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Come Get Your Art On

With many cultural institutions are on pause due to the season or Covid-19 restrictions, there are still a host of places to enjoy this winter!

As winter sets in, many across the country will be seeking ways to keep engaged and entertained—and maybe even learn a little something—while protecting themselves from the elements. And what better way to accomplish all of the above than by visiting a museum? Across Northeastern Ontario, museums of all shapes and sizes highlight the region’s heritage, architecture, and natural history, from polar bears to the region's famous log cabin "castle."

Before you visit, please be sure to check websites for opening hours, admission requirements, and any additional health and safety notices. 

Here are seven great museums to check out this winter. 

From displays exploring Callander’s rich geological history to a look at the 128 men and women from the area who served in the Second World War, Callander’s museum is a thorough look at the area’s history and evolution. Most notable, though, are the museum’s exhibitions devoted to the Dionne quintuplets, five identical twin sisters who gained international fame in the mid-20th century, and who were born just outside of Callander.

September to April
Thursday - Saturday: 10am -5pm
May to August
Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm 

The Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat is home to three adult bears—Ganuk, which means “snowflake” in Inuktitut, Henry, and Inukshuk—who roam the habitat’s 24 acres of subarctic and boreal natural environment. Bear sightings aren’t guaranteed, particularly since the habitat is so vast, and the bears are allowed to wander as they please, but most visitors will spot at least one during their visit. Visitors have the chance to view the bears, and to learn about the species through several educational exhibitions. This is truly a bucket list experience for the whole family. 

Seven days a week, 363 days a year (closed on Christmas Day & New Year's Day)
Summer Hours (Victoria Day to Thanksgiving): 9am - 5pm
Winter Hours (Thanksgiving to VictoriaDay): 10am - 4pm

For more info visit: polarbearhabitat.ca

The Timmins Museum hosts a number of traveling and rotating exhibitions throughout the year, such as the recent Crossroads, which focussed on the visual art of Franco-Ontarians. The museum’s permanent exhibit, Where We Stand: Stories of the Land, launched earlier in 2020; it focuses on the area’s history and settlement patterns, and will feature an ever-changing rotation of artefacts and pieces of personal history from Timmins residents. 

Monday - Friday: 9am - 4pm
Saturday and Sunday: 12pm - 4pm 

Ideal for history buffs, the Centennial Museum of Sheguiandah, which was constructed in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday, features a collection of artefacts from the Sheguiandah Archaeological Site, as well as displays of the home and work life of settlers to Canada in the mid-19th century. There are also occasional workshops and children’s events; give the museum a call ahead of your visit to see what’s on. Located in Nemi on Manitoulin Island, this makes a great stop on your island tour. 

Daily from 9am - 4:30pm 

This museum was originally the home of Harry Oakes, an American-born miner who made his millions in the cobalt mines of Northeastern Ontario in the early 20th century—and who was murdered under circumstances that still remain mysterious. The museum features items once owned by the Oakes family, and a substantial collection of artefacts that reflect the area’s rich mining history. At the gift shop, you’ll find items from local artisans and artists, including paintings, wall hangings, and one-of-a-kind jewellery. 

Tuesday - Friday: 10am - 5pm
Saturday: 12pm - 4pm 

The Mac Daddy of Northern Ontario museums, Science North is heaven for curious children and kids at heart. Currently, the museum is showing an exhibit explaining the science behind some of the most incredible Guinness World Records, sure to fascinate and amaze visitors of all ages. The museum also supports a number of citizen scientist programs in the Sudbury area, and while not technically museum exhibits, some of the experiments can be seen on Science North’s grounds, including 80 bee boxes for research.

Monday - Sunday: 9am - 5pm

For more info visit: https://www.sciencenorth.ca/home

While technically not a museum, White Otter Castle in Ignace is one of Northeastern Ontario’s most interesting and historic buildings. Constructed in the early 20th century by woodsman Jimmy McOuat, the “castle” is in fact a three-storey log chalet built by hand, using freshly-felled logs. Tours of White Otter Castle, which is accessible by snow machine only, can be arranged via Brown’s Clearwater West Lodge.

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