-see exhibit: From May 13 to Oct. 1, Rumi takes you through the life and timeless legacy of one of history’s most famous poets Jalal al-Din Muhammad (better known as Rumi).
Insider tip: The onsite restaurant, Diwan, is as stunning as the art on display. Its menu includes Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian cuisines. If you stop by from mid-May on, you can dine on Diwan’s patio. The Los Angeles Times called it one of Toronto’s prettiest patios.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by The Image Centre (@imagecentreto)
A post shared by The Image Centre (@imagecentreto)
Nestled off the beaten cultural path on the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) campus, The (always free) Image Centre’s mandate includes research, teaching, and exhibition of photography and related media. That equals a lot of incredible photographs to ponder over. Literal steps away from Yonge-Dundas Square, The Image Centre is also near other unique attractions. For example, at 10 Dundas St. E, you’ll find Little Canada, which takes you on a journey through the country’s sights and sounds — in miniature scale.
One new must-see exhibit: From April 29 to Aug. 5, Scotiabank Photography Award: Jin-me Yoon reflects on the construction of national and diasporic identities.
Insider tip: Enjoy TMU’s lively campus by grabbing a coffee at Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, right outside of The Image Centre. The charming, Instagram-worthy café has artisanal coffees, baked products, and sweet treats plus outdoor seating.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by MOCA Toronto (@mocatoronto)
A post shared by MOCA Toronto (@mocatoronto)
Looking for art that experiments, celebrates complexity, and offers thought-provoking responses to the current cultural moment? Head to iconic Toronto attraction MOCA. Located in the Lower Junction Triangle, the museum is in a 10-storey structure which, at one point, was one of the city’s tallest towers. MOCA is part of a Toronto art gallery cluster that includes the nearby Clint Roenisch Gallery, Daniel Faria Gallery, and more.
One new must-see exhibit: On from June 2 to July 23, Imposer Cities is a multimedia project that offers a playful critique of cultural self-presentation.
Insider tip: Enjoy additional perks by becoming a MOCA member. That includes savings at eatery Forno Cultura, Henderson Brewing Co., the Anansi Bookshop; Ethica Coffee Roasters, and Café Neon.
Words by: Izabela Shubair
After all that exploring, you’ll need somewhere comfy to rest your head. There’s just something special about staying in a hotel, and Toronto has plenty of options. Find your ideal place to stay, from bed and breakfasts to five-star accommodations.