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Priceless Paradise: Free Things To Do in Toronto in Summer

Free Things To Do in Toronto in Summer

Priceless Paradise: Free Things To Do in Toronto in Summer

Summer is Toronto’s official season for loads of fun under the blistering heat of the sun. As a peak tourist season, expect the city to be teeming with pricey activities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun for free.

Whether you’re touring the city on a budget or just a bored local, buckle up and get your notepad ready as we show you the best free summer activities in Toronto. 

Priceless Paradise: Free Things To Do in Toronto in Summer

1. Visit the butterflies at Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat 

Website: https://www.toronto.ca

Address: 100 Humber Bay Park Rd W, Etobicoke, ON M8V 3X7, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-396-7378

Operating hours: Open 24 Hours

Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat is one of Toronto’s hidden gems. It’s home to three charming gardens, each having unique features, from native wildflower meadows to spruce shrubs. 

The main star of the show is the Home Garden, where you’ll be welcomed into a rave of different butterflies flying from one flower to another.

Pro tip:

If you’re having a hard time identifying the butterflies, check the butterfly portrait books around the park. They have beautiful imagery and describe the differences between each species.  

2. Explore Toronto Island 

Website: https://www.torontoisland.com/ 

Address: Toronto Island Park, Toronto, ON, Canada

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM

If you’re looking for an alluring greenspace that is fit for fun activities and sightseeing, then look no further than the magical Toronto Island. Its lush flora, beautiful trails, and vast spaces are perfect for picnics and dates with your loved ones.

You can bike along the waters and catch a captivating view of the cityscape that you can’t get anywhere else. Surrounded by beautiful wildlife and nature, the island’s trails are perfect for unwinding and going on a scenic adventure. 

That isn’t all that makes the island special, as it’s also packed with interesting historical landmarks. The Gibraltar lighthouse is a perfect example of this, as sunlight enhances its red brick facade during the day.  

Pro tip:

For scenic pictures that will get you likes on Instagram, visit the west of Centre Island Terminal on Toronto Island. This place offers a sweeping view of the cityscape – and it’s even better during sunset. 

3. Enjoy a film at Christie Pits Park

Website: https://www.topictureshow.com/cpff 

Address: 750 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G 3K4, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-338-4386

Operating hours: Sunday: 6:00 PM onwards

Film buffs, get your popcorn and soda ready for an amazing night of thrilling adventures at Christie Pits Park! Every Sunday over summer, the annual Christie Pits Film Festival hosts a free movie night that’ll surely keep you on the edge of your seat.

With a riveting lineup of comedy, drama, romance, and horror films, it’s the perfect event for a fun movie date with your partner. Expect the latest blockbusters of the year and some cult classics like Back to the Future. 

And don’t worry about rushing to the best seats in the house, as you can sit anywhere you want. 

Pro tip:

After the movies are over, you can head to the basketball court and watch some late-night pick-up matches. There are always people pulling off crazy moves and putting on an entertaining game.

4. Vibe out to some tunes at Summer Music in the Garden

Website: https://harbourfrontcentre.com 

Address: 479 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5V 3M8, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-973-4000

If movie nights aren’t your cup of tea, then a night of exciting musical performances at the Summer Music in the Garden event will get you grooving to the beat and drums of some upbeat tunes. 

Featuring a dynamic roster of bands and artists, you’ll hear everything from harmonious jazz to synth-heavy rock – ensuring there’s something for everyone. It’s a great place to sit back and relax after a long day of walking around in the summer heat. 

Pro tip:

Before you leave, snap a shot of the towering willow tree in the music garden. The tree sits perfectly in the middle of the park and its droopy leaves flow with the wind. 

5. Take a dip at Cherry Beach

Website: https://www.toronto.ca 

Address: Cherry Beach, Toronto, ON, Canada

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 5:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Cherry Beach is our go-to spot for a dip by the lake during the extremely hot days of the summer. The beach is known for its relaxing atmosphere, where locals come to have barbecues, swim, and sunbathe. 

