Written by Alex Arsenych and Brandon Burnett, Infographic by Brandon Burnett, Interactive map by Alex Arsenych
Having fun in the city can be hard on the wallet. Many people aren’t going out as much as they used to because they can’t afford it. Especially when they live in Toronto, one of the top ten most expensive cities to live in.
The after-tax median income for a Canadian family was $78,400 in 2016. The average expenses for a Canadian household in the same year were $84,489, an uncomfortable move into the red.
On top of that, students have it even worse. Assuming they work over the weekend during their studies, for 8 hours a shift, their annual income before tax in 2019 is $11,648. This makes the $3,935 spent on recreation much worse, especially if the student is independent.
So what is there to do? In a near-unaffordable city like Toronto, in the dead of a cold snap-laden Winter, can someone find entertainment at no price?
The answer is yes – yes, you can!
We found 45 free events and places to hit up this winter season that will get you out of the house without breaking the bank.
There will never be a dull moment during this blustery cold winter! Though there’s nothing wrong with some Netflix and chill, we’ll be dragging ourselves out of bed for these five events:
Caribbean Street Food Festival
Ralph Thornton Community Centre, 765 Queen St. East, Toronto, ON
Everyone loves free stuff, and everyone loves a good bite to eat. The Caribbean Street Food Festival has you covered for both, allowing you to taste a variety of Caribbean flavours for none of the cost! Running March 16, this is one event you’ll want to keep in mind.
Snowshoes and Snow-Clues
Chinguacousy Ski Chalet, 9050 Bramalea Rd., Brampton, ON
And for those who love to explore the beauty of nature, look no further than Snowshoes and Snow-Clues. A 3km nature hike, the event is based around beginner and enthusiast sightseers alike. Snowshoes will be provided, and the hike will take place with or without snow on Feb. 18 at 1:30 PM. Be sure to try and spot animal tracks!
Community Sundays at MOCA
158 Sterling Rd., Toronto, ON
Toronto is filled with several art galleries that have free admission days for attendees, but the Museum of Contemporary Art is the newest one to hit the scene! Every Sunday starting Feb. 24 will be free admission for all who come visit. Be sure to check out the late Chantal Akerman’s exhibit film exhibit that’s kicking off on Valentine’s Day. Or, check out their ongoing Light Therapy room to ease your winter blues.
Really Really Free Market
Campbell Park Clubhouse, 225 Campbell Ave., Toronto, ON
This name may make you question if this market really is free, but we assure you it is. You can take what you need, and can bring items that you want to give away (but only if you want to, this market isn’t like Bunz where you swap goods!) Check out what they’ve got this Saturday, Feb. 2.
Bonfire and Winter Lights Festival
Ontario Place, 955 Lakeshore Blvd W., Toronto, ON
There are two events happening at this waterfront spot! You can warm up by their bonfire (and roast s’mores if you so desire!) Or, light up your night at their Winter Lights Festival. There is plenty of time to check these out, as both go on until Mar. 17 – just keep in mind that the bonfires only happen on weekends.
Be sure to click the markers on our map for more information on the other free events happening this season!