Top Canadian Cultural Attractions

Canada is the home to a plethora of cultural attractions and landmarks such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

Royal Ontario Museum

With more than 13 million objects and artifacts, ROM is the home to exhibitions and collections that showcase nature, cultural heritage, and art. Its extensive art and culture collections feature artwork from South and East Asia, Canadian culture and art, textiles and fashion, and indigenous culture and art. The museum also houses a number of interesting natural history collections, including mineralogy, mammalogy, invertebrate zoology, and petrology specimens. Founded back in 1914, ROM is also the home to 40 exhibition and gallery spaces and is considered one of the largest museums in Canada.

Art Gallery of Ontario

Founded in 1900, the Art Gallery of Ontario showcases nearly 100,000 works and extensive collections of art by Oceanic, European, African, Inuit, and First Nations artists. The 3rd most visited gallery in Canada features several permanent collections, including contemporary art, Canadian art, drawings and prints, and photography. The gallery houses over 20,000 works on paper by artists such as Michael Snow, Pablo Picasso, and David Blackwood. It is also the home to the Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre which has a collection of more than 70,000 works, spanning from the 13th century to present. The centre is involved in the study of photographs, prints, and drawings and houses collections of British, French, and Italian works. Prominent artists featured here are Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, François Boucher, Michelangelo, and others. The centre also organizes tours for visitors who wish to see their extensive collection of photographs, watercolors, and drawings.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is found in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is a national museum run by the Canadian Crown Corporation. It houses exhibitions and offers programs, virtual field tours, and events, including series on human rights topics and lecture series. Students are offered the chance to join different programs, including the Museum Highlights Tour for Schools, Perspectives on Human Rights in Canada, and Deliberating Charter Rights.

The museum also houses exhibitions with a focus on human rights violations and protection and collective and human rights. The gallery on genocide examines the Holocaust, Srebrenica Genocide in Bosnia, and Rwandan, Armenian, and Ukrainian Genocide. A digital study table shows documents and images of some of the worst rights violations in human history. The museum also features Canadian stories related to freedom from discrimination and freedom of conscience and language and democratic rights. CHMR has established partnerships with government agencies and educational establishments such as Library and Archives Canada, University of Winnipeg, University of Manitoba, and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

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Other national cultural attractions that are worth mentioning are the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Canadian Museum of History, and Canadian Museum of Nature. The latter houses extensive natural history collections with a focus on plants and algae, minerals, fossils, and animals. The museum is also involved in a number of research projects on freshwater mussels, taxonomy and ecology of marine species, small animals and population dynamics, and large carnivorous and their morphogenic characteristics. There are also projects focusing on the taxonomy and ecology of Canadian lichens, Canadian arctic flora, and biodiversity of the arctic flora. In addition, the museum offers scientific services such as zooarchaeological analysis, taxonomic identification, data analysis and expertise, and other microanalysis services. The National Biodiversity Cryobank offers storage opportunities for phenotype vouchers, tissue, and DNA.

Canadian Multicultural Society

Canada is the home to diverse ethnic and religious minorities, and its multicultural approach reflects the idea that members of minority groups can maintain their cultural heritage, practices, beliefs, and collective identities. Multicultural policies and legislation have been adopted by most provinces, including Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Minority Groups

The demographic landscape in Canada is quite diverse, with a number of visible ethnic minorities such as Polish, Italian, German, French, Norwegian, and Russian. Ethnic origins vary by province and territory. In Alberta, for example, Scottish make for 18.8 percent, German for 19.2 percent, and Irish account for 15.8 percent. In Manitoba, common origins include Ukrainian with 14.9 percent, Scottish with 18 percent, and German with 18.6 percent. About 2 percent of Canada’s population speaks non-official languages (mother tongue other than French or English).

Multicultural Policies

Canadian provinces that have adopted multicultural legislation include Nova Scotia, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Alberta enacted two pieces of legislation, the Alberta Human Rights Act and Alberta Cultural Heritage Act. The former contains a provision prohibiting discrimination based on source of income, marital status, place of origin, ancestry, color, religious beliefs, or race. Discrimination is also prohibited with regards to facilities, accommodation, services, and goods that are deemed publicly available. In 1993, British Columbia also adopted the Multiculturalism Act to acknowledge that place of origin, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, cultural heritage, and race are fundamental for members of minority groups. The act also affirms that discrimination will not be tolerated, including hatred, violence, and discrimination based on place of origin, ancestry, ethnicity, and religion.

The Multiculturalism Act was adopted by the government of Manitoba in 1992 to safeguard the rights of citizens regardless of race, religion, and culture and to ensure that everyone has equal access to opportunities.

At the federal level, the Canadian government has adopted a number of acts and declarations, including the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, Employment Equity Act, Canadian Human Rights Act, and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The country also signed conventions such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Multicultural Events and Activities

Canadians take part in a number of events and activities such as the Canadian Multiculturalism Day, Plurial Culture on Display, Celebrating Diversity, and the Cultural Expressions Festival. Other events that help recognize and celebrate cultural diversity are the Mississauga Latin Festival and Toronto Caribbean Festival, both of which are held in Toronto. The Mississauga Latin Festival takes place in July and features a mix of culture, dance, and music, with tasty food to try, international performers to join, and recreational activities for kids to get involved. Also held in July, the Toronto Caribbean Festival has plenty to offer, from cuisine and a breakfast party to music and parades with bands and masquerades. Other events with a focus on ethnic minorities are Taste of the Danforth, the South Asian Festival, and Small World Music Festival. The latter is an annual festival taking place in August and featuring artists from all over the world, including Estonia, Spain, Palestine, Ethiopia, Cuba, Korea, and Mali. The event is organized in Toronto and as part of the Global Music Month, with the help of TD Ready Commitment.