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Discover 25 free things to do in Toronto

I don’t think I’m telling you anything by saying that Toronto is an expensive city. I talked about it in my video on the cost of living in Toronto in 2024. In this article, I’ve compiled a list of free things to do in Toronto to ease your wallet!

Before going any further, don’t forget to follow me on Youtube (I post 2 videos a week, on Instagram and to subscribe to the newsletter!

Free museums in Toronto

As in many cities, Toronto’s museums offer free admission on certain days. You’ll find the full list in this article. There’s plenty for you to do, as there are several in addition to the well-known ones.

Explore the PATH

I don’t know if I should say explore or get lost in the PATH. p is what? It’s over 30 kilometers of underground city. Yes, you read that right: you can walk under the city in Toronto. Very practical when it’s cold, snowy or rainy. But you still have to find your way through this labyrinth! Keep your eyes peeled for art everywhere and references to Toronto’s history in every corner!

Allen Gardens

Here’s one of the free things to do in Toronto that will take you on a journey: visit the Allen Gardens botanical garden. Because of renovations, not everything is accessible at the moment, but it’s a place I really like.

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Visit the Legislative Assembly of Ontario

I loved visiting this building and finding out what goes on inside. You can learn why one part of the building is made of wood, another of marble. You can visit the rooms where decisions are made. And the best part? They even offer tours in French! More info on their website.

Visit Osgoode’s Great Library

You’ve probably passed this beautiful building near the Eaton Centre and wondered what it was all about. Osgoode Hall is home to the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Divisional Court of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Law Society of Upper Canada. Inside, the Great Library is open to the public. The building is as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. Be sure to check the opening hours here before you go.

Take a free guided tour of the city

A great way to discover the city is to take part in one of the local tours. There are several, and I’ve listed some free ones, you can always tip at the end if you enjoyed the tour and want to support them!

  • La Société d’Histoire de Toronto – check their Instagram to know about their next visits.
  • Toronto Greeters – Enjoy a free local guide to visit Toronto.

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Watch a movie outdoors

Obviously, this is a summer-only activity. But it’s a free thing to do in Toronto that’s really cool. You can enjoy it in many of the city’s parks. I’ll let you consult the schedules for summer 2024 here. Remember to take a plaid, a picnic and a little wool. Make yourself at home, but enjoy the beautiful summer evenings.

Harbourfront Centre

Harboufront Centre always has plenty of free stuff to offer Toronto. This summer they’re offering almost a dozen free movies including Clueless, Forest Gump and Barbie. See details here. You can also attend free concerts by the lake, here are the details. On top of all that, you can also learn to dance all summer long with their Dancing on the Square program every Wednesday evening. And, of course, The Power House gallery with its free exhibitions. I already told you about it in my article on what to do in Toronto when it rains.

Stackt Market

Stackt Market has free things to do in Toronto all year round! It’s the biggest container market in North America, with vendors changing several times a year. There are always brands taking advantage of the space to promote with free pop ups and workshops.

Playing sports on the city’s sports fields

Toronto has plenty of free sports fields throughout the city. You can find the full list on the city’s website here. In winter, you can enjoy skating rinks all over the city. Here’s everything you need to know before you go. You can also enjoy tennis courts, baseball fields, volleyball courts, Frisbee courts, and even gyms in the parks! Take the opportunity to try out new activities for free.

Swimming pools

You can enjoy outdoor and indoor pools throughout Toronto for free. Depending on the time of day and the day you go, they’ll be more or less lively. The one in High Park and the one at Woodbine Beach are really cool!

Discover murals across the city

You may have noticed that there’s a lot of art on Toronto’s walls. Most famously Graffity Alley. But there’s art all over the city. The city even has a program called Street Art Toronto to support artists. They can apply to paint something in the city (a wall, cover an electrical box or a mailbox). You can prepare your exploration by consulting the Street Art Toronto map here and learn more about the significance of each work.

Explore Toronto’s parks

Contrary to popular belief, Toronto isn’t just a city full of concrete. We have plenty of parks, large and small, to explore. In some you can simply sit back, have a picnic or read a book. In others you can explore, walk or cycle. Let me know if I should write an article about my favorite parks!

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Scarborough Bluffs

One of the most amazing places in the city and one of the free things to do in Toronto: discover the Scaborough Cliffs. If you go there on a really sunny day, the water is an incredible blue. Find out more about Scaborough Bluffs here.

Guild Park & Garden

Once you’re in the area, take the opportunity to explore this very surprising corner of the city. This park is a place where art and nature meet. You’ll find bits and pieces of downtown Toronto buildings saved from demolition in the ’50s. You’ll even find a “Greek” theater created by the family who owned the place at the time. They created it from pieces of the old Toronto Bank building in 1982 to celebrate the park’s 50th anniversary. The pieces originally stood on King and Bay. The building was demolished to make way for the black TD bank towers we know today. In this article you’ll find photos of the original location of each piece. Find out more here.

You can even attend plays and events during the summer.

The historic site of Fort York

If you’d like to learn more about Toronto’s past, head to the Fort York historic site for a free tour. This is where the British, First Nations and Canadians fought against the Americans in 1812, who wanted to conquer Toronto. Free guided tours are also available. Please note opening days and times. More details here.

Spend the day at the beach

Yes, you can go to the beach in Toronto. In fact, I also like to go in winter when it’s snowing or very cold. I took you there in a vlog last year. I think it’s beautiful too. But let’s talk about summer options for now. You have several beaches all along Lake Ontario. As for the parks, let me know if you want a list of my favorite beaches in Toronto. I’d be happy to share them with you on the blog.

Take photos of the CN Tower

Try to take as many photos of the CN Tower as possible from different angles. The tower is so tall that you can see it from almost anywhere. On the other hand, it changes very quickly with all the new buildings going up every year! I’ll give you a helping hand with the 8 best spots to photograph the CN Tower.

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Visit the University of Toronto

This is one of my favorite places in Toronto. You might recognize it even if you’ve never been there. Simply because the University of Toronto is regularly used as a film location for movies and TV series. Like The Hulk, Robocop and Mean Girls, for example. You can browse the campus, even go inside the buildings to discover the university’s interior. Yes, you’re allowed inside, as long as you respect the premises and don’t talk too loudly so as not to disturb the classes.

I’ve found guided tours here by students. It’s aimed more at future students, but you can contact them to see if it’s possible for you to join in.

Visit the incredible Thomas Fisher Library

This library is located on the campus of the University of Toronto. It’s a rare-book library renowned for its style and the beauty of its surroundings! To get in for free, you’ll need a library card! More info here.

Attend the taping of a TV program

Want a behind-the-scenes look at a show? Several shows are filmed every day in Toronto. The good news is that you can be there! But be sure to book ahead and give them several possible dates.

Riverdale Farm

Need a little nature in downtown Toronto? Head for Riverdale Farm. Located in the beautiful historic district of Cabbagetown, you can get there on foot, by bike or by public transport. You can picnic on site and some days they even have events to enjoy farm life. More info here.

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Discover 2 Banksy pieces in the streets of Toronto

Yes, you read that right. Banksy came to Toronto in 2015 to promote his documentary. During his stay he took the opportunity to express his creativity in several Toronto locations. Unfortunately, many of his works have since been destroyed (you can find them here). You can still see one that is accessible to the public (if you live in Toronto, you may already have passed by without realizing it). The piece is protected and visible next to the Winners at 1 York, next to Union Station.

The second is at the intersection of Church and Esplanade, on the north/west corner. It is protected by Plexiglas. I went to check it out after writing this article. It’s amazing how often I pass by tomorrow without paying any attention!

Visit Toronto’s first post office

You can visit the museum free of charge to learn more about the history of the Post Office in Toronto. But it’s not just a museum, it’s still a working post office. Here you can send mail with a postmark, just like in the old days. During the Christmas season, there’s even a special box for sending letters to Santa!

Exploring Toronto’s public art

We all walk past it without even paying attention, but there’s a lot of public art in Toronto. Temporary or permanent, there’s plenty to explore. It might give you an excuse to explore some of the neighborhoods you’re less familiar with. There’s a map on the City of Toronto website to help you locate them. But also to learn more about their history and the context surrounding the work.

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If you’re looking for more things to do in Toronto, you can also read my article on what to do in summer in Toronto, what to do in winter in Toronto, what to do when it rains in Toronto or my favorite coffe shops in Toronto to recharge your batteries while you’re out and about.

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