If you have a passion for arts and culture, Toronto is the place to be! With its extensive array of museums, galleries, cultural hubs, and vibrant art communities, you might actually feel a bit spoilt for choice.
To kick off your art-filled journey, why not begin with a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)? Here’s everything you need to know before you go.
Best Time to Go
The best time to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Toronto is on a weekday morning or early afternoon when there are fewer crowds. You can also visit MOCA for free every Friday from 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM.
If you’re interested in attending a public event, such as an artist talk, workshop, or performance, be sure to check the MOCA’s event page or social media pages for the schedule. Many of these events are free to attend, but they may require registration.
Things to Know
Currency: Canadian Dollar
(Check the current exchange rate)
Calling Code: +1
Where is the Museum of Contemporary Art?
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Toronto is located at 158 Sterling Road, in the Junction Triangle neighbourhood.
Here’s a map of the surrounding area:
How to Get There
By public transit:
The nearest TTC streetcar stop is on Dundas Street West, just a short walk from the museum. MOCA is also located near the West Toronto Railpath, a multi-use trail that runs from Dundas Street West to Dupont Street.
If you’re driving a car, take the Gardiner Expressway to the Spadina Avenue exit.
Turn left onto Spadina Avenue and head south, then turn right onto Dundas Street West.
Finally, turn left onto Sterling Road. MOCA will be on your right-hand side.
What to do in the Museum of Contemporary Art
Explore the exhibitions
The Museum of Contemporary Art features contemporary art by both local and international artists. Make sure to take your time to wander through the various exhibitions on display.
The exhibitions change regularly, some sticking around for just over a month, while others get featured for about six months.
But, the great thing is, if you missed an installation that you’re interested in, you can still explore and learn about it on their website.
Attend guided tours
If you’re eager to dive into the world of art creation, joining one of MOCA’s tours is a fantastic idea!
Throughout every exhibition season, MOCA offers drop-in and registered tours that are open to the public. These are led by the museum’s Arts Educators and are offered twice a day every Saturday and Sunday.
For those in the company of friends or family, you can also book a private group tour from Wednesday to Friday between 11 AM and 6 PM, with the latest start time at 5 PM. These tours run for 45 minutes and can accommodate a maximum of 20 people.
Participate in workshops and events
Visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art is not just about admiring; it’s about actively engaging! They’re dedicated to sparking lively conversations, getting visitors involved, and indulging in the richness of twenty-first-century art.
The institution keeps things exciting by opening its doors to the public for a variety of artistic workshops and events. They like to mix it up, offering curator-led tours, performances, arts and crafts workshops, family weekends, and more!
Some events are included with admission, some are totally free, and a few might have a separate cost. Visitors can check their events page to stay in the loop.
Visit the gift shop
You can bring home a piece of the artistic vibe with trinkets like art, books, cards, scarves, and more from the museum’s shop. If you’d rather stay cosy at home, they also showcase some items online for you to order and have delivered right to your doorstep.
MOCA also sets up honesty shops featuring handmade items by local makers and creators. They work on a self-service basis, counting on the honesty of customers to record their purchases—how cool is that?
Just a heads up, though: transactions are completely cashless, so make sure to bring your card if you want to snag some unique finds.
Take advantage of educational programs
MOCA is on a mission to spread the love of art education far and wide. They’ve got hands-on art activities that aren’t just for the in-person crowd–you can also enjoy them right from the comfort of your home or school.
They also throw a fantastic TD Community Sundays bash every first Sunday of the month. The best part is admission to the gallery is on the house!
Plus, there’s a new cool learning activity led by a talented artist every week. And if you’re worried you’ll miss out, don’t stress–they’ve got video recordings on their website so you can try out the experiments at home.
Relax at the museum cafe
All that exploring must have stirred up quite an appetite! Lucky for visitors, the museum has them covered with an in-house café to top off your visit.
The Forno Cultura MOCA/Bread Lab is an Italian bakery and cafe that offers a variety of breads, pastries, and sandwiches. You’ll easily find it in the museum’s lobby and on the off chance that you miss it, just follow the tempting aroma of freshly baked bread.
While indulging in the cafe’s offerings, don’t pass up the chance to savour one of their crowd-pleasers—the Apollini Sfoglia con Crema Pasticcera!
Where to stay near the Museum of Contemporary Art
The Drake Hotel
Address: 1150 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J3, Canada
Phone: +1 416-531-5042
The Drake Hotel, established in 2004, stands out as a chic boutique accommodation located in the Queen Street West neighbourhood. Yep, it’s owned by the famous Canadian rapper and singer with the same name.
Diverging from the conventional luxury hotel concept, it boasts a distinctive and artistic design, making it an ideal choice for those who appreciate unique and unconventional spaces.
They also have a rooftop bar that serves trendy cocktails and often engages in lively events and a cafe known for its delicious a la carte breakfast menu.
