This is Canada’s largest museum, with 13 million objects in its collections. The massive and controversial 2007 renovation by starchitect Daniel Libeskind has had mixed reviews from visitors and locals: Some love it; others decry the design. The new crystal wing, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, which houses seven galleries, hangs out over Bloor Street, with peek-a-boo views to the street below. But best to focus on the content here, rather than the renovation. Fortunately, there’s plenty to see, with particular strengths in natural history and world cultures.
Don’t miss the Chinese galleries, which feature an intact Ming tomb and the magnificent Paradise of Maitreya mural; wonderful galleries exploring the ancient world (Egypt, Nubia, Greece, Byzantium, and Bronze Age Aegean are standouts); dazzling dinosaurs (including one of only three complete Barosaurus skeletons on display in the world); a newly improved Bat Cave (a very popular draw for kids); and galleries devoted to biodiversity in the animal kingdom. The hands-on CIBC Discovery Gallery invites children to dress up in medieval garb and dig for dino bones (a hit with would-be paleontologists). The four totem poles are remarkable, too, as are the mummies. On Fridays though summer and during the warmer weeks of spring and fall, the museum runs ROM Friday Night Live, an evening affair (that goes until 11:30 p.m.) with music and drinks to accompany the displays.