10 Unique and Free Things to do in Toronto
Toronto, the largest city in Canada, has always been a top travel destination, but many travelers always visit tourist places that cost them an arm and a leg. While going up to the CN Tower and taking a peek of the rays at the aquarium is fun, why do you not consider some unique and free things to do in Toronto that do not cost you anything?
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- Planet Traveler – The Best Hostel in Toronto
- One of the World’s Best Road Trips: Exploring Cape Breton Island
- 7 Best Cheap Places to Eat in Toronto
401 Richmond Street West
401 Richmond Street West is the art and creative hub in downtown Toronto and it has been kept secret for many years. It used to be a factory and has evolved into a work space for artists. Here, a number of art galleries and exhibitions are under the same roof but present in different mediums. Apart from cool galleries and museums, there is a design shop, a courtyard, a small museum featuring music instruments, and a swift bookstore. The coffee shop on the first floor has become my favorite place to work on my blog, and they offer scrumptious mushroom soup.
Cherry Blossom at High Park
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, High Park is your place. It spans over 160 hectares and has countless walking trails, a beautiful waterfront, picnic areas, bike lanes, nature areas, an off-leash dog park, and a children’s playground. High Park is home to Sakura cherry trees where the full blossom in May attracts the crowds and photographers. My favorite thing to do in High Park was the afternoon walk at Grenadier Pond, where I saw ducks and geese by the lakeside. I enjoyed the tranquility and the green space the park had to offer and nearly forgot that I was in Canada’s largest city.
For more information on Cherry Blossom and other events inside the park, please click here.
Pillow fight on International Pillow Fight Day
On one of the Saturdays in April (TBA for 2019), Nathan Phillips Square, where the city hall is located, turned into a chaotic place where pillows flew, teddy bears were tossed over the air, people swung and screamed, and the music blasted in the background. Here, you can see people bring soft pillows and wait for the signal to start the fight. Everyone was invited to join the fight, and pajamas were welcome.
Walk on Yonge Street
Remedy your itchy feet with a walk on Yonge Street, the longest street in the world. This world’s famous street was named by Ontario’s first lieutenant governor, John Graves Simcoe, for his friend Sir George Yonge, a Roman roads expert. Yonge Street starts from Toronto, bypasses lakes and national parks, and ends at Burton Avenue in Barrie. The famous landmarks Eaton Center, Yonge and Dundas Square and the Hockey Hall of Fame are all located on Yonge Street. It is also a place for hosting parades, performances, free concerts, and street festivals.
Rueda de la Calle
If dance is your passion, Rueda de la Calle is a place to get your dance fix. On Wednesday evenings in the summer, a group from Rueda de la Calle dance outdoors from 7:30 pm to 9 pm at Ryerson. If the weather gets cold, the group will dance indoors. If you can dance Rueda-style salsa, this place is perfect for you. Even you are just a beginner and looking for fun, it is still worth going to meet people and embracing the Latino flair. This is a free dance event and you are guaranteed to sweat and laugh.
Taste of Danforth
Eating Greek food in Toronto does not have to be expensive. If you want to satisfy your taste buds with tons of Greek food in a short space, head to the Taste of Danforth, which is Canada’s largest street festival that takes place in August. The festival is in Greek town right next to the Broadview, Pape and Chester subway station. Countless local vendors serve Gyros that is made to order, a variety of seafood, grilled meat, soft drinks, and alcohol beverages. There are live performance and concerts from 12 pm to 6 pm on three main stages.
Art Gallery of Ontario
If you are a contemporary art lover, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is your style. Featuring the largest collection of Canadian art, this museum has over 90,000 artworks. There is lots of traveling, modern, and permanent art created by local and world-renowned artists, including The Group of Seven, Monet, Henry Moore, Jackson Pollock, and Picasso. The admission is free Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.
Watch free shows and concerts at Dundas Square
Yonge and Dundas Square is an open public space that resembles the Time Square in New York, where free concerts, movies, promotions, and cultural activities take place. Take a look at the Yonge and Dundas Square event calendar for details.
Go to the beach
Woodbine Beach Park at the east side of Toronto is my favorite go-to spot for a relaxing walk. This beach has warm water for swimming in the summer, 90 volleyball courts, a swimming pool, and a boardwalk. It is a quiet place for people to escape the stress of city life. I enjoy my afternoons sitting on the benches on the boardwalk and soaking myself in the winter sun. This beach is pet-friendly so if you have dogs, make sure to bring them.
View the Skyline from Riverdale Park
You do not need to go all the way up to the CN Tower to have an amazing view of the Toronto skyline. Riverdale Park on Broadview Avenue is another place to go for the best view of the city. You can take a stroll at the green space on the foreground and get a different perspective of Toronto.
Toronto does not have any unique places to sleep in for the night, and the hotels can get expensive in the city center. However, it has a few hostels that are worth staying at for a few nights
–Planet Traveler Hostel: I stayed at the Planet Traveler many times. It is a green hostel that is located near the Kensington Market and the street-car station, and it has free breakfast until 1pm. The only downside is that the front desk is only open from 7am to 12pm. For more information about this hostel, you can read my experience here.
–HI-hostel Toronto: Located at the King and Church Street and the front desk runs for 24 hours. The hostel has live concerts and open-mic at night in the bar area and offers free breakfast. However, it can get loud at night especially if your room is at the lower level.
-For detail itineraries and off-the-beaten-path destinations, you can get my Toronto travel guide. All the essential travel information, tips, and the routes are included in this guide, so you can just grab this guide and go without additional research.
-I also purchase travel insurance from World Nomad before I go on any trips to cover unexpected accidents and sickness. I highly recommend it because it is affordable and the service is reliable.
Have you been to Toronto? I would love to hear your thoughts on unique and free things to do in Toronto. I am sure there are plenty!
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