Since its inception in 1914, the ROM, Canada's largest museum, has amassed more than 6 million items. What sets the ROM apart is that science, art, and archaeology exhibits are all appealingly presented in one gigantic complex. A C$200-million refurbishment project, envisioned by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind (the designer of the Jewish Museum in Berlin), added 40,000 square feet and the ultramodern Michael Lee-Chin Crystal gallery in 2009—a series
of interlocking prismatic cubes spilling out onto Bloor Street.
Highlights include the Learning Centre —a state-of-the-art educational facility for the 220,000 schoolchildren expected annually—and the Crystal Court, a four-story atrium slashed on all sides by sliver-thin windows through which light pours into the open space. A look through the windows reveals parts of the treasures inside, such as the frightful creatures from the Age of Dinosaurs exhibit standing guard. The ROM Contemporary Culture hangs 110 feet over Bloor Street from its fourth-floor perch. The Crystal Five Bistro, "C5" for short, on the fifth floor feels a bit like the lounge on Star Trek's Enterprise, and turns out a selection of perfectly presented tapas and the region's finest wines.
The Daphne Cockwell Gallery of Canada exhibits an impressive range of First Peoples historical objects and artifacts, from pre-colonial time to the present. The Chinese Sculpture Gallery in the Matthews Family Court displays 25 stone Buddhist sculptures dating from the 2nd through 16th centuries; and the Gallery of Korea is North America's largest permanent gallery devoted to Korean art and culture. The Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery houses the best objects of a 7,000-piece collection that spans 5,000 years, from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet.