Staying inside all day for an indefinite period of time because there’s a global pandemic raging outside isn’t exactly ideal for anyone.
But being at home will also give you time to explore some of the incredible Canadian landmarks, museums, and animals you can’t see in person, all from the comfort of your couch. (Or your bed, or your desk chair, or maybe your bedroom floor because you’re sick of your couch and your bed and your desk chair.)
You can find online exhibits from a ton of Canada’s major museums and galleries here. Whether you’re interested in design, photography, paintings, ships, natural history, David Cronenberg movies, or way more, you can find something to occupy your time.
Vancouver Art Gallery
If you’re itching to check out the Vancouver Art Gallery, you can use Google to access the museum itself. Their website also includes some images and explanations related to their current exhibits, available for free.
Art Gallery of Ontario
A lot of the gallery’s pieces are available on its online collection. It’s organized alphabetically, so it’s best to use some of the filters to narrow down what kind of artwork you’re interested in looking at.
Their Panda Cam lets you watch their two giant pandas, Er Shun and Da Mao, every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., MT.
Royal Ontario Museum
The ROM has an extensive collection of more than 45,000 objects viewable through its online archive. Just type in something like “dinosaurs” or “gems” and look through thousands of results.
If you’d rather have a more authentic experience, Google Street View lets you go right into the museum itself, where you can pretend you’re walking around through the exhibits.
Sea Lions at OrcaLab
Have you ever watched a pile of sleepy sea lions hanging out and snoring loudly in real time? It’s quite an experience, and it’s available to you via OrcaLab, a whale research station on Hanson Island, B.C.
You can watch penguins, otters and more from the aquarium, which is also a centre for marine research.
Canadian Museum of History
A ton of the museum’s exhibits have been made available online, including Alex Janvier’s famous “Morning Star” and an exhibit about the history of Canadian fashion.
Banff National Park
There’s a wide variety of videos available touring the country’s oldest national park, in all kinds of weather.
The video below is a promo for one of the resorts, but around the 25-second mark the camera wanders outside. There’s a toggle in the top left corner of the video that lets you pan 360 degrees around.
This one has natural sound, so there are sometimes weird background talking noises, but also that very satisfying underfoot noise.
And this one plays relaxing music on top of the natural wildlife sounds to let you feel like you’re walking through Johnston Canyon, one part of the park.
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Winnipeg museum put a lot of its exhibits up on its website.
If you’re a Shakespeare fan, there are a number of plays available to watch online, streaming through the CBC Gem app.
The Beluga Boat, which attaches an underwater camera to a boat in beluga territory near Churchill, Man., is not currently operational. But you can watch some of the highlights from past beluga interactions.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The museum doesn’t have an online collection, but every day the museum is closed due to the pandemic, they’ll be updating their Instagram and Facebook pages with some of their offerings.
Kenai Fjords National Park
OK, fine, we cheated: this is in Alaska. But its proximity to Yukon makes it almost Canadian, not to mention how much snow and ice it involves. Check out this guided tour, where you can (virtually) climb down into the crevasse of a fjord.