When George Gardiner began collecting ceramics in 1976, he was only interested in decorating his home. But soon his passion for pottery and porcelain grew, and, rather than build a second home entirely from teapots, he co-founded the Gardiner Museum in 1984 with his wife, Helen. Today, the museum's collection has ballooned to include more than 3,000 pieces, encompassing everything from Japanese sake pots and Canadian ceramic sculptures to Italian Renaissance maiolica plates.
Objects from the core collection share space in the museum with special exhibitions. One of these is the annual 12 Trees of Christmas, a display of holiday trees. The museum supplements its showings with events such as lectures and ceramics-inspired meals, as well as clay classes for budding adult and child ceramicists. Visitors can even take home pieces from the Gardiner Shop, which sells Canadian ceramics, as well as international jewelry, scarves, and glasswork.
The sixth annual Wings & Wheels Heritage Festival celebrates the history of Canadian aviation with showcases, exhibits, and live demonstrations on the grounds of Downsview Park and Airport, Canada’s first urban national park. Tickets grant entrance to Hangar Bay 1's exhibitions and aircraft displays, access to outdoor display grounds and runways, free Canadian Air & Space Museum admission, and a tour of the newborn helicopter nursery. Wings events showcase classic aircraft from the world's oldest flying DHC-1 Chipmunk to brand-new cloud ticklers such as the gargantuan C-130J Super Hercules. In-between browsing fields of professionally manufactured and home-built aircraft, guests watch pilots fly swiftly into the airport compound.
A non-profit design centre and museum, Design Exchange educates guests in all realms of design with unique lectures, programs, exhibitions, tours of its historic building and collection, and youth activities. A family/dual membership grants pairs and families unlimited exhibition entrances, as well as free admission or discounts to lectures, movie nights, workshops, and gladiatorial paintbrush matches. Members may also enter a raffle drawing for two tickets to the November DX Awards, a celebration of excellence and creative mind bending in Canadian design. Membership also proffers discounts for children's enrolment in design camps and a 15 per cent discount off items from the DX Shop, a gallery of designer publications, apparel, household goods, and decor. Visitors may expect impromptu sightings of the industry's most creative and untamed minds, as well as peeks at upcoming design trends.
The Royal Ontario Museum is among the world’s leading museums of natural history and world cultures. By combining universal cultures and natural history into one museum, the ROM aims to engage its audiences from across the globe in the relationship between nature and humanity. This fundamental link is explored through the museum's many collections and programs, offering a wide breadth of experience in both areas.
2014 also marks 100 years since the ROM's momentous opening, and the museum is planning a year-long anniversary celebration of both its legacy and its potential going forward. The ROM will kick off another century of lively, relevant content and programming to build a community among future generations of visitors who pass through its halls.
Since its opening in 1963, the Canadian Automotive Museum has honored the automotive industry by displaying mint-condition vehicles, some of which date back to the beginning of the 20th century. Many of these cars were manufactured in Canada, whereas others come from America or overseas?but each one has a history that educates and entices visitors.
Size: 25,000 square feet, enough room to hold more than 60 vehicles plus motorcycles, bicycles, and trucks
The Building: a former 1920's car dealership, featuring the original elevator that moved cars from floor to floor when they were too lazy to take the stairs
Eye Catcher: the only remaining 1903 Redpath Messenger; built in Kitchener, its original owner was one of the first employees of the famed Canadian car company
Don't Miss: Lady Eaton's 1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost
Pro Tip: the museum and gift shop are both cash only, so hit the ATM on your way there
Named as a national historic site, Parkwood Estate guided tours offer an intimate and informed look at pristine turn-of-the-century architecture, furnishings, gardens, and landscaping. Knowledgeable volunteers contextualize the experience, narrating events from former owner R. Samuel McLaughlin's life as an auto baron, or explaining the intricacies of his elaborate black-truffle badminton tournaments. While truth may be stranger than fiction, it's seldom as interesting: explore Parkwood Estate's role as a film set, viewing the hall where Professor Xavier appealed for calm in mutant-human relations, or the stairway where Billy Madison single-handedly overcame schizophrenia to victoriously re-enter the world of mathematics. Tours run Tuesday through Sunday, from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.