Whether you’re living on a loonie or travelling on a Toonie, Toronto is a city that can be explored and appreciated on any budget. And if you don’t know what a “Loonie” or a “Toonie” is, you’re in need of a visit to Toronto more than we thought.
People from all walks of life flock to Canada’s largest city for culture, entertainment, dining and attractions. While some options are best enjoyed during their peak season, all of the options on our list illustrate why Toronto is the world’s fourth most livable city.
Visit the Art Gallery of Ontario
In Toronto, you can take in over 200 public artworks and monuments throughout the city. But if time and money are becoming a factor and you need to be strategic about soaking up some city culture, look no further than the Art Gallery of Ontario. The AGO includes more than 80,000 pieces dating back to the 1st century. The gallery is massive at 480,000 sq ft and represents one of the largest collections of Canadian art. Best of all, the AGO is free on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 8:30 pm.
Stroll the St. Lawrence Market
With over 8,000 restaurants in the city, there’s plenty of food to choose from in Toronto. Perhaps the most satisfying food you’ll find in the city won’t be in a five-star restaurant, but in one of Canada’s greatest markets. The St. Lawrence Market is comprised of 3 distinct areas and contains over 120 specialty vendors, known for their vast selection and quality of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, baked goods and a Saturday Farmers’ Market. On Sundays, antique dealers fill the North Market and admission to this is free as well.
Take in a movie at TIFF
If all the physical activity from the other attractions on our list has you exhausted, or you’re a movie buff just looking to see something new, you can check out TIFF’S cinematheque free screen series. A world-renowned screening program, the Canadian and international cinema series offers carefully curated programming, director’s retrospectives, experimental cinema and classic films. Be sure to check out the schedule to see what’s on now.
Skating at Nathan Phillips Square
There are more than 50 outdoor skating rinks in Toronto that are open from December to February, but if you only get to visit one, make sure it’s Nathan Phillip Square. Attracting more than 1.5 million visitors every year, this skating rink (turned reflective pool for the summer months) borders New City Hall and the Toronto Eaton Centre, one of Canada’s largest shopping malls. The square itself is a frequent site for art displays, small concerts, and farmers’ markets. It’s free to skate for one and all, and for those who don’t own skates, rentals are available on-site as well, but for a fee.
Walk The Distillery District
Once the largest distillery in the world, the Distillery Historic District is now one of the city’s biggest attractions for tourists, proudly boasting over 40 buildings that show off its stunning Victorian Architecture. A pedestrian-only district, it’s home to over 120 vendors, unique shops, thrift stores, fruit stands and, of course, pubs.
With so many different options to enjoy the city, Toronto has long been a key destination for frugal travellers. Regardless of your idea of fun, there’s something for everyone and best of all, it won’t break the bank.
What’s your favourite free attraction in Toronto?