Thoughts on the Montreal Museum of Illusions (MOI)

Person inside Vortex Museum of Illusions. Photo Alexandra Montenegro

“Immerse yourself in an intriguing visual, sensory, and educational experience” at the Montreal Museum of Illusions! The MOI offers “all-time classic exhibits” with inventive and thrilling images and installations that are quick to trick the eye. Whether you come alone or with friends, this niche spot promises to amuse, astound, and marvel. Perhaps you will reassess your visual reality after a visit; your world will change upon witnessing varied optical illusions. Be amazed — the museum is more than what you may find, see, or photograph. Inside every room, there is a magical, living, breathing experience with unique displays and attractions.

person standing on ceiling
Museum of Illusions. Photo Alexandra Montenegro

During my visit to the museum, I was mesmerized by the attractions and their originality. From reflecting kaleidoscopes to colourful portals, I was under a spell. Patterns of light, spirals, and geometric shapes hypnotized me. Amid the slight dizziness and confusion, I was pleasantly surprised, happy to venture through a myriad of rooms with a strange giddiness about me. Each time I moved from one room to another, I would discover a new mystery, with plenty of displays full of quirks and surprises. Facial expressions of laughter and astonishment were common among visitors, along with their voiced wows and hows and ah-ha moments when they noticed something even more impressive than they had already seen.

Perhaps what struck me the most during my visit – other than the deceptive pictures and selfies I took with the help of reflecting surfaces and clever designs – was the Vortex, by far the most notable attraction at the museum. With its bright purple spirals always turning and its contrast between light and shadows, anyone walking through its swaying bridge felt they might fall. I was thrilled and excited as I tried not to lose my step while holding onto each side of the shaky bridge. The experience was fun and adrenaline-inducing: I knew there was no danger, I would never fall, but I felt and thought I could. Such comical deception was de mise at the museum.

Other attractions include moving frames, deforming mirrors, or holograms, which often come along with explanations of their inner workings. The exhibition plays with movement and light to create outcomes that mesmerize and puzzle the human eye. Another one of my favourite components at the exhibition featured the movement of an observer’s reflected shadow, which appeared three times on a tall bright wall and showed the hues of the three primary colours, sometimes overlapping, sometimes clearly distinct. Essentially, the Museum of Illusions offers a wide selection of captivating attractions to inquiring visitors who seek an opportunity to learn more about the magic behind optical illusions.

The MOI (Museum of Illusions) is located at at 44 Saint-Antoine Street West. Details about the MOI can be found HERE.