Toronto is a diverse city full of enough sights and sounds to please the senses. It’s sure to be a haven for anyone, whether you’re an artsy guy who loves concerts, art galleries, poetry readings and museums, or an outdoorsy gal who loves going on hikes or exploring the different nooks and crannies of a city. Whatever your interests are, Hogtown has got something for you.
However, Canada’s most populated city is also one of its most expensive, so what’s a person like you to do if you want to maximize its offerings without breaking the bank? Luckily for you, there are a lot of free or cheap things that you can do in Toronto so you can experience what the city has to offer without needing to ask the next guy at the street corner for a loan.
1. Marvel at the Thousands of Shoes on Display at the Bata Shoe Museum
Admission at this museum is pay-what-you-can every Thursday from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. Here you can find over 10,000 shoes from different eras, cultures, and celebrities. Fancy an Egyptian sandal? Or maybe a pair of John Lennon’s shoes? The Bata Shoe Museum has got you covered.
2. Get Lost and Find Your Way Back in the Toronto Island Maze
The only thing you have to pay is the fare for the ferry going to Centre Island, but the admission itself to the maze is free. Pretend that you’re caught in a royal mystery as you wander the labyrinthine twists and turns that consist of 1,200 black cedars. It’s up to you to know what’s waiting for you at the very center.
3. Treat Your Ears to the Canadian Opera Company’s Free Concert Series
Get yourself to the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre every Tuesdays and Thursdays (and sometimes on Wednesdays) at noon, and let yourself soak in the music from world-class performances for free. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes beforehand so you don’t miss a seat.
4. Get Your Skates On in a Public Skating Rink
If you’re visiting or moving to Toronto in the winter, you won’t want to miss the chance to showcase your jumps and spins in one of the many free public skating rinks that dot the city. Take yourself to Natrel Rink, or Christie Pits, or Trinity Bellwoods, or Mel Lastman Square, or High Park. You get the drift. Bring your skates!
5. Satisfy Your History and Architecture Cravings at the Distillery District
This pedestrian-only village once housed the largest distillery in the world, The Gooderham and Worts Distillery, which produced more than 2 million gallons of whisky (!) per year during its heyday. Once you’re in the Distillery District, you can take a stroll on its cobblestone streets and marvel at the well-preserved Victorian-era industrial architecture. You can also pop in on the many restaurants, boutiques, studios and galleries that are unique to this historic district.