16 Free Things to do in Toronto

I would love to make this blog more interactive so please comment with other suggestions of free things to do in Toronto or write a blog about free things to do in your own city and post a link. Thanks!

1. Street art. Toronto has an abundance of highly talented local street artists that have transformed the city into a beautiful, free and inspirational art gallery accessible to all. You can find examples of street art almost anywhere in the city but Kensington market and Queen West are great places to start. Be sure to keep your eyes open and explore the side alleys. Related Post: Toronto Street Art Part 1 IMG_1549
2. Enjoy Toronto’s Harbourfront. The Harbourfront centre organizes many free events, festivals and music concerts throughout the summer months. A particular favourite of mine is the Taiwan festival held in August.TaiwanCheck out the Harbourfront Centre website for more information on events. When you can’t find anything interesting there is always the option of running, cycling or roller-blading along the lake shore.
3. Soak up the atmosphere at one of Toronto’s many festivals. You’ve probably heard of the big ones like Nuit Blanche and Caribana along with numerous parades throughout the year (Pride, Santa Clause, St. Patricks day) but don’t forget about the free events at the smaller ones such as LUMINATO.
4. One of the best ways to enjoy Toronto on a hot summer’s day is at one of many outdoor swimming pools. My top picks are Sunnyside Gus Ryder and High Park but check out this post from Blog TO for more suggestions.
5. Are you a soccer fanatic or do you just want to get some exercise and make some new friends? There are always plenty of pick-up soccer games going on around Toronto. There are free outdoor turf pitches at Bay and Bloor, Front and Spadina and Yonge and St. Clair but they tend to get busy once the warmer weather comes. Like Toronto Soccer Connection on Facebook to stay informed about free pick-up soccer games around the city and meet a great bunch of people.
6. Well Toronto isn’t exactly the Caribbean but it does have some great beaches to explore. Take a trip to Woodbine or Sunnyside beach or if you don’t mind splashing out on a ferry trip to Ward island you won’t be disappointed!
7. Toronto has a multitude of parks and green spaces to explore. Two of the most popular are High Park and Edwards Gardens. Spring and fall are particularly popular times to visit when you can enjoy the cherry blossoms or leaves changing colour.
Related Post: Cherry Blossoms in High Park
IMG_13308. Toronto has a beautiful mix of old and new architecture and a wealth of culturally diverse neighbourhoods means that there is always something new to discover and photograph. If you are new to the city Jane’s Walks are highly recommended. There are also a series of walks offered by the ROM and on May24th-May25th the 15th annual Doors Open Toronto will offer free access to 155 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city. Related Post: Toronto in Black and White

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9. The winter is long and cold in Toronto but Ice skating is one of the best ways to stay active and it’s free if you have your own skates. The rink at Nathan Phillips Square is always very popular and busy so I would highly recommend taking a trip down to the harbourfront especially if you have kids. There is also a small rink outside Ryerson University near Dundas Square that you can use if you have your own skates.
10. If you love your food Toronto is the city for you. The cultural diversity means you can always find something new and interesting to eat. Take the time to explore the food markets at Kensington and St. Lawrence which are full of wonderful fresh products.
11. Toronto’s Skyline is dominated by the CN tower and you can get great view from many places around the city. Check out this article from Blog TO for some suggestions or enjoy the view and a cocktail and Panorama Lounge.

Toronto1Check out this post for some unique views of Toronto’s skyline

12. Here is a recommendation from my dad for those times you are feeling in need of some political stimulation and education. It’s free to attend the legislative assembly of Ontario at Queens Park circle. Follow this link for more details.

13. There are a number of free music concerts that you can attend in Toronto. In the summer months Toronto Music Garden at Spadina and Queens Quay holds a wonderful classical music series. More details here. The Canadian Opera Company also holds a series of free lunchtime concerts at the Four Seasons Centre. 

14. The Art Gallery Ontario (AGO) is free to attend from 6pm to 8.30pm on Wednesday nights. However there are a number of interesting exhibits on at smaller galleries throughout the city. For example there is currently an exhibition by street artist Anser at Hashtag Gallery and earlier in the year Japanese artist Tomori Nagamoto held a highly recommended exhibition called Sweet Art at Art Barrage, Spadina Avenue. Toronto Public Library also offers a pass for free access to the AGO and ROM among other tourist attractions. Find out more details here.

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15. It’s your birthday! Time to celebrate but what can you do for free? From free ice cream at Baskin Robbins to celebrating your birthday at Medieval Times there are a number of free things you can do or get on your birthday. Here is a comprehensive list.

16. Finally if you have young children check out this information on Ontario Early Years Centres. There are a number of free baby clubs held throughout the city. We are taking my daughter to a very fun, interactive and popular baby club where she enjoys interacting with other children, playing with new toys and having music time.

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Please Please Me, 50 Years On

On March 22 1963 The Beatles’ released Please Please Me, their first studio album. Here are some great quotes and art works featuring The Beatles’ to mark the 50 year anniversary.

1. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” -John Lennon

2. “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance.” -John Lennon

3. “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” -John Lennon

4. “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed.” -John Lennon

5. “How do you find America?”
“Turn left at Greenland.” -Ringo Star

Related Post: Happiness – John Lennon

Bouncing Cats

This year Hot Docs, a Canadian international film festival, celebrates 20 years. The event will be held in Toronto, April 25th – May 5th. You can find details of the event and the schedule here. Will you be going? Any recommendations?

I have already featured many of my favourite documentaries including; Waste Land (2010), Pelada (2010), Home (2009) and don’t forget the fabulous street art documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, by Banksy. Here’s another excellent documentary to get you in the mood.

I first watched Bouncing Cats (2010) as part of the Manifesto Festival in Toronto. Bouncing Cats is the inspiring story of one man’s attempt to create a better life for the children of Uganda using the unlikely tool of hip-hop with a focus on b-boy culture and breakdance.

‘Bouncing cats, bouncing cats, baboons and cats.’

Related Post: Waste Land (2010)

Bob Marley

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Bob Marley’s music has brought words of inspiration, respect, freedom and motivation to millions of people.

FAVOURITE QUOTES:

“Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality.”  -Wake Up and Live!

“Some people think great god will come from the sky to take away everything and make everyone feel high but if you know what life is worth you would look for yours on earth.”  -Get Up, Stand Up

“If you know your history, then you would know where you’re coming from. Then you wouldn’t have to ask me, who the heck do I think I am.” -Buffalo solider

DID YOU KNOW?

Bob Marley was injured in a politically motivated shooting but he performed in concert just two days later.

Related Post: Bruce Lee the Artist