Its cold and shallow waters make it a great place for a family outing or a beach trip with friends. There are also lots of trails in the area where you can go for a walk after swimming. 

Pro tip:

If you’re not keen on swimming, you can enjoy watching kayaks and canoes paddle along the river. It’s a relaxing activity that can clear your mind and make for a fun round of “I Spy” with kids.

Website: https://ago.ca/ 

Address: 317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-979-6648

Operating hours: 

  • Monday: 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM 
  • Tuesday and Thursday: 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM 
  • Wednesday and Friday: 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday to Sunday: 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Looking to explore the beautiful art of the city on a budget? Good news: admission to the Art Gallery of Ontario is free on Wednesday nights!

Home to a whopping 95,000 artworks, you can admire everything from impressionist paintings to abstract art and intricate sculptures that’ll have you feeling like an honorary art connoisseur in no time.  

It’s not just the art that’s remarkable, as the gallery’s wooden floors and cosy lighting create a warm ambience that sets the mood for a contemplative art escape. 

Pro tip:

Check out the Moko Jumbie sculpture. This sculpture looks like a creature from Star Wars, depicting a creature with a human face for a body with pastel-coloured leaves surrounding it. 

7. Immerse yourself in art at ROM

Website: https://www.rom.on.ca/en 

Address: 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-586-8000

Operating hours: 

  • Monday: Closed 
  • Tuesday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM 

Speaking of art on a budget, The Royal Ontario Museum is free to explore every Tuesday night year-round. 

Housing 13 million artefacts and 40 unique galleries, you can take your time soaking up knowledge at the museum’s interesting displays. Whether you’re into dinosaur fossils, huge meteorites, or century-old weapons, something here will surely pique your interest.

Pro tip:

One artefact you don’t want to miss is the mummies. That’s right, there are real creepy mummified bodies in the museum!

8. Observe the critters at High Park Zoo

Website: https://www.highparkzoo.ca/ 

Address: 1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-396-7378

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

High Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in North America and it’s home to animals that you can’t find in other zoos around Toronto. Although the zoo is quite small, it’s one of the best places to visit during the summer with friends or family. 

The zoo houses a variety of animal species like reindeer, bison, and cute capybaras from South America. There are also several birds in the zoo like the emu and the captivating peacocks with huge colourful patterned feathers.  

Pro tip:

Don’t forget to pet and feed the llamas. The zoo has a llama pen where you can hang around with cute llamas and possibly make a new friend. 

9. Have a stroll around High Park

Website: https://www.highparktoronto.com/ 

Address: 1873 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6R 2Z3, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-338-0338

Operating hours: Open 24 Hours

Aside from its zoo, High Park is a great place to go for a walk while taking in the beautiful nature of Toronto. Home to an array of vibrant flora and fauna, the park is a popular recreational area that is lively throughout the day. 

Amidst the beautiful flowers, you can find the iconic Colborne Lodge and several sculptures to marvel at as you go for a stroll. You can also enjoy fantastic live performances at the amphitheatre if you get tired of walking. 

Pro tip:

If the summer heat is too much for you, you can cool off or relive your childhood memories at the park’s splash pad.

10. Take some photos of the art under The Bentway

Website: http://www.oregonmaritimemuseum.org 

Address: 50 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3K9, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-304-0222

Operating hours: 

  • Monday and Sunday: Closed 
  • Tuesday to Saturday: 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM 

For a taste of vibrant street art, head beneath the Gardiner Bridge to The Bentway, where creativity knows no curfew. This trendy underpass is your passport to a world of fresh art exhibits, courtesy of local artists. 

The exhibits here regularly change, so each visit is like unwrapping a surprise birthday gift that can either be a vibrant sculpture or a bold painting. You can observe captivating art and groove to concerts all under the Gardiner Expressway’s cool shade.

Pro tip:

Aside from art, the Bentway is also a popular skateboard spot where you can watch skaters shred and do awesome tricks. 

11. Explore Toronto’s Ravines

Address: Toronto, ON, Canada

When people talk about Toronto’s best green spaces they often forget about the city’s beautiful ravines which are great for exploring! The city is home to an extensive ravine system that acts as a green haven for anyone trying to shade themselves from the sun. 

