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People & Culture

8 of our favourite Canadian museums

In honour of International Museum Day, Canadian Geographic's editors share their favourite museums in Canada

  • May 17, 2016
  • 764 words
  • 4 minutes
Photo: Monica Healy/Canadian Geographic Photo Club Expand Image

Each year on May 18th, museums and galleries around the world celebrate International Museum Day.

Started in 1977 by the International Council of Museums, International Museum Day is a movement aimed at encouraging people to spend more time exploring the vast realms of history, culture, art and science.

In honour of Museum Day 2016 — the theme of which is “Museums and Cultural Landscapes” — the editors of Canadian Geographic have shared their favourite museums in Canada. Tweet us your picks using the hashtag #InternationalMuseumDay!

Aaron Kylie, editor

Picking just one of the numerous excellent Canadian museums is tough — kind of like being forced to pick your favourite child. Still, I’m going to choose a small museum that I visited recently: the Eskimo Museum in Churchill, Man. It’s located in a small, school gymnasium-sized space in a relatively nondescript building, but it’s jammed with a fascinating collection of Inuit artifacts ranging from thousands of years ago to modern times. And a big part of it’s appeal may be how surprising it was (to me, at least) to find it in such a relatively small, far-flung northern community. If you visit Churchill, it’s not to be missed.

Harry Wilson, senior editor

Maybe being an anthropology grad makes me a bit biased, but mine’s the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. It’s such an incredible space with equally incredible exhibits. I’d happily spend all day wandering around in there.

Nick Walker, managing editor

The Bluenose exhibit at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg, N.S., will make you proud of the racing schooner on the dimes in your pocket. And the entire rooms devoted to the history of the Maritime fishing industry, aquariums, wharfside touch tanks and beautifully preserved, floating historic fishing vessels will make you see the brightly painted little former colonial town with new eyes. But for my money, the best part is the lobster exhibit and presentation (featuring real lobsters and the taxidermied shell of the largest specimen caught in the area). There, a museum expert will leave you both in awe of and hungry for this fantastic Maritime staple creature as you wander back into the UNESCO world heritage site of Old Town Lunenburg.

Michela Rosano, associate editor

As an Ottawan, I’m fortunate to have a number of great national museums in my backyard. While it’s a close call between the Canadian Museum of Nature (who doesn’t love those dinosaur skeletons?) and the National Gallery of Canada, I have to go with the latter. I could spend all day studying the brushstrokes of an Emily Carr or a Renoir in their Canadian and International collections, or Yousuf Karsh’s powerful portraits in their photography collection.

Sabrina Doyle, new media editor

The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alta. brings back fond memories of childhood road trips. It was one of the first museums I explored on my own, and I will never forget the feeling of independently discovering new things about the world of the past.

Jessica Finn, photo editor

The tiny town of Inglis, Man. is host to Five Prairie Giants — grain elevators that were once a prominent feature of the Canadian Prairies, but today are relics of rural lives past. Built in 1922, four of the original wooden buildings are still standing today, and the restoration process is ongoing. Visitors can check out the interactive exhibits inside, join a guided tour to learn about the development of grain agriculture in Canada, or simply slow down and take in the picturesque prairie landscape.

Alexandra Pope, social media editor

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick, which has one of the most exquisite collections in all of Canada. As an undergraduate student at the University of New Brunswick, I frequented the Beaverbrook and was introduced to the works of Maritime artists like Mary Pratt, Romeo Savoie and Alex Colville. I also spent many hours gazing up at the gallery’s majestic showpiece, Salvador Dalí’s Santiago El Grande, which is currently out on tour.

Vanessa Hrvatin, editorial intern

One of my favourite museums is the Anne of Green Gables Museum in Prince Edward Island. I grew up loving the Anne of Green Gables books, so spending an entire afternoon in the world of “Anne with an E” was pretty amazing.


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