The History of Fossil Realm
1984 marks Fossil Realm's humble beginnings. At the time, Jim Lovisek and his wife Liz Komisar had founded the Toronto Nature Centre, a hands-on science camp that quickly developed a thriving fossil and mineral gift shop. The camp was a dream come true for the two passionate educators who met while working at the Royal Ontario Museum (Jim was a research associate in the Ichthyology and Herpetology department and Liz was the museum's media relations director). For 16 years, the camp was a wild success and the gift shop eventually blossomed into a full-time store on Avenue Road, in mid-town Toronto. The store was a magnet for collectors across Ontario and it was widely recognized as a hotspot for rare and scientifically interesting fossils, minerals and other natural history specimens.
A family business: Peter and Jim Lovisek pose with a large Sclerocephalus amphibian skeleton, now exhibited at the CosmoCaixa science museum in Barcelona, Spain.
Carrying on the spirit of his parents’ company, Peter Lovisek founded Fossil Realm in 2002. At the time, he saw an opportunity to reach collectors around the world through online platforms, like eBay. After a decade of success on eBay, he launched FossilRealm.com. Over the next five years, the company operated on the web and offline: a showroom in Concord, north of Toronto became a local highlight, and numerous specimens were exhibited at trade shows across Ontario.
In 2017, Fossil Realm emerged as an online natural history gallery (the decision was made to operate exclusively online). By this time, the collection was home to a wealth of significant fossil specimens from iconic localities: the Green River Formation, Bearpaw Formatiom, Holzmaden Shale, Solnhofen Limestone and many other renowned sites.
Peter Lovisek exhibiting at the Bancroft Rockhound Gemboree (2013).
Inside the Fossil Realm showroom in Concord, Ontario (2015). Located in a 2000 square foot warehouse, it was open to the public several times a year from 2012 to 2017.
Fossil Realm’s entry into natural history consulting can be traced to 2018. That year, Peter Lovisek began offering an advisory service catered to high net worth individuals seeking to invest in natural history objects and gemstones. In the following year, he began to provide valuations and assessments, as well as other services centred on his specialized industry knowledge, including a collection building programme.
Peter Lovisek poses with "E.T." - a famous Camarasaurus skeleton on disaplay at the Aathal Dinosaur Museum near Zurich, Switzerland.
Now, in 2023, Fossil Realm is the premiere online natural history gallery. To date, the company has sold a number significant specimens to a wide range of clientele, including major museums, distinguished private collectors and savvy investors. Highlights include "Willard" - the largest Triceratops skeleton on record, a Jurassic crocodile over 13 feet long, a complete pterosaur skeleton, a vivid blue mammoth tusk, a rooted T. rex tooth, a lunar meteorite (Moon rock) weighing 7525 grams, and many other astonishing pieces.
The Fossil Realm Collection is primarily housed in two facilities in Ontario: one in the Toronto Area and the other in Ottawa.
"Willard" is the world's largest Triceratops skeleton on record and among the most extraordinary items sold by Fossil Realm.