Must See: Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame
If Canada is the home of hockey, then Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame is its living room.
The Hockey Hall of Fame (30 Yonge Street, Toronto ON) is the perfect place to learn more about Canada’s game.
Originally situated at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1961, the HHOF moved into its current home at Brookfield Place in 1993. The $35 million facility features 57,000 square feet of hockey memorabilia and is the perfect place for a quick weekend trip.
With over 14 different exhibits that both hockey and non-hockey fans can enjoy, you can easily spend a a day learning all you’d want to know about Canada’s pastime. November is a great time to visit as Induction Weekend is right around the corner.
The NHL Zone
With two nine-foot tall statues of Cyclone Taylor and Ken Dryden at the entrance, the “Legends” space features tributes to some of the Hall’s inductees including Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr. This is complimented by a “NHL Today” section which highlights some of the stars of today.
The “Retro” portion presents franchise histories including nods to teams of yesteryear including the Kansas City Scouts and Brooklyn Americans. “NHL Milestones” notes some of the game’s best records including Darryl Sittler’s 10-point single-game performance and my personal fave, Bill Mosienko’s three goals in 21 seconds.
VIA Rail Stanley Cup Dynasties
This display includes the team rosters for the nine teams that kept the Cup for extended periods of time.
The Montreal Canadiens dressing room
This to-scale replica of the locker room within the Montral Forum is a must-see as it was home to 23 Stanley Cup championship teams between 1924 and 1996. The stalls commemorate some of the team’s best players including Guy Lafleur, Jacques Plante and Jean Beliveau. Hockey fans can also see the evolution of equipment through the years and even read the famed passage from John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields that the Habs’ dressing room was known for “… to you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.”
Upon our visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame, what I found particularly notable was the TSN Theatre. The Theatre is home to an original 3D film, entitled Stanley’s Game Seven (3D), that tells the story of a regular group of guys playing the country’s favourite game. But its main allure is the way that it mixes original live action, computer generated 3D animation, and archival footage of some of the most storied moments in NHL history including spectacular goals by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. There is something infinitely cool about getting handed a pair of 3D glasses and feeling like you’re in the game. The film plays every 30 minutes during regular hours.
A 120-seat space with a large-screen projection where the audience can enjoy old archive footage including Stanley Cup highlight reels and other hockey films and videos.
The Honda NHL Zone
Your trio to the Hall of Fame would not be complete without trying the game out for yourself. A 2400- square foot simulated rink with two fan stands, rink boards and a scoreboard allow you to go one-on-one with a life-sized goaltender. Three censors process the trajectory and speed of your shot to figure out if you would score a game-winning goal or not.
If you prefer to play between the pipes, you can throw on a glove and blocker and feel what it is like to stop a sponge puck from Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier!
Shoot for a Cure Slapshot Trivia
If you prefer to showcase your puck prowess with your head instead of your hands, a trivia game is set up in the stands of the Be A Player Zone where you can take on other HHOF visitors. There are eight kiosks available as 10-minute games cycle throughout the day with four game formats.
Upper Deck Collectors’ Corner
While most of the Hall of Fame has a broad appeal, I like the niche factor of the Collectors’ Corner which is great for fans who used to collect hockey trading cards like I did. This exhibit features cards from the mid 1930s as well as newer editions. In addition to bubblegum cards, there are also other types of memorabilia to check out including old tickets, dolls and coins.
EA Sports NHL18 / PS4 Game Kiosks Zone
Just like the sport itself, hockey gaming has also evolved over the years and just like the Power Glove changed how Super Mario Bros. was played, the Slapshot Hockey Stick is the latest innovation in video gaming. You can try using it against your friends in the game zone. There are four gaming stations which allow eight players to play at once.
Tissot World of Hockey Zone
With the World Juniors recently wrapping up, it’s the perfect time to learn more about the tournament’s history. At approximately 6000 square feet, the Tissot World of Hockey Zone is the largest exhibit in the Hockey Hall of Fame and its tribute to the game on an international sphere features histories and material from all 69 International Ice Hockey Federation member countries.
The exhibit features the IIHF Hall of Fame and International Legends (a tribute to the careers of nearly 200 international players), the Triple Gold Club (honouring individuals who have won Olympic Gold, World Championship Gold and the Stanley Cup) and the Top 100 Moments in International Hockey. This is highlighted by the 2010 Olympic Golden Goal display featuring Sidney Crosby’s stick, gloves, and puck from when the Pittsburgh Penguins star scored the winning overtime goal against the U.S. on February 28, 2010 at the Olympic Games in Vancouver. The stick and gloves went missing during the post-game celebration but were eventually found with the stick inadvertently being placed in a shipment heading to Russia and the gloves found in teammate Patrice Bergeron’s equipment bag.
Esso Great Hall featuring NHL Trophies, and Lord Stanley’s Vault
Considered to be the Hall’s crown jewel, the Esso Great Hall features portraits and biographical sketches of each of the 366 Hall of Fame inductees. In addition, the Hall houses all of the major NHL trophies including the Vezina, Hart, Calder and (of course) the Stanley Cup.
If you are planning on visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame from out of town, there are special packages available and special rates for groups of 15 or more. If you’re a local Toronto visitor, general admission prices range from $14 – $20 and kids under 3 get in for free.
Open 362 days a year, the hours for the 2018 – 2019 Season are as follows:
(Excluding Christmas and March Breaks)
Monday to Friday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday: 10:30 am – 6:00 pm
Christmas Break Extended Hours
(December 22, 2018 – January 6, 2019)
Monday to Saturday: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
March Break Extended Hours
(March 11, 2019 – March 15, 2019)
Monday to Saturday: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm