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News & Notices
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record
Museums and
Galleries in Toronto

Paul Court
Toronto Promotions Coordinator

Toronto is full of interesting museums and galleries, several of which are quite unique and of particular interest to theatre people. For those who are fond of exploring such places, here are a few within easy striking distance of hotels and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

 Royal Ontario Museum

The big museum in town - actually the biggest in Canada - is the Royal Ontario Museum, locally just called "the ROM." It's a great way to spend a few hours - or days. The largest museum in the country with 19 curatorial departments, it boasts many spectacular exhibits. A few of the galleries at the north end will be closed in March due to the major expansion designed by architect Daniel Liebeskind. That's right, folks, acres of glass with nary a right angle in sight! Nevertheless, there will still be lots to see. The traveling exhibit Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Flight will be opening the weekend before the Conference. Check their website( for virtual exhibits, information on hours, and to see which galleries are open. The ROM is located at 100 Queen's Park, phone (416) 586-8000. Subway stop is Museum, five stops north of the Royal York Hotel.

Art Gallery of Ontario

The big art gallery in town is the Art Gallery of Ontario - aka the AGO. It is also about to undergo a major expansion, this one designed by Frank Gehry for his first commission in his native city. It has a large Canadian and international collection, the definitive Henry Moore collection, and a great gift store. Special exhibitions running in March include: Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Painting Towards the Light: Watercolours of David Milne, and Massive Change: The Future of Global Design. The gallery is located at 317 Dundas Street West, Phone 416-979-6648. Subway stop is St. Patrick, three stops north of the Fairmont Royal York hotel. The website is

The Bata Shoe Museum

One subway stop, or three blocks, from the ROM is the Bata Shoe Museum.The building itself is a post-modernist take on a shoe box with its lid set askew. The building is filled with shoes: shoes from all over the world and practically every period of history. Only a handful of them were actually manufactured by the eponymous multinational shoe manufacturer. The museum is built around the collection of Sonya Bata, prominent collector, noted philanthropist, hero to costume historians, and beloved of fetishists everywhere. Special exhibitions in March will include Appeasing the Spirits: Alaskan Coastal Cultures and Paths Across the Plains: Traditional Footwear from the Great Plains. Check out the museum's web site at The musueum is at 327 Bloor St. West, phone 416-979-7799. Take the subway to the St. George stop, six stops north of the Royal York Hotel.

Textile Museum of Canada

Tucked just behind City Hall, you can find The Textile Museum of Canada which exhibits textiles from around the world, including fabrics, ceremonial cloths, garments, carpets, quilts, and related artifacts.

This institution has a permanent collection of over 10,000 pieces, and serves as a resource for museums and publications - and costumers - around the world. Exhibits are categorized geographically from Pre-Columbian and Coptic textiles, to Indian and Burmese temple hangings, to William Morris fabrics. Features include African textiles, Tibetan robes, Chinese silk embroidery, nineteenth century Javanese batiks, and an extensive collection of folk art rugs from Turkey, Afghanistan, China, and Tibet.

In March the museum will display The Collector's Eye: Rugs from the Vodstrcil Collection featuring pieces from the Turkey to as far east as China. They have an excellent website ( The museum is located at 55 Centre Avenue, phone 416-599-5321. Take the subway to the St. Patrick stop, three stops north of the Royal York Hotel

Design Exchange

No need to get on the subway for this gallery - it is two blocks north of the Royal York at 234 Bay St. Located in the heart of the financial district, the former Toronto Stock Exchange building has been turned into a showcase for all forms of design including industrial, commercial, architectural, and even theatrical. Appropriately, the large black business towers looming behind it represent Toronto 's first foray into the International Style in the '60s. The Toronto Dominion Centre was designed by Mies van der Rohe. For more information, visit the Exchange's website at, or phone 416-363-6121

Other Galleries

There are scores of galleries in the city featuring a wide range of collections, artist, media, and styles. A good site to check for current exhibitions is the Slate Art Guide at

If you just want to ramble, there are a couple of good areas to explore:

On the subway between Bay and St. George Stations. Over 20 commercial galleries are located in this rather pricey area just north of Bloor Street.

Queen Street West

Take the subway: two stops north to Osgoode station, transfer to the westbound Streetcar, get off at Bathurst Street. This is a collection of artist-run and commercial galleries along Queen Street West. Heading west along the street is a walk in reverse through the gentrification of a former low-rent district. For more information, visit

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A shoe is a shoe, but the spectacular collection of the Bata Shoe Museum shows off more than a standard last. Housed in a building resembling a shoebox with the lid partially off, special displays and semi-permanent collections delight the eye.

Photo/Matthew Plexman, Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto