If you’re new here, Creating Really Awesome Free Trips is a series that is happening every Thursday and some Tuesdays this summer on C.R.A.F.T. Today is an extra special installment because it is our 3rd international location in the series! In case your super curious, Curacao Island and London, England are the other 2 international cities!
Hi there! I’m Cyn from Creative Cynchronicity, where I like to find the fun and creativity in every day and then share it with you. I just love this Creating Really Awesome Free Trips series and was so excited when Jamie welcomed me in as a part of it. I live in London, Ontario about 2 hours west of Toronto, a city I just love so I want to share some great free things to do there!
We spend quite a bit of time in Toronto. It’s a big city but has many unique neighborhoods that add so much character to it. Toronto is a vibrant, exciting city for adults and children alike and has so many great activities to offer everyone. You want good music? Great food? The arts? Fun nightlife? History? You name it, Toronto has it and that includes these fantastic freebies!
1. Riverdale Farm is… well, just that – a farm! It’s located right in downtown Toronto and shows visitors what an early 20th century working farm would be like. Wander around the 7 acre space and check out the cows, horses, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens and other farm animals. You might even get to see the farm workers as they feed and care for the animals. Nearby is Cabbagetown, a gorgeous neighborhood that claims one of the largest areas of preserved Victorian houses in all of North America as well as Forsythia Kids’ Playground – both a short walk from Riverdale.
2. The Distillery District is a charming village in downtown Toronto open only to pedestrians. This area boasts beautiful heritage buildings and truly unique stores and galleries – in fact, no chains or franchises are allowed. In June, it’s home to the Distillery Blues Festival. Head to the Distillery Visitor Centre where you can find tours of the area. Other parts of town I love to wander through are the various ethnic neighborhoods such as Chinatown and Little Italy.
3. The St. Lawrence Market just can’t be missed. I’ll never forget the first time I was there as a child – I got so freaked out by the ducks and chickens hanging in the Chinese grocery store’s window that I ran away screaming. But as the foodie in me developed, I realized the charm and the deliciousness that is the St. Lawrence Market. There are two parts to the market. One has 50+ vendors including butchers, green grocers, cheesemongers, bakeries, and more! The other is used on Saturdays as a local farmers’ market. Check out the fresh baked Portuguese buns and butter tarts – yum yum!
4. High Park This park has so much to offer! There’s a fantastic children’s playground (just rebuilt in 2012 following a fire), plenty of picnic areas, off leash dog park, waterfront walking trails, areas for sports such as tennis courts, baseball diamonds, and soccer fields, a mini zoo, and some of the most beautiful gardens you’ll ever see. Hard to believe all of this is FREE!
5. AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario): On Wednesday nights from 6-830 pm you can access the Art Gallery of Ontario without paying any admission fee at all! With collections from around the world including European masters, the Group of Seven, and my favorite pieces there, the ones from Paul Peel (an artist from London, Ontario where I live), you’re sure to find something to please every art lover.
6. The first one is the Toronto Public Library. Not only do they often have a huge variety of fun events, but if you are a local area resident, you can borrow one of their family passes once every few months. These passes cover the entrance fees for you and your family to get into such attractions as Black Creek Pioneer Village, the Toronto Zoo, Ontario Science Centre, the Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma and more!
7. Another option that isn’t free but certainly is a good bargain (especially if you’re not a resident and don’t qualify for the library passes) is a Toronto CityPass. With this pass, you can save over 40% on some of Toronto’s major attractions like the CN Tower, Toronto Zoo, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Casa Loma, and the Ontario Science Centre. For only$62.12 for adults and $36.87 for children you get admission to all five of these attractions! If you’re planning to really see all the highlights in the city, this is the best deal around!