Into the world of Vikings


As Torontonians settle into the new year, some may take time to look back into the past. The Royal Ontario Museum is the perfect place to step into history with a special show dedicated to Vikings. 

Vikings: The Exhibition opened in November and will run until April. It allowing visitors to see historic Viking artifacts as well as learn about who they were as a people.

When people think about Vikings they may think of large, scary looking men, with long flowing beards, covered in armour and wearing a helmet with horns. However, the exhibit shows that there was much more to Viking life than just raiding and wars.

Through the many artifacts shown in the exhibit, one can see that the Vikings were people who farmed and had communities. They lived in large longhouses made of wood and would usually live in large clans.

“I found it very interesting that most of the stereotypes like the horned helmets weren’t actually real,” said Sheila Muliyil, 50. “The beliefs they had were also really fun for me to learn about since I’m a huge fan of different religions.”

Most of the artifacts on display were used for worship. Vikings believed in Norse mythology and would make items from nature to honour gods such as Thor, Freya and Odin.

The exhibit also features interactive elements, such as a digital map of Yggdrasil, the world tree in Norse mythology. An audio tour is available, detailing every major aspect of the exhibit.

Kevin Phan, a 22-year-old University of Toronto student, went on the audio tour. “It was pretty cool walking around being able to just listen to facts without having to read them,” Phan said. “It was just a more interesting way to enjoy the experience I feel.”

The exhibit also has special events planned throughout the holiday season. These include live reenactments as well as a kid friendly area to sit, eat and listen about Vikings from a live speaker.

Finally, the part of the exhibit which usually gets the most attention from the younger patrons is the gift shop. Everything available is Viking-themed, including sweaters made to look like fur covered armour and cups shaped like horns for drinking mead.

“It was a really great way to spend the day,” Muliyil said. “I definitely will want to see it a second time before it’s over.”