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12 Things to KNOW Before Visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame

12 Things to KNOW Before Visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame

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It’s no secret that Canadians love hockey, and after visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, you’ll totally understand why. 

Whether you’re already a hockey fan or want to learn more about the sport, the Hockey Hall of Fame is so much fun. In fact, it’s one of our top things to do in Toronto! There are lots of interactive games and activities, you’ll feel like you’re at a life-sized arcade. You can even take a photo with the famous Stanley Cup!

It’s especially great for families, but honestly, we think people of all ages will love the chance to unleash their inner big kid – we certainly did. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the Hockey Hall of Fame so much, but it’s definitely one of the best tours in Toronto!

If you’re keen to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame, we’ve got some tips and “hat”-tricks to make sure that your visit goes as smoothly as possible. This guide contains everything you need to know before visiting, from what to see to how to minimize your time waiting in line.

1. About the Hockey Hall of Fame

Esso Great Hall at the Hockey Hall of Fame in toronto
Esso Great Hall!
Bailey poses with a statue at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada
The place is huge!

While there are some truly epic ways to experience Toronto, like taking a bike tour, visiting the CN Tower, or even joining a day trip to Niagara Falls, we can’t forget the hold hockey has on this city!

The Hockey Hall of Fame is a one-stop shop for all things hockey-related. It’s home to both the original and current versions of the iconic Stanley Cup, which is the National Hockey League (NHL) championship trophy. There are also tons of exhibits about teams and players, and lots of interactive activities to try out.

Today, the Hockey Hall of Fame is housed in an old bank in downtown Toronto. It was originally established in 1943 in Kingston. However, there were funding issues and the NHL withdrew its support for the original Hockey Hall of Fame, establishing a new one in Toronto in 1958. It then moved into the former Bank of Montreal building in 1993, and now attracts over 300,000 visitors per year. Not bad!

The Hockey Hall of Fame is home to hockey memorabilia from teams and games all over the world. It gives you a chance to experience all different sides of the game, from visiting a replica dressing room for the Montreal Canadiens, going head-to-head against VR versions of NHL legends, and trying out your skills as a sports presenter.

Basically, if you like hockey, we know you’ll have a blast here!

2. Where is the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto? 

legends area inside the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
In downtown Toronto!

The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in downtown Toronto. It’s inside the former Bank of Montreal, which sits on the corner of Yonge and Front Streets.

Union Station is a 10-minute walk away, and the closest Metro station is King Street. You can take Line 1 – Yonge University to King Street, and then it’s a 5-minute walk to the Hockey Hall of Fame from there. It’s also within walking distance of popular Toronto attractions like the St. Lawrence Market and the CN Tower

Related Read: New York City is only a short trip from Toronto, so while you’re nearby, plan to visit the Empire State Building or take a scenic helicopter flight to get the best views!

3. How much does it cost to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Conner McDavid display in the Hockey Hall of Fame
Conner!
Daniel walks the displays inside the Hockey Hall of Fame in Canada
I loved the Hockey Hall of Fame!

Visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame is actually one of the cheapest things to do in Toronto.

Admission tickets can be purchased online for $25 CAD for adults, $20 CAD for seniors, and $15 CAD for kids ages 4-13. Children 3 and under can also enter for free! 

To me, that’s really affordable when you consider the activities available inside and the sheer size of the displays. You’ll spend at least two hours here, if not more, so it really is an affordable way to spend an afternoon in Toronto.

4. Do you need to purchase tickets in advance? 

Daniel walks the road to the top display inside the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
There is so much to see!

It’s definitely best to buy your tickets in advance.

Technically, you don’t need to as you can buy tickets at the entrance, but it adds so much extra wait time. There’s often a line to pay for tickets, especially if you visit during a busy time, but if you buy yours in advance then you can just walk right in without queuing.

We were so glad that we got our tickets online, as it was so much more convenient and didn’t cost any extra! 

5. When is the best time to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame? 

An old display of a historical player of the NHL inside the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
The hall celebrates all players both new and old!
Oilers display of their 5 championships in 7 years achievement
The Oilers!

The Hockey Hall of Fame is super popular and can get very busy, with lines forming at lots of the games and attractions. For that reason, we recommend going first thing in the morning, especially if you’re visiting with kids.

It opens at 10 am, so arrive as close to then as you can to beat the crowds. If you can adjust your schedule to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame on a weekday, that will also help reduce the number of people.

