Things to Do in Toronto for Free
Of the many things that make Toronto one of the best places to live in is the fact that it’s so diverse that it offers something for every person, even those looking for fun and free activities to enjoy.
No matter who you are, you should visit Toronto at least once in your life because the city is home to globally-known theatres, magnificent parks, historical markets, cultural centers, and lots of other attractions that are open and free for people of all ages, locals and visitors from across the world.
One thing is certain though: Finding the most fun things to do in Toronto for free can be slightly overwhelming given the huge number of attractions that dot this huge city. To make things easier for you, we’ve rounded a selection of five of the best things that won’t cost a thing to enjoy here.
1. Stroll Through St. Lawrence Market
Address: 92-95 Front St. E., Toronto, Ontario M5E 1C4, Canada.
The thought of visiting a market may not sound all too appealing for most people, but if you are in Toronto, St. Lawrence Market is an interesting place to have a wander, especially if you want to get acquainted with a portion of the city’s history and culture and sample the good foods Toronto has to offer.
Until 2015, the complex comprised of two buildings but after redevelopments, it now houses three, namely:
- The North Market – St. Lawrence North Market dates back to 1803. Throughout the years, farmers have been bringing their fresh produce here every Saturday for the populace to buy. On Sundays, antique dealers fill up this side of the market plus the surrounding plaza to display their wares. Admission is free.
- The South Market – The southern part of St. Lawrence market comprises two floors. Both are packed with specialty vendors famous for the freshness and variety of their vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy products, grains, baked foods, and so on. Upstairs, there is a gallery offering free exhibitions with divine pieces highlighting Toronto’s history and culture.
- St. Lawrence Hall – This hall is famed for being Toronto’s first city hall. Here you can expect to see amazing historic architecture with distinctive Corinthian columns built in 1850s. Today, the ground floor houses retail business, the second floor holds the city offices, while the third floor has the great hall, which you can book for your wedding or other special events.
While you are touring both markets, you can grab a cheap lunch and enjoy the outdoor patio. If Pope John Paul II saw it fit to request jam the A-Bisket-A-Basket, a specialty shop in this market, it is likely you will enjoy it too. Not to mention that in 2012, National Geographic listed St. Lawrence as the world’s best food market.
2. Visit The Toronto Harbourfront Center
Address: 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 2G8, Canada
Harbourfront Centre is a non-profitable cultural center located along the shores of Lake Ontario in downtown Toronto. If you fancy, arts, culture, recreation, and education, this is the perfect place for you.
Admission is free and visitors can enjoy the various activities in this expansive center that covers 10 acres. You can take a leisurely walk on the boardwalk as you take in the serene sights of the lake or enjoy the parks. During winter, you can skate on the frozen ice.
In addition to that, there is plenty of arts on exhibit and frequent lectures as well. Also, you can do a bit of shopping and enjoy a meal all within the center.
3. Window Shopping In Yorkville
Even though you might not be on a shopping spree, you will love to take a stroll and experience the finery of this upscale and posh corner of Toronto. The ambiance is lively and upscale and you will love the quaint Victorian architecture peppered with restaurants, galleries, and boutiques.
If you care about art, you will fall in love with the high-end galleries here that represent some of the finest international and Canadian artists.
Walk the famous ‘mink mile’ that features at Yorkville and you might be lucky to spot a celebrity or two. Also, some of the best retailers are featured here, including big brands such as Burberry and Prada as well as Holt Renfrew, the Canadian luxury department store.
4. Experience Farm Tranquility At Riverdale
Address: 201 Winchester St, Toronto, ON M4X 1B8, Canada
Riverdale is a charming farm of about 7 acres located in downtown Toronto that admits visitors for free. It conjures up the 20th-century farm life. If you grew up on a farm, you will know that it is quite a unique and uncomplicated experience.
If you have never experienced a farm, there is more to learn than you can possibly imagine, including exploring over three kilometers of trails and visiting the Riverdale farm. Here you can expect to see workers going about their chores as you wander the grounds and spot all manner of docile farm animals, from sheep, cows, and goats to horses, chicken, and pigs, just to name but a few.
You also have a chance to buy some homemade farm goodies from the farm and briefly learn about the year-round craft programs and handwork in the meeting house.
If you fancy a meal before or after your farm visit, you can head towards Carlton Street, Broadview Avenue, or Parliament Street, all of which are a just short distance from the farm, for nice small restaurants and Bistros.
5. Visit The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
Address: 145 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 4G1, Canada,
Bordered by University Avenue, Queen, Richmond, and York streets, the 2,071-seat Four Seasons Centre for performing arts was built in 2006, specifically for opera and ballet performances.
The architecture is beautiful and the amphitheater is notable for its glass facade that eradicates the usual feeling of isolation from the rest of the world associated with concert halls. While in this concert hall, you can openly see the university avenue through the transparent glass.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays and sometimes Wednesdays at noon or 5:30 pm, concerts take place here. The Canadian Opera Company also offers free lunch hour performances at the same venue. Performances aside, there are plenty of places to visit within the venue before or after enjoying a show or gig.
Other things to do in Toronto for free that are just a stone throw away from the Centre include visiting Chinatown, Eaton Centre, and Queens Park.
Even though there’s a long list of more free stuff to do in Toronto, we believe St. Lawrence Market, Harbourfront Centre, York Ville, Riverdale farm, and Four Seasons Centre are the most popular and greatest places where you might want to begin your exploration from, especially if you love art, history, recreation, or taking nature walks.
Despite the fact that Toronto has been named among the most expensive cities in Canada alongside Vancouver, don’t let that hold you back from sampling the free and fun stuff the city has to offer. And if you are not available on weekdays and at the specified times to visit and enjoy some of the attractions, there’s still more fun free things to do in Toronto, like visiting the green spaces or touring the historical market, both of which are open all week and on weekends.
You can explore the street art and culture anytime as well.
Images attribution: Wikipedia.org