Ah, October – the awkward transition between summer and winter. Is it too warm for this outfit? Am I going to freeze in this outfit? Should I conform to the overrated fad that is PSLs for the sake of fall? Idk, man. It's not just about pumpkin spice lattes. All we know is that there's a whole list of free things to do this October you can check out below.
1. Canada's Walk of Fame Festival
Celebrate and be proud of Canadian excellence at Canada's Walk of Fame Festival. There'll be a free outdoor street festival featuring dance, comedy, and music acts and happening at Dundas Square from September 29th to October 1st. Check it out, eh? Here's the lineup for October 1st:
12 P.M. – Goodlife Fitness lunchtime workout
12:30 P.M. – Liam Titcomb
1:30 P.M. – Jill Hennessy
5 P.M. – Ill At Will
6 P.M. – Francesco Yates
7 P.M. – Trevor Guthrie
2. Oktoberfest @ Amsterdam Brewhaüs
In celebration of Oktoberfest, Amsterdam BrewHouse will be turning into a Bavarian BrewHaüs. There'll be a Bavarian inspired menu, live entertainment, as well as free tours of the brewery. It's a $2 donation for 4oz pours and all proceeds go towards a local Toronto Food Bank's Thanksgiving drive. Don't forget to dress in your best Lederhosen and Dirndls. The fun is all happening October 2nd to 3rd. Be sure to call ahead to reserve your seat.
Photo cred – Jessica Lam
3. World Poutine Eating Championship @ Yonge-Dundas Square
Remember last year when Smoke’s Poutinerie gave out all that free poutine? Well, it's happening again this year on October 3rd and you better get there early because the line goes on for days. Grab yourself some free poutine, witness the poutine eating competition, enjoy 80's themed activities. There's both an amateur eat-off and a professional eat-off and you will definitely not want to miss any of it. Just try not to get sick while watching them.
4. Nuit Blanche
Although we do enjoy all the amazing art installations (even though we may not get it), we all know it's just an excuse to get drunk and stay out all night on the streets with your friends. This year marks the 10th edition of Nuit Blanche, and there’s going to be over 60 contemporary art projects by Toronto’s art community as well as four curated exhibitions produced by the City of Toronto. It's all happening on October 3rd. Get in touch with your inner artsy side, y'all.
5. T-Dot Fest @ Yonge-Dundas Square
Summer may be over but that doesn't mean the end of outdoor concerts in the city. Karl Wolf and his new band BAE will be headlining T-Dot Fest. Over 30 artists will be performing including JD Era, Gee Wunder, Jay Evans, Fito Blanko, Linda Luztono, Goliath Paw, Carlin James, Jay Evans, Sage Harris, Daniella Watters, the Grant Brotherz, Jasmine Benham, and many more. Enjoy live music all day at this free urban music festival happening right at Dundas Square on October 4th.
6. Walking tours @ High Park
Fall foliage is coming soon to a park near you. You could go on a walk alone, or you could go on a walking tour and learn a thing or two about High Park. October 4th is the "Architecture in the Park" tour and October 18th is the "Autumn Splendour Photo Buff Walk" tour. Each tour is led by a different volunteer scientist, historian, or naturalist, so they really do know and care about their stuff.
7. Nature walks @ Rouge Park
Feel like trying someplace other than High Park? Try Rouge Park. It's filled with historic farms, trees over a century old, meadows, wetlands, and nature-y goodness. They have a whole bunch of themed walks happening all throughout October.
8. Lunchtime Live! @ Yonge-Dundas Square
Can we get a hell yeah for even more free concerts? The last of the Lunchtime Live! concerts are happening this month. Free N Losh is performing October 5th and Say Yes is performing October 12th. If you're a Rye student, maybe check it out on your lunch break?
9. ISO: Student Night @ The Power Plant
Are you a post-secondary art student interested in networking with established artists? Of course you are. Enjoy art, music, food, and performances at Student Night at the Power Plant gallery in the Harbourfront Centre. It's free for all students and it's happening October 6th. It's gonna be dope.
10. TIFF 40: Your Favourites @ TIFF Bell Lightbox
TIFF screened a whole bunch of free outdoor films all summer for their 40th anniversary and they'll be screening the top ten fan favourites from the past 40 years at the Bell Lightbox this fall and winter. The 400 Blows is playing October 6th, An Education October 13th, Mulholland Drive October 20th, and Dead Alive October 31st (a zombie film for Halloween, obvs).
11. Fall Exhibitions @ The Power Plant
Feel like getting in touch with your artsier side? From now until January 3rd, check out the fall exhibitions at the Power Plant gallery in Harbourfront Centre. See Mark Lewis' "Invention", Carlos Amorales' "Black Cloud", Dora García's "I SEE WORDS, I HEAR VOICES", or just check 'em all out because they're cool. Also check out the Food for Thought visual arts exhibitions because food (this ends December 24th).
12. Ultimutts Stunt Dog Show @ Harbourfront Centre
Spend your Thanksgiving watching cute little doggies do cute little stunts. This circus style show features all rescued animals doing incredible tricks that'll make you want to take them all home. See it for yourself October 12th at Harbourfront Centre.
13. Watch Wavelength @ TIFF Bell Lightbox
See something entirely different than a conventional film. Michael Snow's experimental film Wavelength (1967) is basically a 40-minute long zoom into a window over the course of a week. Maybe sing along to "Strawberry Fields Forever" when you hear it. It's playing October 16th. I mean, you could watch it on YouTube, but what would be the fun in that...
14. Waterfront Marathon Exhibition @ Enercare Centre
For all ya health and fitness geeks: even if you're not running in the race, the exhibition is worth visiting if you love running and fitness. There'll be major athletic brands and other exhibitors showing and selling everything from socks to global navigation devices. You can pay a visit October 16th and 17th, right before the actual marathon happening on October 18th.
15. Lightsaber Battle
What time is it? Time to get all geared up for this epic LIGHTSABER BATTLE. It's all happening October 24th at a mysterious location south of Bloor which you can keep checking for on the event page. You can either reserve a lightsaber for $10 or bring your own if you have one at home. We wrote an article all about it.
16. Night of Dread Parade @ Dufferin Grove Park
Adorn yourself in black-and-white and parade your fears away at the Night of Dread Parade. In its 16th year, the Night of Dread gathers people together to wander through the dark streets in the spirit of banishing fears. The parade begins at Dufferin Grove Park and returns to the park for festivities including music, puppets, dancing stilt walkers, and more. It's happening October 24th. It's a free event, but a pay-what-you-can donation is suggested.
17. Watch film reels @ TIFF Bell Lightbox
Ever seen films screened from film reels before? Well, now you can. As part of UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, TIFF is presenting a programme of Canadian film rarities from their collection. Check it out October 27th – it looks pretty legit.
18. Free shows @ The Drake Hotel
In the mood to discover some new music? Head on down to the Drake Hotel on one of their cover free nights and listen to some new artists. The St. Royals are performing October 5th and 19th and The Digs are performing October 22nd and 29th. Live music rules.
Photo cred – Fumiko Kawa
19. Halloween on Church
Unsure of what your Halloween plans are this year? Suit up in your craziest costume and party all night long with thousands of other Torontonians in Church and Wellesley Village. The outdoor street party stretches across three blocks with all the local bars and restaurants taking part as well. It's gonna be a bone-chilling night, man.