With that being said, if your focus is more on the exhibits and you’re not worried about playing any of the games, then pretty much any time is good. It’s a great indoor activity, which is ideal for a rainy day activity in Toronto or during the cold winters!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, read our complete Viator review to learn more about what we think about Viator.

6. When is the Toronto Hockey Hall of Fame open?

Bailey looks at a display inside the Hockey Hall of Fame in Canada
Even Bailey enjoyed her visit!

The Hockey Hall of Fame is open from 10 am until 5 pm for most of the year. During the summer in Toronto, as well as Christmas and March break, it closes an hour later at 6 pm.

The only days of the year that the Hockey Hall of Fame closes are Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Induction Day in mid-November. 

Related Read: If you’re continuing your East Coast journey, be sure to stop by Washington D.C.! We loved taking a Washing D.C. River Cruise and found it to be the perfect addition to our travels.

7. What are the highlights of the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Goodyear Shootout

Goodyear Shootout at the Hockey hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada
It’s harder than it looks!
A man plays Goodyear Shootout at the Hockey hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada
Not many people got goals!

Ever wondered how you’d fare in a hockey shootout against the pros? Well, the Goodyear Shootout game is your chance to finally find out.

You use a real stick and pucks to play against life-sized virtual versions of legendary goaltenders and see if you can beat them! You can even download and share a video of your game afterward for bragging rights if you do well. It’s so much fun and such a unique experience (albeit slightly humbling…).

Pepsi Zero Sugar Shut Out

A kid in hockey goaly gear plays Pepsi Zero Sugar Shut Out at the Toronto Hockey Hall of Fame in Canada
The pucks come from different holes in the wall!

The Pepsi Zero Sugar Shut Out game puts you on the opposite side to the Goodyear Shootout, as this time you get to be the goalie! You will face off against virtual versions of hockey legends like Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid to put your skills to the test and see whether or not you can make it in the NHL. 

TSN/RDS Broadcast Zone

TSNRDS Broadcast Zone at the Toronto Hockey hall of Fame
You can pretend to report on hockey!

You don’t just get to try your hand at being a player at the Hockey Hall of Fame. At the Broadcast Zone, you get to practice being a sports anchor! 

You can head onto the TSN studio replica set and use a teleprompter to deliver the latest hockey news, and even download and share your clip with family and friends afterward. You can also enter the Broadcast Pods and choose a legendary hockey clip, then have a go at calling the play. It’s a cool way to get your 15 minutes of fame! 

NHLPA Game Time

This is an awesome model rink where you can play hockey against life-sized, animated versions of the greatest NHL players around today. The rink even has a video scoreboard presenting live coverage of your game and it’s a blast to play if you’re a long-time hockey player or have never put on skates. Don’t miss this if you’ve always secretly thought you’ve got what it takes to go pro! 

Lord Stanley’s Vault

The vault inside the Esso Great Hall at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
Entrance to Lord Stanley’s Vault!

One of our favorite things about our visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame was seeing Lord Stanley’s Vault! It’s inside the Esso Great Hall, and this is where you’ll find the original Stanley Cup, which is the biggest trophy in hockey. 

The cup was donated to Canada by Lord Stanley of Preston in 1892. Lord Stanley was the Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893 and he was also one of the original inductees of the Hockey Hall of Fame! 

The original cup was used until 1962 and then retired. It was replaced by a second Stanley Cup, which is the version that’s still used today! 

You can take a picture with the current cup on your phone like we did, or you can have a professional photo taken. This is a great way to commemorate your visit if you’re a devoted hockey fan.

Esso Great Hall 

Esso Great Hall at the Hockey hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada
Esso Great Hall at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada

The Esso Great Hall is where you’ll find tons of portraits and sketches of honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s also home to all of the major NHL trophies, including the Stanley Cup in Lord Stanley’s Vault.

This is one of the most impressive and extensive collections of sports silverware in the world, so this is a real highlight of touring the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Mask 

The entrance to The Mask area inside the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
This was cool!
A mask at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
Yep, that’s what they used!

Not to be confused with the Jim Carrey movie, The Mask, this is an exhibit that chronicles the evolution of the hockey goalie mask.

There are more than 90 masks on display from iconic players and matches throughout history, including ones worn by Hall of Fame members like Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden, and Grant Fuhr, to name but a few. You can also watch an animation that tells the story of over 150 goalies and the meaning behind their masks. 

Canadiens Dressing Room 

Canadiens Dressing Room inside the Hockey hall of Fame in Toronto
So cool!

