We all know that saying about how all the free things in life are special, but when you’re in a city like Toronto, it’s hard to actually, you know, live by it. With all the classy, high-end bars to the even classier stores on the rich person zone of the Eaton Centre, Toronto can be quite the expensive city - though we have a solution to that.
From free museum admissions to a no-cost movie night under the stars, here’s a list of 12 things to do in Toronto while you’re waiting for your next paycheque.
Get Lost in the Elegance of Yorkville-Bloor
I know, I know - the word Yorkville is the last thing you’d think of when it comes to free things, but touring the streets of this chic neighbourhood is something worth a lot more than the accessories in the expensive shops.
Attend An Event in Yonge-Dundas Square
You probably recognize this place from every Toronto-shot film that pretends to be set in New York City, but Yonge-Dundas Square has a lot more to offer than that. In this square, there's always something to do: attend a free concert, watch a free movie, or even to just use their free Wi-Fi.
Visit The Animals at Riverdale Farm
Sorry, no room for a corny Riverdale joke here. This Cabbagetown gem is a 3-hectare farm filled with animals and wooded areas that will make you forget you’re still in the hustle and bustle of the city.
Find Your Artistic Side At Ryerson Image Centre
Exquisite architecture. Paintings that make you think. Thanks to the continuing support from Ryerson University, the admission to this innovative gallery is absolutely free.
Go Dancing on the Pier at the Harbourfront Centre
This summer dance series just recently kicked off their 7th season, but don’t expect to be the only amateur in the crowd. Every Thursday night, people come gather at the Harbourfront Centre for free live music and and the occasional embarrassing display of dance moves.
Embark On A Free Walking Tour Of The City
Led by the people of Tour Guys, you can embark on a free, private trek of the city with one of their five different routes: Downtown Toronto, Old Town History, Graffiti Queen St. West, Toronto Waterfront, and the Toronto Ghost tour.
Attend A Free Yoga Lesson In Trillium Park
Trillium Park hosts free yoga classes every Saturday and Sunday until the end of August, and if you think that sounds good now, it’s about to get even better. On the last Saturday of every month, the yoga classes are joined by Zen dogs. You heard me. Dogs.
Experience New Culture in Kensington Market
Not just a place for insta-worthy graffiti, Kensington Market is a diverse neighbourhood that is designed for exploring. You can browse through their colourful stores, go people watching, or - if you’re still broke and hungry - score some free food samplers.
Go Window Shopping In The Distillery District
When I walk into those knick-knack stores in the Distillery District, I do it mostly to gawk at them. Located in a Victorian-era industrial square, browsing through these quirky shops come at no cost (unless, you know, you actually want to get something).
Have A Picnic In High Park
The only cost to a picnic in High Park is the fee you pay for someone to carry around your basket of food, but if you can get past that (or carry it yourself) then an afternoon in this public field has no charge at all.
Escape The City At Cherry Beach
There’s something about Cherry Beach that makes it a top destination for Toronto locals, but I’m thinking it’s the fact that it’s mostly populated by dogs. Yeah, that’s probably it.
Watch A Movie Under The Stars
The city hosts a bunch of free movies during the summer, but it’s the outdoor venues that make it special. From David Pecaut Square to Downsview Park, a movie night under the stars is the priceless experience.