4 Best Sights in Yorkville, Toronto

Royal Ontario Museum

Yorkville Fodor's choice

The ROM (as the Royal Ontario Museum is known to locals), opened in 1914, is Canada's largest museum and has a reputation for making its science, art, and archaeology exhibits accessible and appealing. The architecture of the gigantic complex, which includes the ultramodern Michael Lee-Chin Crystal gallery—a series of interlocking prismatic shapes spilling out onto Bloor Street—helps exemplify this.

Other highlights include the Hyacinth Gloria Chen Crystal Court, a four-story atrium with aluminum bridges connecting the old and new wings, and an angular pendant skylight through which light pours into the open space. A look through the windows reveals parts of the treasures inside, such as the daunting creatures from the Age of Dinosaurs exhibit standing guard. The Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles and Costume angles out 80 feet over Bloor Street from its fourth-floor perch.

The Daphne Cockwell Gallery of Canada exhibits an impressive range of First Peoples historical objects and artifacts, from pre-contact time to the present. The Matthews Family Court of Chinese Sculpture Gallery displays monumental Buddhist sculpture dating from 200 BC through 1900; the Gallery of Korea has over 260 artifacts of 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, and includes items from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet. The main floor has free admission during the summer.

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Gardiner Museum

Yorkville

Dedicated to the art of clay and ceramics, this museum has more than 4,000 pieces in its permanent collection, from 17th-century English delftware and 18th-century European porcelain to Japanese Kakiemon-style pottery and Chinese blue-and-white porcelain. If your visit coincides with lunchtime, hit on-site bistro Clay for creative, locally oriented cuisine (and one of the best hidden patios in town). Free guided tours of the museum take place at 2 daily and there are drop-in sessions in the clay studio ( Wed.--Sun. C$18). Admission is free on Wednesday after 4 (kids under 18 and students are always free).

Toronto Reference Library

Yorkville

Designed by one of Canada's most admired architects, Raymond Moriyama, who also created the Ontario Science Centre, this five-story library is arranged around a large atrium, which gives a wonderful sense of open space. One-third of the more than 6.2 million items—spread across 82 km (51 miles) of shelves—are open to the public. Audio carrels are available for listening to nearly 40,000 music and spoken-word recordings. There's an impressively large performing arts collection, and, lest you think libraries have to be quiet, listening stations and piano rooms are on the fifth floor—as is the Arthur Conan Doyle Room, which is of special interest to Baker Street fans. It houses the world's finest public collection of Holmesiana, including records, films, photos, books, manuscripts, letters, and even cartoon books starring Sherlock Hemlock of Sesame Street. The new fourth-floor Jack Rabinovitch Reading Room opened in 2022, with collections from the man who founded Canada's most prestigious literary award, the Giller Prize.

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Village of Yorkville Park

Yorkville

Yorkville is also home to a unique park on Cumberland Street, right outside Bay subway station, designed as a series of gardens along old property lines and reflecting both the history of the Village of Yorkville and the diversity of the Canadian landscape. The result of an international design competition, the park lines the street with a soothing waterfall fixture, tree-lined enclaves, and a big rock sculpture that children love to climb on. It's rare to find that kind of open public space in a retail area in the city that doesn't require you to buy something, though the ample outdoor seating often looks like a shared open-air café for nearby shops like Starbucks, Sorry Coffee Co., and vegan lunch spot Kupfert & Kim.