Toronto is one of Canada’s largest and most multi-cultural cities. It’s also a perfect road trip destination for families on the go. This list of free things do to in Toronto will keep your kids busy and your family right on budget.
When heading to Toronto, there are plenty of options for families that take little planning or money. The city is full of amazing parks, beautiful beaches and plenty of activities that your family is going to love. Here is a list of what is free in Canada’s largest city.
1. Ride the TTC for Free
A great tip to get you started is that kids under 12 ride the Toronto Transit System’s subways and streetcars for free. Adults pay $3.25 per ride and weekend passes are available. The system will get you most places you want to go within the downtown core of the city.
2. Hit the Beach
Toronto also has a surprising number of clean and environmentally certified Blue Flag Beaches. The Southern edge of the city rests on Lake Ontario and there are numerous places to hit the beach for free. An added bonus is that admission to both Summerville Pool in the East end of the city and Sunnyside Pool in the West end is free all summer long. Both Olympic size pools are located directly on the beach.
3. Visit the Toronto Islands
While the ferry ride over to the Toronto Islands will cost you a few dollars, admission to the islands is free. The Toronto Islands are the largest car-free urban space in all of North America and residents and visitors alike love to visit. Composed of three separate islands, the space is perfect for families. Signs welcome you to walk on the grass, wading pools and splash pads await and there is even a cute farm to visit. Admission to the farm is also free. Make sure not to miss the free maze that made its triumphant return to Centre Island last summer. It’s impossible to lose your kids in it and a lot of fun.
4. Hit the Parks
Toronto has some incredible parks. The largest, High Park, contains hiking trails, another free pool, and even a free zoo. The newly rebuilt children’s playground is a lot of fun for younger kids. Plan on spending at least half a day exploring all the park has to offer.
Closer to the downtown core, Riverdale Farm is a 7.5 acre park that welcomes kids of all ages. Each day there are various activities and demonstrations for families as well as plenty of farm animals to visit. Admission to the farm is free. The farm is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
5. Spend a Night at the Museum
While kids under 5 are always free at the popular Art Gallery of Ontario located in downtown Toronto, entire families get in free each Wednesday night from 6 to 9pm. Enjoy an early dinner and then head to the AGO to check out this surprisingly kid-friendly museum. Beyond the kids’ gallery, this summer check out the SuperReal Pop Art exhibit. It features a giant floor burger from 1962 as well as work by Andy Warhol.
6. Watch a Movie Under the Stars
Torontonians love to be outside during the summer. This has translated into a series of free movie screenings that happen throughout the summer. Perhaps the coolest is the Sail-In Cinema at Sugar Beach in downtown Toronto where movie goers are invited to bring beach chairs and even pull up boats to enjoy a movie together. Other places to catch free movies include Harbourfront Centre on Wednesday nights and Dundas Square.
7. Visit Jr. Jays Saturday
While the baseball game isn’t free, the Toronto Blue Jays’ much-loved Jr. Jays Saturday celebration is. Saturday games with a 1:07 pm start time are considered Jr. Jays Saturdays and the party starts early with an outdoor celebration from 11am until approximately 12:45pm. There are plenty of bouncy houses, pitching and batting games as well as the chance to hang out with the J Force dancers and Ace and Junior, the Blue Jays mascots. Trust me, your kids won’t even notice you didn’t actually see a baseball game.