Museums are frequently considered caretakers of high culture, yet they are merely facilities that collect, interpret, and present objects of significance. Although the quirky businesses in this roundup may not have the prominence of renowned attractions such as the Royal Ontario Museum or the Canadian Museum of History, they surely deliver on “items of interest,” with displays dedicated to the odd, unique, and downright bizarre. Here are five Quirky museums in Canada to add to your bucket list.
Canadian Potato Museum – Quirky Museums in Canada
Did you know that Prince Edward Island grows over 100 potatoes? You would if you visited the Canadian Potato Museum in O’Leary, Prince Edward Island. You’ll learn all you ever wanted to know about the humble potato, which is as important to Island culture as Anne of Green Gables herself. The interpretive center features the world’s largest collection of ancient potato farming equipment and exhibits that illustrate traditional harvesting procedures. Spend some time next door at Potato Country Kitchen, which serves Island-inspired potato meals, and don’t forget to take a selfie with the world’s largest potato sculpture.
World Famous Gopher Hole Museum
You’ve never seen gophers like the ones on display at Torrington, Alberta’s World Famous Gopher Hole Museum, whether you think of them as troublesome pests or adorable little mammals. There are 47 different dioramas here, with taxidermied gophers (Richardson ground squirrels, if we’re being scientific) dressed up in intricate costumes and playing everything from a wedding to a hockey game to a bank heist. This very unique attraction is closed on weekdays until July and August, when it is open Thursday through Sunday.
Looking for free activities in Montreal? Expo Barbie, the world’s greatest collection of Barbies, is free to visit. The 5,000-square-foot permanent exhibition at Les Cours Mont-Royal houses over 1,000 Barbies dating back to the doll’s debut in 1958. Since then, the anatomically impossible blonde has reflected current fashions, and there’s no shortage of gorgeous ensembles made by Bob Mackie, Versace, and Ralph Lauren.
Sign Post Forest – Quirky Museums in Canada
Watson Lake, a small village near the Yukon-British Columbia border, is one of the most memorable sites along the Alaska Highway. A homesick American soldier was tasked with mending directing posts at the site in 1942, and erected his own to point the way to his homeland in Illinois. He unintentionally began a trend, and there are now over 80,000 such marks in the ever-expanding Sign Post Forest. Destinations worldwide are affixed to tall signposts that indicate their distance from the Yukon. Explore the maze-like outdoor sign museum to identify your hometown or add your own.
Musée de l’Accordéon – Quirky Museums in Canada
If you enjoy traditional folk music, the presence of a Canadian accordion museum will delight you. The only Canadian institution dedicated to the boxy musical instrument, the Musée de l’Accordéon in Montmagny, Quebec (an hour’s drive from Quebec City), traces its history in Canada through the lens of immigration. The exhibits, which include a range of accordions from around the world, trace the evolution of the accordion, most notably how different cultures made it their own.