With crisp, clear days and cool evenings, autumn is a lovely time to head inside to see art, learn about history and peruse archaeological finds. Many Canadian museums and galleries are less busy at this time, giving guests a front-row view of the treasures on display.
Manitoba has eclectic, eccentric offerings—from the thought-provoking Winnipeg Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the first national museum outside Ottawa, to Gimli’s New Iceland Heritage Museum. Other gems: 1900s agriculture, artillery, Mennonite heritage and Royal Canadian Mint. The Winnipeg Art Gallery spotlights exhibitions such as the first showing of Labrador Inuit art.
Lower Junction is the city’s newest (micro) neighborhood. Its anchor? The internationally ambitious MOCCA, AKA Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto. Set in the raw, 55,000-square-foot Tower Automotive Building, it’s an arts hub for R&D, workshop and artist studio spaces, plus bookstore and lounge/café, with an edgy urban plaza.
After debuting in 2017, Saskatoon’s riverside Remai Modern ranks as a North American visionary in contemporary art. See the globe’s most comprehensive Picasso linocut and ceramics collection amid prize-winning architecture channeling Saskatchewan’s prairie spirit. Meet Mounties at Regina’s RCMP Heritage Centre, spotlighting new augmented reality exhibits.
Quirky and frontier define the Yukon, and its art and museums reflect that. Don’t miss Whitehorse’s MacBride Museum of Yukon History, revealing its Gold Rush past, S.S. Klondike riverboat, Yukon Artists @ Work co-op and missionary Old Log Church; plus, Dawson City’s First Nations Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre.
You’ll find Canada’s renowned cultural institutions in Ottawa near Parliament Hill. Get a National Museums Passport to visit all seven. Experience art, aviation, space and nature. Across the river in Gatineau, see towering totems and 20,000 years of history in the stunning Canadian Museum of History, Canada’s most-visited museum.
Quebec City is the epicenter of envelope-pushing art, steeped in the 400-year-old walled city’s history and architecture. Stroll the oldest neighborhood in North America: Petit Champlain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. View top Quebec fine artist works at chic Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec and uncover artifacts at interactive Musee de la civilisation.
Haven’t heard of Alberta’s bold visual art scene? You will soon. Alberta’s redefining itself as a Canadian West culture hub; one that’s contemporary and artist-led. Take urban Calgary’s visual arts scene, Edmonton’s reimagined Art Gallery of Alberta, and province-wide grassroots networks of pop-ups and informal shows.
It’s not every day you get to see an Inuit ulu (knife), qamutik (sled) or whale bone jewelry. Set in an old Hudson’s Bay building, Iqaluit’s Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum showcases art and Arctic culture in all its harsh beauty. While you’re there, pick up a fashionista-worthy handmade seal skin and fur garments at Rannva Design.
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