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“Was not expecting this!”
Review of Spadina Museum

Spadina Museum
Ranked #54 of 513 things to do in Toronto
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The years between the two Great Wars, when Toronto experienced increased immigration, the vote for women, the stock market crash, prohibition and the introduction of public health and welfare. It's also the time of the Charleston craze, tabloid journalism, new technology and more. And it can all be seen, heard, felt and lived at Spadina Museum - Toronto's only museum to represent the 1920s and 30s, a transformative period that dramatically changed the City. For over a century, Spadina was home to three generations of the Austin family. Opened in 1984, it is one of 10 historic sites operated by the City of Toronto. Spadina Museum completed an extensive interior restoration in 2010, bringing the house back into the twentieth century. Visitors may view what the house looked like during those years through artifacts, furnishings and reproduced and original decor or explore the estate's six acres of restored 1905 gardens. Today, Spadina Museum interprets the interwar period through a rich slate of guided tours, school programs, special events, changing exhibits, lectures and workshops. Spadina Museum is one of 10 historic museums operated by the City of Toronto. Toronto's Historic Sites engage visitors, inspire passion, challenge ideas and connect the past to the present.
Van, Turkey
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Was not expecting this!”
Reviewed 17 April 2014

Greatly dwarfed by its gaudy neighbour next door, the Spadina Historic House and Gardens is a delightful little museum that is definitely worth the trip. Originally, I had set out to visit Casa Loma but walked out simply because much of the castle was closed due to filming and, as such, was not a great value, even with the Toronto City Pass. So I randomly walked towards the Spadina House and am very grateful that I did. I figured it was worth a visit just by looking at the beautiful structure of this building which was once the home of the Austin's, one of Toronto's most influential families.

Inside, you are greeted by the House's friendly staff as you pay the very reasonable price of 9$. You are then assisted by a very knowledgeable guide she walks you through this very ornate Victorian mansion. Unfortunately, I do not remember the name of our guide, but she was a lovely young lady who was quite passionate about the House and the Austin family. When regaling us with the many Austin family anecdotes, it was almost like as if she was talking about a dear friend. The home is so meticulously restored and is full of memorabilia and trinkets that were used by the family back in the day.

I wholeheartedly recommend this underrated attraction, especially for those who love history and are curious about how people lived during Victorian times.

Visited April 2014
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3 Thank Lilypaloosa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Bangkok, Thailand
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“A Pleasant Afternoon”
Reviewed 16 April 2014

We went to the House for a cider tasting event and toured the house and grounds while we were there. The layout is very good and the guides very helpful. This is a great way to learn a little about the development of Toronto in the Victorian era.

Visited October 2013
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Thank JohnsonsCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
199 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 175 helpful votes
“Downton amazing”
Reviewed 14 April 2014

came for Dressing for Downton but enjoyed entire experience. House is so beautiful and lived in, a wonderful trip to the past. Much better than Casa Loma! do not miss

Visited April 2014
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Thank cantravnut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Ontario
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Downton Abbey Exhibit”
Reviewed 5 April 2014

I'd been to Spadina House once before, but my friend and I were anxious to see the Downton Abbey display so we took in the exhibit. Being a Torontonian, it was something I had easy access to and I didn't want to miss it. Spadina House itself is very interesting and worth visiting, but I was surprised by the display of costumes. They put them all on the third floor and they weren't really displayed in an elegant way. It was easy to see them and touch them and we were excited to actually be so close to the costumes of this epic show. On the other hand, the rooms were not particularly good backdrops.
Our tour of the house was very interesting. However the tour guide went into a bit too much detail, leaving a few of us to wander around a bit. We went down a hallway (which was not blocked off) to peep into a room and a staffer came out and chastised us quite rudely! I understand 'security' but we'd already been 'cleared' and weren't trying to do anything - very negative aspect.
The 'tea' planned for Downton fans was sold out - we peeked into the room where it was held - too bad they didn't offer tea in the empty solarium as well.
Overall it was an exciting visit and I would recommend Spadina House as an integral part of Toronto's history.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank dray_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
35 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Downton Lovers Rejoice”
Reviewed 4 April 2014

In the heart of Toronto, you will find this truly lovely home built in 1866, donated ( or partially donated, as the tour guide told us) to the City of Toronto. I have heard of this museum for years but never visited until their Downton Abbey exhibit. I didn't even realize it was next to Casa Loma (which I have visited several times and is always fun)
Spadina House was a delightful venue for the display of the actual costumes from the show. Although it is nowhere near as opulent as High Clere Castle, it is a brilliant example of an upper class home in the the early 1900's in Canada. Many of the furnishings are original , including gas light fixtures and wallpaper. It was interesting to see the parallels between the show and real life in the 1920's. After viewing the costumes from the show , as well as several clothing pieces from the Austins themselves, Spadina ( pronounced "Spadeena)House tour guides took us on an interesting tour of the home itself, explaining the artwork, lighting and furniture pieces of each room. They also described the activities that would take place in each of those rooms and compared them to what one might see in the Downton Abbey series. Given that I am such a huge fan of the show, I was delighted by this museum and am pleased that the City of Toronto has acquired and preserved an important part of Toronto's past.
The tour began on the 3rd floor which I do feel could have had a little more care and restoration efforts brought to it, including the stairwells that we travelled. There are resting areas at some landings,and instead of plastic chairs, there could have been seating that I feel would be more appropriate to the time period ie/ a velvet covered bench or such. (I realize, that 's just being picky.) However, as you make your way through the lower levels, you realize that whatever little money this museum obtains , they direct it towards preserving the more elegant areas of the home.
In the costume display area, they set up a backdrop of High Clere castle with props for dressing up for picture in front of it. I think they could've provided a few more interesting items for props
( but again , that's just preference- a girl likes to dress up, y'know !)

There is a large seating area to wait before your tour and they do have a free coat rack.
There is a 2 person lift, a small gift shop with reasonably priced items and snack items for sale. The staff were lovely, knowledgeable and well organized. The home is about 15000 sq feet so it took about 1.5 hrs to go through it. We are still at the end of winter here but I'm sure the gardens are lovely in the summer. In fact, they had a posting for a Gatsby Garden party in June. Now that would be fun !

Visited April 2014
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Thank Kelly L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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