At the Textile Museum of Canada (in Toronto)

As would be expected of a city of its size, Toronto is home to several large museums and art galleries, that are wonderful when you have the time to look around and see everything. But, what may be lesser known about this town is that there are also a lot of smaller places, located throughout the downtown area, where you can see good art. A walk around any neighbourhood, will take you by at least one studio or smaller gallery, where the public is welcome to take a look. These usually feature regularly changing displays, so, unless you’d researched it in advance, you never know what you’ll get, making stepping into one a very fun and interesting thing to do.

My friend Julie and I visited one such place last week – The Textile Museum of Canada.

As an added bonus, our admission was covered by the “Museum + Arts Pass” program offered by the Toronto Public Library! Any adult with a library card can go online and reserve a place at a variety of city attractions, some large (eg. AGO, ROM) and smaller (eg. Beta Shoe Museum, The Textile Museum). Using the program, card holders can go to each of the attractions once per calendar year, for free admission for themselves, another adult and up to four children. Click the link above to see all the places you can go.

I had used this in the past but at that time, it involved going to your library branch and picking up an actual paper pass. There were a limited number per branch per week, and it was first come, first served, so you didn’t always get lucky. Now, everything is conveniently done online. You can either download your pass or show it on your phone. I, for one, plan to get out more this summer! It’s the perfect way to treat a friend.

The Textile Museum is described on their site as:

“Located in downtown Toronto, we are the only museum in Canada dedicated to exploring the human experience through textiles.
The Museum ignites creativity, inspires wonder, and sparks conversation through the stories held within our global collection of textiles, and active engagement with contemporary art practices.”

We saw a special show that is on display until August, 19, 2024

The Secret Codes: African Nova Scotian Quilts brings together historic and contemporary quilts from makers connected to Nova Scotia, embodying the stories and voices of the community. Curated by David Woods, this exhibition includes more than 35 quilts and a selection of 8 paintings that highlight the various functions of quilts over time: as decorated blankets in the home, as possible codes of communication for enslaved people seeking freedom, as records of family history, as a celebration of Black women and culture, and as inspiration for other art forms.

↑ “possible codes of communication for enslaved people seeking freedom” ↑

↑ Here I am with a quilt that was made with my favourite vintage colour palette. ↑

We also looked around the area that had selections from their permanent collection on display.

↑ This was created over 525 years ago! ↑

↑ A beautiful Afghani shawl woven in 1918. ↑

↑ Jules with an antique woven piece, again, in a location chosen for the colours! ↑

After we’d seen the displays, we checked out the shop which ended up being right down my ally — everything was secondhand! They were selling all kinds of fabric remnants, notions, buttons and patterns that had been donated to the museum by crafters who had extra. I chose to get a “fill a bag” for $15, crammed (I was encouraged by the friendly staff to fill it well) with goodies that I’ll use for my newfound love of making clothes for my vintage Barbie dolls.

Since the museum was a smaller one, we had time to get a coffee at the coffee shop across the street.

We were very happy to have chosen to do this particular thing for our mini get-together. It was the perfect lady-date.

Thanks for reading. xo Loulou


As mentioned, there are many places to see art in Toronto. Here are some stories about visits to some other excellent smaller museums and galleries that you might enjoy :

The Image Centre , The Olga Korper Gallery , Mercer Union Contemporary Art Gallery , The Power Plant , The Design Exchange , Onsite Gallery , Spadina House , Mackenzie House