Canada's best museums ranked by TripAdvisor users

Canada's best museums ranked by TripAdvisor users

The people have spoken, and apparently Victoria’s Royal British Columbia Museum is the best cultural attraction in Canada. At least, according to those who use TripAdvisor.

The online travel site ranked the Royal B.C. Museum the #1 attraction in Canada in’s annual Traveller’s Choice Awards.

In an interview with the Victoria Times-Colonist, the site’s public relations manager Kevin Carter noted that the rankings are not based on a survey, but on opinions shared by millions of visitors to the site.

“We have over 315 million visitors each month and more than 190 million reviews and opinions on the site. So it’s the wisdom of the crowds [that determines the rankings],” he said.

Scott Cooper, vice-president of exhibitions, said the museum was humbled by the ranking and would like to thank visitors for singing their praises.

"It truly is an honour to receive this praise, especially knowing it comes not from a panel of experts or a single voice, but from the thousands of visitors who have come to the Royal BC Museum and have enjoyed their time here enough to tell others," he said.

Indeed, the Victoria-based museum placed first overall in the category, followed by museums in Toronto, Ottawa and Drumheller, Alta.

It is actually a pretty good moment to celebrate Canadian museums. November 18 marked Canadian Museums Day, which is held each year to help spread awareness of the wide range of attractions across Canada.

The long-awaited Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg officially opened in September, after several years of planning and construction.

And the federal government just announced $80.5 million in funding to renovate Canada’s Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, with a focus of expanding its space exhibit.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top five Canadian museums, as chosen by TripAdvisor visitors over the past year.

1. Royal B.C. Museum
Location: Victoria, B.C.
Focus: Natural and human history
No. of visitors: Nearly one million in the past year
Recent highlights: An online collection of objects from Haida Gwaii, one of Canada’s westernmost Pacific Ocean landmasses. It also recently hosted an exhibition on Vikings - including insights into their domestic life and death rituals.

2. Royal Ontario Museum
Location: Toronto, Ont.
Focus: World culture and natural history
No. of visitors: Approximately one million per year
Recent highlights: The natural history galleries features the skeletons of everything from dinosaurs to dodo birds. And its world culture galleries date back well beyond medieval times. It is currently hosting a Wildlife Photographer of the Year special exhibition.

3. Canadian War Museum
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Focus: Canada’s military history
No. of visitors: Nearly 1.5 million last year.
Recent highlights: Permanent exhibits focus on warfare dating back to a time before contact with Europe, Canada’s role in the World Wars, and more recent conflicts. A new wing is home to the Royal Canadian Hall of Honour.

4. Royal Tyrrell Museum
Location: Drumheller, Alta.
Focus: Paleontological research (dinosaurs)
No. of visitors: Over 380,000 visitors last year
Recent highlights: Home to approximately 157,000 specimens, including dinosaur fossils, and adds thousands more every year. It includes an interactive laboratory, an exhibit outlining Alberta in the Cretaceous period and and an expansive fossil trail.

5. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Location: Montreal, Que.
Focus: Fine art
No. of visitors: Approx. 750,000 per year
Recent highlights: With a permanent collection of some 40,000 pieces, the MMFA is one of the largest art museums in North America. It is currently hosting an exhibit entitled “Impressionism to Expressionism” that features the work of Van Gogh, Picasso and Kandinsky. It also hosts a concert series throughout the year.