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ROM

Its stunning shape took me by surprise, the beautiful Daniel Liebeskind-designed Royal Museum of Ontario (ROM). This iconic Toronto arts institution was originally built in 1914 and remains Canada’s largest museum with over six million artifacts, the majority housed in an underground warehouse. 

ROM

The unique design is an excellent example of hybrid architecture. Controversial to the core, it regularly makes both Top 10 best and worst architecture lists. I’m a fan of this museum’s design falling in the top 10 BEST list.

ROM

ROM also houses the second largest collection of Chinese artifacts outside of China.

ROM 

Inside the immense space, you’ll have choices to make:
– Ancient Cultures
– Biodiversity
– Contemporary Culture
– Canada
– Earth’s Treasures
– Fossils & Evolution
– Textiles & Fashions
– World Art & Culture

ROM

The maze-like interior is playful and invites exploration. Don’t expect to see it all in one day!

Futalognkosaurus
[Futalognkosaurus!]

Through the turnstiles, you’re greeted with a Futalognkosaurus. This massive dinosaur was named in 2007 and is the first Futalognkosaurus cast to be mounted anywhere in the world. It’s not only the largest dino displayed in Canada but the largest creature to have walked the Earth.

Oviraptorsaur
[The 66 million-year-old Oviraptorsaur theropod had a beak in place of teeth]

After taking in this awesome view for awhile, I headed downstairs for a visit to Pompeii.

Pompeii: Portrait of Titus coin
[Portrait of Titus coin issued just months before the eruption]

Pompeii: In the Shadow of the Volcano (on through January 3, 2016) showcases a city that vanished from sight for over a thousand years, when in Year 79, stratovolcano Mount Vesuvius erupted with incredible force – and little warning. 

Pompeii: Terra cotta sculptures of male actors dressed as characters from a Roman tragedy
[Terra cotta sculptures of male actors dressed as characters from a Roman tragedy]

Under the rain of falling debris (followed by the inferno of hot gaseous blasts shot 20 kilometers into the sky!), the Roman city was buried under several meters of ash. 

In 1748, excavations began (funded by the King of Naples) and the archeologists dug up some pretty impressive finds, many well-preserved over the ages. 

Everything from jewellery and gladiator armor to intricate mosaics were unearthed. This very well documented exhibit showcases a veritable wealth of items portraying a well-developed and artistic society at the time. Over 200 years later, about one third of Pompeii remains unexcavated

Photos are not only allowed, they’re encouraged!

Pompeii: Victims cast exhibition

The exhibit also shows the sober remains of some of Pompeii’s victims. Archeologists discovered the victims from the disaster and filled the hollow of each body with diluted plaster. Once the plaster hardened, the cast of the body was carefully excavated, and the ash chipped off. 

Download the free Scopify ROM app to explore objects from the museum collection. 

Sightseeing Toronto

Easy hop-on, hop-off sightseeing from City Sightseeing Toronto gets you around the big city from one attraction to another.

Toronto Hockey Hall of Fame
[Stop #18 brings you to the Hockey Hall of Fame]

Tickets are good for three days. You’ll get lots of great historical tidbits along the 17 stops. A free 45-minute boat cruise is included with a $38.05 (adult, not including tax) ticket.

Another Toronto icon? The CN Tower.

CN Tower-1

CN Tower is the tallest tower in the Western hemisphere and the third tallest in the world. A 58-second flight will land you on the observation deck. In high season, between eight and nine thousand people take in this well-visited attraction daily.

CN Tower
[CN Tower and Toronto skyline view from aboard Tall Ship Kajama]

The CN Tower opened in 1976, built out of a necessity for a radio and TV communication platform to serve the Toronto area. Depending on air quality, the tower can be seen from several points along the south shore of Lake Ontario and as far south as New York State. In 1995, it became one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

360 Restaurant at CN Tower

360 Restaurant is located at 351 metres (1,151 feet), where diners enjoy a full rotation around the city every 72 minutes. Tower admission is included when you book lunch or dinner reservations. For an extra thrill, we took another elevator to Sky Pod, bringing us to 447 meters (1,467 feet) and to another observation area.

CN Tower 360 Restaurant at CN Tower

The restaurant offers over 550 wines, from bottles to wines by the glass. The highest wine cellar in the world caters to a variety of palates and includes Canadian and international wines, varietals, bubblies, rare wines, dessert wines, cognacs, calvados and eau-de-vivres. We enjoyed a half bottle of Cave Springs Cellars’ 2013 Chardonnay from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula. This wine is grown in heavy shale and limestone-based clays, imparting a crisp taste and a fruity finish.

360 Restaurant pan-seared Atlantic salmon, prawn and ginger siu mai, wilted spinach
[Pan-seared Atlantic salmon, prawn and ginger siu mai, wilted spinach]

The prix fixe two and three-course menu has a good selection of appetizers, mains and desserts on offer. Once you’re seated, relax and take in the incredible views, from downtown skyscrapers and condos to the boats on Lake Ontario. We dined on a busy Labour Day weekend, and it was packed with families getting ready to greet the school year alongside couples out for a romantic meal (and a few birthday celebrations in between).

360 Restaurant’s menu is focused on regional dishes (also catering to vegetarians) and is the recipient of several dining awards. Since 1994, it’s been voted Toronto Sun Readers’ Choice Best Restaurant with a View.

360 Restaurant slow-roasted Canadian AAA prime rib, rosemary bread pudding, seasonal veggies
[Slow-roasted Canadian AAA prime rib, rosemary bread pudding, seasonal veggies]

Portions are well-sized, dishes are uncomplicated and very flavourful and service is attentive and friendly without feeling too rushed. The menu changes twice a year.

360 Restaurant warm cranberry pecan tart, white chocolate cranberry ice cream
[Decadent warm cranberry pecan tart, white chocolate cranberry ice cream]

After a full week of touring Toronto (and spotting the CN Tower at nearly every turn), this was a wonderful way to cap off our long, busy summer!

360 Restaurant at CN Tower
[A romantic view from high above!]

CN Tower is open daily from 9 am to 10:30 pm (closed Christmas Day) and is located at 301 Front Street West in Toronto.

Our admission tickets to ROM and dinner at 360 Restaurant at CN Tower were courtesy of Tourism Toronto. Opinions, as always, are our own.

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