The Montreal Canadiens are one of the most famous NHL teams around and you can go and check out a replica of their former dressing room at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

This dressing room was the backdrop for 23 Stanley Cup wins between 1924 and 1996, so it’s super inspirational. There are also player stalls commemorating many of the greats who brought home victories during those years.

8. How long do you need to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto? 

Vintage hockey area inside the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
Now that’s old!
A photographer takes photos of people with the Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
Professional photos are available!

We would say around two hours is enough time. We recommend getting there at 10 am and then staying until noon so that you can beat the crowds and have a chance to play all of the fun games we just talked about. 

With that said, you could easily spend longer than two hours here if you’re a true hockey lover and want to read and look at absolutely everything, and there is a ton to see here! You might be here longer if you’re visiting with kids, too, as they’ll want to play every single one of the games! 

9. Is the Hockey Hall of Fame suitable for children?

Display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
If you love hockey, this is for you!

Yes, absolutely. Any hockey fan will love it, regardless of age, but it’s especially fantastic for kids because of all the interactive games on offer. In fact, kids will love it even if they’re not into hockey. This place is really for hockey fans and kids, so it’s a great activity for families visiting Toronto.  

10. Is the original and current Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame? 

The Stanley cup inside the Esso Great Hall 
Current Stanley Cup!
The original Stanley Cup in Lord Stanley’s Vault at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Canada
The original Stanley Cup is in Lord Stanley’s Vault at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Canada.

Yes, they can both be found in Lord Stanley’s Vault in the Esso Great Hall. You can check out the original cup and you’re allowed to pose with and take photos of the current Stanley Cup.

You can take a photo yourself for free, but there is a professional photographer on hand if you want a high-quality photograph taken for you to commemorate the experience. It costs $10 CAD per photo, and you get one print and a digital copy. 

Related Read: After taking in tons of hockey history, head to the Toronto Distillery District for a drink or to check out the cool shops and restaurants.

11. Is the Hockey Hall of Fame wheelchair friendly?

A group of masks inside the Hockey Hall of Fame
Some famous masks!
Women's trophies inside the Hockey Hall of fame in Toronto
Women’s Hockey!

Yes, it is. All areas of the Hockey Hall of Fame are wheelchair friendly. There is an elevator next to the Esso Great Hall that wheelchair users can use to get from floor to floor, and there is one wheelchair available to borrow for free on a first-come, first-served basis. Wheelchair users who need extra assistance can also have a support person accompany them for free. 

12. Is the Hockey Hall of Fame worth it? 

The gift shop inside the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto
The gift shop inside the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto

Yes, we loved it! The games were so cool and the exhibits were super interesting – we especially loved the chance to see the Stanley Cup in person. I would definitely recommend a visit even if you’re only vaguely interested in the sport. It’s perfect for families, too!

We’re only minor hockey fans, but we still had such a great time here. The Edmonton Oilers are who I cheer for when it comes to hockey, so if you’re ever visiting Edmonton, you should try to catch a game!

Other Things to do While You’re in Toronto

Daniel poes for a photo at the front of the boat on the Hornblower Cruise in Niagara Falls
The cruise at Niagara Falls is a blast!
The front of the St Lawrence Market in Toronto
St Lawrence Market is the place to go for food in Toronto!

Toronto is a city filled with tons of things to do and see. So before (or after!) your time at the Hockey Hall of Fame, take some time to explore some of the other top attractions and activities:

  • Watch a hockey game – Now that you’ve learned the entire history of hockey, it’s time to see a game! If you’re visiting from October to mid-April, you’ll catch hockey season. While I’m a diehard Oilers fan, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the home team here and the atmosphere is a lot of fun. Tickets range from $150 – $350 CAD and you can buy tickets on Viator.
  • Check out the view from the CN Tower -The tallest building in the city and all of Canada, heading up the CN Tower is a must! The main observation deck is on the 33rd floor and if you’re feeling brave, there’s a glass floor or the Edgewalk that takes you outside to walk high above Toronto!
  • Eat great food! – With so many different cultures and restaurants, Toronto is a foodie heaven! Miku Toronto is considered the best sushi restaurant in the city with a big outdoor patio and a happy hour (3-4 pm) with great discounts. Food tours in Toronto are also popular and we enjoyed this walking food tour to help us try a variety of tasty dishes from butter tarts to pierogies to maple syrup and the chance to explore the iconic St. Lawrence Market.
  • Go sailing – For a unique cruise, climb aboard a 1930s schooner with this Toronto tall ship cruise. You’ll help the crew raise the sails for the journey from Toronto Harbor to Lake Ontario. There are panoramic views to take in and kids love it when the crew fires the ship’s canyon! Tickets are available online for only $43 CAD and are cheaper for kids.