Address: 1214 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J6, Canada
Phone: +1 416-531-4635
Formerly known as Gladstone Hotel, Gladstone House underwent renovations and rebranding in 2004– more than a hundred years after it first opened its gates. This is the perfect place to stay if you’re still hungover from all the art that you explored at MOCA.
During its major transformation, Gladstone’s focus shifted towards embracing art, design, and culture wholeheartedly. Presently, the hotel features three galleries within its premises, along with a dedicated theatre for performers.
They offer various spaces designed to host creative events, too!
Old Mill Toronto Hotel
Address: 9 Old Mill Rd, Etobicoke, ON M8X 1G5, Canada
Phone: +1 416-232-3703
The Old Mill Toronto Hotel is a 4-star boutique hotel dating back to 1914 when it was originally built as a recreation centre. Steeped in history, the property proudly boasts traditional English architecture, preserving its historical allure over the years.
The hotel’s signature restaurant, Home Smith Bar, was built in the Old Mill Tea Room in 1914 as a community gathering space. Fast forward to 2001, it was reborn as The Home Smith Bar, continuing its legacy for the community.
When it comes to must-try dishes, the Charcuterie Plate and the hearty King’s Mill Sandwich are some of our favourites.
Ace Hotel Toronto
Address: 51 Camden St, Toronto, ON M5V 1V2, Canada
Phone: +1 416-637-1200
Tucked into the lively streets of Toronto’s Garment District, the Ace Hotel Toronto is your go-to spot for a stay just minutes away from the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Its industrial-chic aesthetic, exposed brick walls, polished concrete floors, and vintage furnishings seamlessly blend with modern touches, creating a space that is both stylish and inviting.
Ace Hotel houses Alder, a Michelin Guide-recognized restaurant, serving up wood-fired grill prime meats, fresh seafood, and tender veggies. And if you crave a drink, head up to the rooftop bar, Evangeline, for some top-notch craft cocktails.
Kimpton Saint George
Address: 280 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1V8, Canada
Phone: +1 416-968-0010
Wrapped in the lively vibes of Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood, the Kimpton Saint George is a delightful blend of refined elegance and bohemian charm. Formerly the old Holiday Inn, this gem got a stylish makeover under new management in 2018.
Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by custom-made decor courtesy of Mason Studio. Think warm earthy tones, natural materials like ash wood and sleek granite, plus playful textures, and art handmade by local artisans.
Check out The Fortune Fox, the hotel’s hip gastropub serving up a selection of elevated comfort food dishes. Kickstart your day with their Fox breakfast – eggs, crispy potatoes, bacon, sausage, toast, tomatoes, and a whole lot of deliciousness.
Where to eat near the Museum of Contemporary Art
The Good Son
Address: 1096 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1H9, Canada
Phone: +1 416-551-0589
The Good Son is this spot famous for its mouthwatering wood-fired oven pizzas and incredible dishes. What’s cool is their menu is all about sharing plates, making it the ultimate social dining experience.
Our absolute faves? Gotta go with their classic margherita pizza and the mouthwatering spaghetti diavolo. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!
The Commoner Roncy
Address: 2067 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6R 1W8, Canada
The Commoner is the go-to spot in Toronto’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood, and the good news is that it’s just a short stroll from the museum!
Their menu is packed with all the Canadian classics, comforting eats, and a variety of brunch plates to choose from.
You’ve got to try their cheeseburger and steak fries for a seriously hearty meal. And oh, they’ve got you covered on the drinks front too, with everything from cocktails and spirits to draft beers and wine.
Address: 1419 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6P 3L4, Canada
If you’re craving some awesome Asian flavours, Thai Nyyom is the spot to hit up. This is a cosy Thai restaurant located in the Junction Triangle neighbourhood of TO.
The name says it all–it translates to ‘popular’–and it’s run by a local Thai chef. Even though their menu isn’t massive, it’s packed with flavours that’ll take you on a delicious journey.
Oh, and don’t miss out on their daily Chef’s Special! They’ve got a vegetarian option, so everyone’s covered.
Address: 1727 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1V4, Canada
Viaggio, tucked in a historic building on Dundas Street just a breezy 10-minute walk from MOCA, is a must-try spot listed in the 2023 Michelin Guide.
For the full-on experience, kick things off with their shrimp crostini, dive into the delightful tortelloni, and wrap up the night with some heavenly tiramisu pancakes. And hey, for drinks, take your pick from their extensive list of vino rosso options.
La Cubana Roncesvalles
Address: 392 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2M9, Canada
Meet La Cubana Roncesvalles, a lively spot in Toronto’s Roncesvalles Village founded by the amazing Chef Corinna Mozo. They’re all about Cuban comfort food and drinks, making it a go-to for a flavour-packed experience.
From mouthwatering appetisers like pastelitos and croquetas to hearty mains like ropa vieja and lechon asado, La Cubana Roncesvalles has something for everyone.
Save room for dessert because they whip up Cuban-inspired delights like tres leches cake and flan de caramelo. And, of course, what’s a Cuban feast without the perfect cocktail?