As home to the world’s largest ravine systems, there are lots of opportunities to have fun exploring picturesque ravines packed with lush greens. One of our favourites is Nordheimer Ravine for its giant tree-lined paths and vibrant TTC exit painted in murals.

Pro tip:

Looking for an awesome ravine to go fishing in? Visit the High Park Western Ravine, where you can catch decent-sized catfish.

12. Go for a hike at the Scarborough Bluffs

Website: https://www.toronto.ca 

Address: Scarborough Bluffs Park, Toronto, ON, Canada

Scarborough Bluffs is a great escape from the bustling city during the summer. It’s home to an abundance of parks, wildlife, and trails that offer stunning vistas of the cityscape. 

The vibrant meadows and tall trees surrounding the trails in the Bluffs make hiking here a lovely experience. Wildlife like ergets can be seen resting on trees along paths which can often lead to peaceful bird-watching spots with one-of-a-kind views. 

A striking fact about the Bluffs is that it’s home to 11 unique parks, such as Bluffer’s Park, where you can even find a sandy white beach. 

Pro tip:

For one of the best vistas of Lake Ontario, visit Scarboro Crescent Park. We suggest visiting here during sunrise, as the sky seemingly transitions from dark to bright orange. 

13. Have a picnic at Trinity Bellwoods Park

Website: https://www.toronto.ca 

Address: 790 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G3, Canada

Contact details: +1 416-338-2614

Operating hours: Open 24 Hours

Trinity Bellwoods Park is the largest park in the downtown core and it’s a popular place to chill among locals. With vast open spaces and beautiful walkways surrounded by greenery, the park has garnered a reputation as a great picnic spot.

The park is canopied by towering trees, which provide a cool atmosphere and numerous shaded areas to set up a picnic spot. You can also get amazing views of the CN Tower from the park, which can make for some great Instagram pics.

Pro tip:

One of the best things about Trinity Bellwoods Park is that dogs are allowed here. We love taking goofy pics of our dogs with the CN Tower in the backdrop during our picnics. 

14. Enjoy Pedestrian Sundays at Kensington Market

Website: http://www.kensington-market.ca/ 

Address: Kensington Market, Old Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Contact details: [email protected]

Kensington Market is one of the most vibrant markets worth exploring, but it’s often crowded. Thankfully, when summer struts into town, Pedestrian Sundays and its crazy festivities come with it.

During this event, roads are closed to provide more space for vendors and one of the city’s biggest street festivals. The event has eccentric street entertainment, such as acrobatic dancers and live musical performances that will get you dancing. 

There is also an abundance of food stalls and vendors selling colourful clothing that can add spice to your outfit. Public art displays also line the streets of the market, adding more life and excitement to the vibrant event. 

Pro tip:

After walking around the market, you can take a break at Sonya’s Parkette. This small park is a great place to relax and its walls are painted with vibrant graffiti that you can admire. 

15. Vibe out to music at the Toronto Caribbean Carnival

Website: https://www.torontocarnival.ca/ 

Address: 12 Cranfield Rd. Suite 210, Toronto, Ontario

Contact details: (416) 391-5608

Toronto’s Caribbean Festival is a vibrant festival that celebrates the culture of the city’s Afro-Caribbean community. Filled with colourful costumes, smoke, and upbeat music, the festival is a great place to have fun and vibe out for free. 

Every summer, the festival fills the city of Toronto with Jumpy Reggae music, calypso, rap, upbeat salsa music, and much more. Aromatic scents also fill the air as Caribbean vendors cook up some flavourful dishes that will leave your mouth watering.  

Among the attractions here, you can immerse yourself in Caribbean heritage and culture by admiring various art exhibits. Likewise, you can experience the same culture by watching dancers in loud costumes shake their hips to the samba. 

Pro tip:

If music and dancing aren’t entertaining enough for you, watch the Restaurant Awards. This exciting event will keep you on edge, as restaurants compete and show off their best dishes.