Where to Stay in Toronto

One King West Hotel & Residence
Photo credit: One King West Hotel & Residence

With so much to do and see around Toronto, you’ll need to stay a few nights to take it all in. But let’s face it, Toronto is massive with almost endless hotel options.

You’ll want a hotel with a good location and even better amenities, so with that in mind, I’ve picked out some of the best places to stay in Toronto. All of these hotels have central locations close to the best sights and everything you could want for a comfortable vacation!

If you’re looking for more info about where to stay in Toronto, be sure to read our blog. It includes detailed info on the best area to stay, how to get from the airport to your hotel, and the top hotels!

Fairmont Royal York Hotel (Luxury Stay – $$$)

The Fairmont Royal York Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Toronto. With its historic ballroom, beautiful rooms, and a gorgeous skylit indoor pool, you’ll have to force yourself to leave and explore the city! But once you do, you’re steps from Union Station, so getting around via public transport is really easy. It also means that you can take the train from the airport directly to the hotel! 

The Hockey Hall of Fame is two blocks away, and you’re also about a 20-minute walk from both the waterfront and the Distillery District. Rooms usually start from around $500-$600 CAD per night and you can check availability and book the Fairmont Royal York online here!

The SoHo Hotel (Moderately-priced Boutique Hotel – $$)

The SoHo Hotel is an excellent choice for anybody looking for a centrally located hotel that is just stunning. This hotel is located only a short walk from attractions like the CN Tower, and it also has plenty of nice facilities including a lap pool and fitness center. Oh, and did I mention the rooms have heated bathroom floors?!

Room rates typically range from $300 CAD and up. The SoHo is one of the highest-rated hotels in Toronto, so be sure to book online here well in advance to secure your room.

One King West Hotel and Residences (Moderately-priced Full Apartments – $$)

If you’re looking for a home away from home, then One King West Hotel and Residences might be the best choice for you. Although a hotel, this property features fully self-contained apartments complete with a kitchen. This is perfect if you like to cook some of your own meals. On top of that, the location is ideal and you’ll also find a fitness center and onsite bar and restaurant.

For an entire apartment in Toronto, prices start at about $330 CAD. You can check availability and book online here.

Town Inn Suites Hotel (Budget Hotel – $)

You don’t have to spend a small fortune to stay in Toronto. If you’re on a tighter budget, Town Inn Suites Hotel is the best choice for you. Starting from only $219 CAD per night (in the low season), this centrally located hotel is tastefully decorated and features plenty of amenities. Rooms also feature a kitchenette, which comes in very handy. You can check prices and secure your room online here.

Samesun Toronto (Budget Hostel – $)

The Samesun Toronto is the perfect choice for backpackers or solo travelers wanting to meet others. The hostel has a great location as well as communal spaces (including a huge kitchen) where you can relax. They offer both dorm beds as well as budget private rooms, but bathrooms are all shared.

You can grab a dorm bed for less than $100 CAD per night during peak season. You can book the Samesun Toronto online on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.

One of the best ways to experience Canada is by hitting the road. Some of the best things to do and attractions are located in remote areas between destinations. For that reason, we highly recommend getting your own wheels!

  • Rent a car – To simply rent a vehicle, search on Discover Cars where they compare tons of different rental companies near you. This way you can easily compare prices, features, policies, and more!
  • Rent a campervan or motorhome Motorhome Republic is great for finding a motorhome or campervan to rent in Canada. With your own home on wheels, you can camp in beautiful places and save money on accommodation!

Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!

We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!

SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.

They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.  

We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!

Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie inside the Hockey Hall of Fame in Canada
Thanks for reading!

Visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame is such a fun Toronto experience! If you’re a die-hard hockey fan, you’ll practically have to be dragged out of here, as there is so much to see. And even if you’re not that into hockey, I’d say this is still a worthwhile experience to play around for a while! I was seriously surprised at how much fun I had! 

Hopefully, you found this blog helpful as you plan your trip to Toronto. If you’re going to explore more than just Toronto, check out all of our other blogs about Canada and the USA! Here are some of my favorites below:

12 BEST Tours in Toronto, Canada

12 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting Casa Loma, Toronto

BEST New York City Pass – Comparison of the Best City Passes in NYC