Toronto Police Museum & Discovery Centre is located in the lobby of Police Headquarters at 40 College St. It is a not-for-profit registered Charity that was built, and is run, off of private donations. Admission is free but donations collected on site, profits from the gift shop, and private donations help fund the day to day operation of the museum.
I got a chance to chat with their historical researcher at the museum who filled me in on the daily running of the museum, the types of donations they get from police officers and their families, and some of the displays and their history.
The museum has a lot of cool interactive exhibits and displays. Display cases containing everything from weapons to badges to items carried on a belt are all displayed with the variations over the years being compared.
The classic Plymouth Police car from the 1980s has been dissected and installed in one of the rooms. The live feed from the radio inside the car can still be heard by visitors.
Mounted units and motorcycles of several generations are also on display. Plaques outline the history and development of many of the different departments of the Police force.
A series of panels takes you through several decades at a time through the history of the Toronto Police Services that date back to their conception in 1834. This date pre-dates the police forces of both New York City (1845) and Boston (1839). The panels discuss the efficiency and the evolution of the police services as they adapted to the growing city of Toronto.
Many police officers also served our country overseas in the Canadian Military. Some of the donations that the museum receives come from these soldiers and include clothing, medals and flags from tours and service.
Above are 2 different popularized court cases involving murders in Toronto in the past century. Descriptions of the events as well as evidence from the crime scene are available for viewing. In one case a replica of the building the crime took place in has been assembled for display.
Below are cases containing famous artifacts from over the years such as the rope used in the last capital punishment carried out in Canada was the double hanging of Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin on December 11, 1962.
Uniforms from over the decades, as well as uniforms from the different faction of the Toronto Police Service are also on display such as this ETF officer dropping in from the roof and the late 1800s officer pictured below tending the call-box at station #7, a restored section of an old police station.
The picture above shows two officers sitting in what would have been station #7. The old typewriter apparently gets asked about a lot by kids who are too young to know what they are.
Located in the right of the picture is a poster on the wall asking for a reward of Ambrose Small who was a famous businessman and theatre builder who went missing in 1919 and was never heard from again. There was great mystery and press surrounding the event which was re-popularized by the Michael Ondaatje book “In The Skin of a Lion”.
The memorial area contains hats, artifacts, and names of soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty, officers who served over-seas, and those of retired or deceased officers that served on the police force ove the past 100+ years.
The museum is open Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Toronto Police Museum exists solely on the profits of our gift shop and donations. We hold a charitable status and all donations collected during tours or research will go back into the museum reserve fund.
All visits to the museum must be booked ahead of time by calling the museum information line at 416-808-7020, or via e-mail. Visitors will be required to hand-in their booking receipt along with their donation on the day of visit.
Tour groups are welcome but a call in advance is appreciated to avoid any conflict with other groups that may be visiting. 416-808-7720 ids the contact number.
Gift shop hours: Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Admission: Children 12yrs. & under $1.00
Seniors 65yrs. & over $2.00