We've Always Been Passionate about Fossils and Minerals
1984 marks Fossil Realm's humble beginnings. At the time, Jim Lovisek and his wife Elizabeth Komisar (educators who met while working at the Royal Ontario Museum) founded the Toronto Nature Centre, a hands-on science camp with a popular fossil and mineral gift shop. The shop was a beloved addition to the camp's enriched learning environment. Thousands of young naturalists and their parents fell in love with the Toronto Nature Centre and Liz and Jim's fossils and minerals were alway a big hit at the gift shop - providing educational fossils and minerals was always a joy!
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 for its rare and one-of-a-kind fossils from all over the world.
The business expanded in 2002 with Peter's involvement - Liz and Jim's son. At this time, Fossil Realm was officially incarnated as an online supplier through eBay. Jim's extensive knowledge and background as a research scientist (biologist) and museum worker was always appreciated by customers; and, coupled with great customer service and communication, led to Fossil Realm's warm reception from avid collectors and institutions worldwide.
Online success with eBay prompted a shift in focus to an international audience, and, in 2012, FossilRealm.com was launched - a full fledged e-commerce store specializing in high-quality, authentic fossils, minerals and natural history specimens. Now, Fossil Realm is both a leader in the online world and in Canada. The sprawling collection is stocked in two warehouses at 60 Basaltic Rd., in Vaughan, Ontario (just north of Toronto). One of the warehouses (Unit 18) is set up as a showroom. About four times a year we have sales here and also can arrange private viewings.
Fossil Realm remains a family owned and operated business with one goal: to offer world class, expertly-selected fossils and minerals at fair prices!
Experience and Expertise
- Fossil Realm is a family owned and operated business based in Toronto, Canada with over 30 years of experience in commercial paleontology.
- We are the authoritative source of authentic fossils and minerals in the province of Ontario, as well as an established leader in the online world.
- Our carefully selected fossils and minerals are sought after by avid collectors worldwide and our breathtaking display specimens end up in museums.
- We select our fossils and minerals based on a rigorous and scientifically informed process. Our reputable fossil suppliers are well known to us and respected in the industry.
- Fossil Realm is a highly trusted online source. Since 2002, we have received hundreds of positive reviews through eBay and have received praise from numerous collectors, enthusiasts and newcomers alike through FossilRealm.com since 2012. See our Testimonials page or eBay seller feedback.
- We have consistently received glowing feedback about our outstanding customer service, timely shipping, careful packing and incredible fossils and minerals.
- Our passion for fossils and minerals is endless and it's what fuels our search for rare and amazing specimens!
- We aim to share our longtime passion for natural history by providing numerous inspirational pieces to the general public - many of them rare, beautiful and of museum quality!
- A wide selection of high quality, affordable fossils and minerals complements our high-end, premium specimens.
- We couldn't be happier that we've ignited passion in newcomers, young and old, with these great pieces, whether they be a small trilobite, fossil fish, or pyrite cube.
- FossilRealm.com has grown into a top-ranked website by putting the desires of its customers first. All specimens are honestly represented with realistic photography and detailed, accurate information.
- We stand by our specimens, their source / provenance and are completely transparent about anything that may have been done to them, whether it is basic preparation, repair or restoration.
- We advocate ethical collecting practices and are committed to the legal trade of fossils.
- We are a proud member of the AAPS, the Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences, which promotes "ethical collecting practices and cooperative liaisons with researchers, instructors, curators and exhibit managers in the paleontological academic and museum community."
Jim Lovisek, co-owner/operator
The best way to get to know Jim Lovisek is to chat with him about fossils and minerals. When it comes to Life and Earth Science, Jim's enthusiasm is unmatched and his knowledge is expansive.
Jim's passion about nature, combined with an adventurous entrepreneurial spirit, has coloured his professional life. In addition to a decades-long involvement in commercial paleontology, he has worked as a research scientist (biologist), educator, nature camp director, and animal trainer for the film industry.
After graduating from university, Jim eagerly embarked on a journey to the Amazon jungle. In Leticia, Colombia his fieldwork concerned the endangered Amazonian manatee. Later, his research focus shifted to the population biology and ecology of Caiman Yacare, a crocodilian in a remote region of the lowlands of Bolivia. Up until that point, very little was known about this elusive species.
Upon returning from the Amazon, Jim worked at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto in the Ichthyology and Herpetology Department (Fish, Reptiles and Amphibians). During his 5 years at the museum, he was involved in many research projects, including a Mayan archaeological dig in Lamanai, Belize.
Educating the public has been a high priority for Jim. For 16 years he co-directed the Toronto Nature Centre summer children’s camp with his wife, Liz. During this time he also presented hundreds of hands-on wildlife programs to children and adults across Canada.
In the early 1980s, Jim, and his wife Liz, began selling fossils and minerals at the Toronto Nature Centre gift shop. A dedicated retail location was opened soon afterwards on Avenue Road in mid-town Toronto, and, from this point forward, Jim delved into commercial paleontology.
Since 2002, with the help of his son (and eventual business partner) Peter, he has reached collectors and enthusiasts worldwide through online sales. Now, the burgeoning Fossil Realm collection is housed in Vaughan, Ontario (just north of Toronto).
For over 30 years, Jim has also worked as a professional animal wrangler for the film industry. He has trained and handled a wide range of creatures, from spiders and snakes, to hawks, macaws and reindeer. His work can be seen in major Hollywood films and Imax productions.
Jim enjoys nothing better than spending days in the field searching for fossils and minerals.
Peter Lovisek, co-owner/operator
Peter is an avid marathon runner and proud "fossil geek." Learning about science and nature has been a lifelong passion for him. At the University of Toronto he studied biological psychology and anthropology; however, his academic interests are far-reaching and include evolutionary biology, the philosophy of science, as well as art history.
Some of Peter's best memories are of the countless family outings to collect fossils or prospect for minerals. His love of fossils and minerals further developed while attending his parents' summer camp, the Toronto Nature Centre - first as a camper, and then as an instructor.
Peter continues to be captivated by these fields and is committed to educating people about paleontology and geology. Recently, he developed hands-on workshops for elementary schoolchildren on fossils and human evolution. Through these initiatives, and because of Fossil Realm, he has been able to share the awe that he once experienced as a child when he first held a fossil. Coming into close contact with a remnant of prehistoric life...millions of years old...is an experience like no other!
Peter is also an active member of the Royal Ontario Museum's Young Patrons' Circle - a philanthropic organization that supports the ROM's exhibitions, educational initiatives, research and expeditions.
Above all, Peter hopes to share his wonderment and appreciation for natural history with as many people as possible.