No matter where you are in this vast country, it’s surprisingly easy to discover some truly quirky attractions. Satisfy your curiosity by visiting some of these most unusual museums in Canada.
1 GOPHER HOLE MUSEUM
Taxidermy features prominently in most natural history museums, but in the cozy Alberta town of Torrington, the Gopher Hole Museum does things a bit different. First, the museum displays nothing but gophers. Second, said rodents are all dressed in human costumes and portrayed in lifelike tableaux, like getting coiffed at the beauty salon and smooching by moonlight. If you want to visit one of Canada’s most unusual museums, then “gopher” this one.
2 BARBIE EXPO
Tucked away in Les Cours Mont-Royal, a fashionable shopping centre in downtown Montreal, you’ll find the world’s largest permanent display of Barbie dolls. The Barbie Expo assembles a dazzling collection of more than 1,000 dolls dressed by designers like Armani, Ralph Lauren and Vera Wang. See if you can also spot the famous Barbies posing as iconic movie characters.
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3 CANADIAN POTATO MUSEUM
You’d think there’d only be room for one potato museum in Canada, but fans of everyone’s favourite tuber can choose between the New Brunswick Potato World Museum and P.E.I.’s Canadian Potato Museum. Like Stompin’ Tom Connors, we give the nod to the P.E.I. entry because everyone “likes the island’s potatoes best.” It also happens to boast the world’s largest potato sculpture.
4 UFO CENTRE
Most Canadians remember 1967 as our nation’s Centennial, but folks in the tiny fishing village of Shag Harbour, N.S. will tell you it’s the year a mysterious UFO crashed offshore. The incident is documented at the Shag Harbour Incident Society Museum, where you can view out-of-this-world memorabilia. You can also head up the road for a picnic at the UFO Gazebo and gaze out to the spot where the object crashed, leaving behind nothing but yellow foam.
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5 LOG CABIN MUSEUM
What the tiny Colville Lake, N.W.T. museum lacks in size it makes up for in quirk. The hand-built log cabin is outfitted with paintings by local priest, pilot and town founder Bern Will Brown. The quaint structure also houses a collection of northern memorabilia, including the very first snowmobile ever to make tracks in the Canadian North.