A Toronto visit isn’t complete without a trip to the Royal Ontario Museum—one of the largest museums on the entire continent, full of artifacts from cultures around the globe (six million of them!), dinosaur fossils, and hands-on exhibits. 1,000 of these scientific artifacts comprise a so-called ‘cabinet of curiosities,’ which you can see as you walk along the famous and stunning J. F. Driscoll Family Stair of Wonders.
Seashells, antlers, and historic fingerbowls are also part of this collection—keep an eye out for stuffed Birds of Paradise and a 20-kg (44-lb) hippopotamus jaw, but the true sight is the architecture itself. The structure was designed by Daniel Libeskind, who has contributed some of the most awe-inspiring, architectural masterpieces to museums in places like Germany, South Korea, and the United States.
What looks like a series of five giant, sharp crystals jutting out into the street is referred to as the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, named after the banker who donated $30 million toward its construction (one of the wealthiest men in Canada, unsurprisingly). Much of this ‘Deconstructivist’ piece is made of glass, and light bounces around the atrium in an ethereal way; the fourth crystal is where you’ll find the Stair of Wonders.
The Royal Ontario Museum is by Queen’s Park, with the main entrance on Bloor Street West. The closest subway access is St. George Station. Admission is $15 for adults and $12 for students, but you can purchase the Ultimate ROM Experience (which includes Ultimate Dinosaurs) for a little extra; don’t pass by the opportunity to see a Futalognkosaurus (the largest dinosaur ever mounted in Canada) and some dinosaurs that have only recently been dug up!