by Ashley Pugh -

Guide to Free Activities in Toronto, Canada

Ontario Art Gallery
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Table of Contents


Toronto is thе largеst city in Canada and onе of thе most-visitеd citiеs on thе travеl list. It is locatеd on Lakе Ontario and is a gorgеous city packеd with incrеdiblе scеnеry and city strееts to еxplorе. With big cities comes a plethora of things to do.

The temptations of shopping, nightlife, dining, and other activities may quickly alter your travel budget. However, the city also fascinates visitors with its long list of free activities in Toronto. No matter the season, there is always something budget-friendly to keep you engaged. The best part? This is way more authentic than typical tourist activities.

So, we have curated the top list of free things to do in Toronto that will add a nice balance to your travel itinerary. Keep your Canada tourist visa handy because this blog will nudge you to book that trip.

Cherry Beach

Take a stroll on Cherry Beach

Past the bustling harbour is the Cherry Beach. Cherry Beach offers an excellent escape from the fast pace of our bustling life. As it is located on the outer edge of the harbour, it makes a walkable attraction sight from downtown. The beach is a great spot for peaceful beach walking or sunbathing. But you can also indulge in adventure activities such as stand-up paddle boarding or windsurfing for a cost.

With minimal facilities, Cherry Beach isn’t the busiest beach in Toronto on a warm sunny day. There are washrooms and changing rooms, but you can’t find boardwalk or picnic tables that keep the crowds at bay.

art gallery ontario

Get free admissions at the best museums in Toronto

The Art Gallery in Ontario features ninety-five thousand work pieces. These works were created by esteemed Indigenous, Canadian, and African modern and contemporary artists and photographers. It also includes works by world-famous artists like Peter Paul Rubens and other European artists. While admission is free of cost for guests under the age of 25, those above 25 can still explore the permanent collection for free on Wednesday nights from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is another museum that features complimentary admission on Friday nights after 5:00 p.m. It is always free to visit Market Gallery (St. Lawrence) as the museum highlights the history of Toronto.

Explore Toronto on the PATH

The PATH network of the city allows you to walk and explore many parts of downtown without having to go outside. The actual credit goes to its thirty km of underground walkways and malls. It will take you past all of the best and most popular attractions of downtown, Toronto. This also includes an elevated section between the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre.

In the elevated section, called the SkyWalk, you will witness the city skyline reach above you and the bustling street below. Also, don’t forget to take a look at the artwork and artist profiles along the towering walls of the SkyWalk.

St. Lawrence MarketDiscover the lively St. Lawrence Market

If you love to click photos, this is your stop: head to St. Lawrence Market. This market gives you the most iconic Toronto photos and tons of inspiration for budding street photographers. The St. Lawrence Market has been in operation since the year 1803, so you will find tons of history and stories living in the walls, at the shops and beneath the tents.

The three heritage structures that make up St. Lawrence include a food market, an antique market, and a marketplace with more than one hundred and twenty traders. Don’t miss out on the free exhibits at the gallery upstairs that reflect the history and culture of the city.

Distillery District

Embark on a journey to the Distillery District

The Distillery District of Toronto is a pedestrianized commercial village. It beautifully combines the history with contemporary design, entertainment, and creativity. The village is set among historic buildings consisting of the most widespread and best-preserved collection of Victorian Industrial architectural grounds.

Here, you will find shops, restaurants, and galleries all housed in a collection of restored Victorian buildings. You can simply explore the streets and learn about the history. It is also a great stop for those who love shopping for one-of-a-kind items.

Immerse yourself in the local art scene at The Bentway

The local organisers of Toronto have turned this concrete jungle into a beautiful community art space. Thе Bеntway is locatеd bеnеath thе busiеst highway of thе city, thе Gardinеr Exprеssway. It has lurеd morе than 150,000 pеoplе sincе its opеning in January 2018. Visitors can еxplorе thе spacе and еxpеriеncе frее, yеar-round programming including livе pеrformancеs, public art installations, fеstivals, outdoor rеcrеation, and much morе. It is onе of thе bеst things to do in Toronto.

High ParkEnjoy a day outside at High Park

Although Toronto is packed with several incredible parks, High Park is something that has it all. It is a massive public park located just outside of downtown. The park features everything to make your day spent here worthwhile.

Without shelling a penny at High Park, you can explore the trails, admire the beautiful lush gardens, or you can also bring a picnic lunch. However, you can also find numerous paid activities at High Park such as a trip to the High Park Zoo and free and paid shows at the High Park Amphitheatre. If you want to enjoy a paid meal or breakfast, the Grenadier Café is an excellent option.

Visit the Lighthouse on the Toronto Harbour

The Toronto Harbour Lighthouse is your perfect destination after an entire afternoon of exploring the beautiful waterfront trails of Tommy Thompson Park. This wonderful beacon is situated at the southernmost tip of the park and offers stunning views of the city.

Tommy Thompson Park is an excellent getaway that has several walking trails including a jaunt across the Tommy Thompson Park Floating Bridge. The park has been referred to as the Leslie Street Spit, Aquatic Park and the Eastern Headland. It has a fascinating history with tons of things to do and see.

Tommy Thompson park

Explore culture at the Toronto Harbourfront Centre

The Toronto Harbourfront Centre is a nonprofit cultural organised located along the shores of Lake Ontario, Downtown in Toronto. It is a year-round entertainment complex featuring live music, family activities, food festivals, art exhibitions, and dance shows. It hosts some four thousand events in a year in multipurpose venues!

Start your expedition in the York Quay Centre, there, you will find an art gallery hosting exhibitions from visual to experimental arts to architecture. In the heart of the centre, you will see Canada Square, a modern waterfront square with beautiful public artworks. Finally, take a seat on Lakeside Terrace and enjoy the gorgeous views of Lake Ontario and the Toronto Islands. This is a unique centre and also one of the best things to do in Toronto.

View the old and new City Halls

If you are keen on learning about the history and architecture, you will be rewarded with both in Downtown of the city, where the Old City Hall and New City Hall are located. The Old City Hall reflects the past, which was constructed in the Romanesque architectural style and has an incredible clock tower worth viewing at night. Right next to it is the New Toronto City Hall opened in 1965. It has modern-styled rounded towers and a central dome making it one of the city’s most unique landmarks.


Like any major city in Canada, a trip to Toronto can alter your budget a lot. With the constant distraction of shopping and strolling and enjoying the city life, you will have to face a heavy cut out on your itinerary. On the bright side, these free things to do in Toronto will offer an experience that is unique and costs nothing. So, get your Canada visit visa and plan your trip to create an incredible memory without burning a hole in your pocket.

Ashley Pugh Written by
Ashley Pugh

Ashley Pugh is one of the Co-Founders of and has been committed to writing family related content since 2008. There isn't much about family attractions that Ashley doesn't know, after visiting hundreds of them worldwide over the last 20 years.

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