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We’re sure the combination of gift shopping and Black Friday deals has done some significant damage to your wallet, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the best things to do in Toronto this December that won’t cost you a cent!
Head to the Water for the Harbourfront Centre Festival of Cool
The Festival of Cool wraps up Harbourfront Centre’s year-long cultural initiative, Nordic Bridges, with spectacle and celebration. It will feature 10 days of exciting campus programming that focuses on theatre, visual art, music, and community! Plus, they have free programming available to guests where you can see incredible sights!
Where: 235 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON, M5J 2G8.
When: Thursday, December 8th to Sunday, December 18th.
Support Local Creators at the Toronto Black Vegan Holiday Market
Taking place at Artscape Wychwood Barns, The 1st. annual Toronto Black Vegan Holiday Market is an opportunity for you to enjoy festive vegan meals and delicacies with unique African and Caribbean flavours! Cruelty-free gift items for skin care and plant-based health and wellness developed and sold by African/Caribbean entrepreneurs will also be available!
Where: 601 Christie St, Toronto, ON, M6G 4C7.
When: Sunday, December 11th from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Glide Along One of Toronto’s Favourite Trails in The Bentway
This winter, take to the ice on The Bentway Skate Trail’s 220-metre figure-eight loop! Located underneath the Gardiner Expressway, this gorgeous trail is a popular choice where you can enjoy one of Canada’s favourite pastimes, as well as supporting Toronto’s art scene! If you’re brave, The Bentway will host their annual Polar Bear Skate on December 31, inviting adventurous Torontonians to skate the trail in their bathing suits for a refreshing and unconventional winter event!
Where: 250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON, M5V 3K9.
When: From Saturday, December 17th to Monday, February 23rd.
Go Skating at Evergreen Brick Works
Skating is back at the Evergreen Brick Works! Experience the magic of one of the best skating rinks in Toronto, as their skating rink weaves through snow-covered gardens under exposed beams from the roof of the old brick factory.
Where: 550 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON, M4W 3X8.
When: Saturday, December 17th to Sunday, March 5th, 2023
Enjoy Complimentary Admission to the Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the city’s biggest attractions, and offers Complimentary Admission on the third Tuesday of every month! Includes free access to all galleries, plus special exhibitions including Fantastic Beasts™: The Wonder of Nature, Kent Monkman: Being Legendary, and Wildlife Photographer of the Year!
Where: 100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON, M5S 2C6.
When: Tuesday, December 20th.
Kick-off Winter with the Kensington Market Winter Solistice Festival
Celebrate the return to warmth and light in the heart of Kensington Market over the Winter Solstice! On this longest night, thousands of decorated revelers take part, with hand-made emblematic lanterns, tented-theatrical scenarios of shadow play, rooftop masking antics, roving giant puppets, and more, concluding with a Fire Finale in Alexandra Park, and a community feast!
Where: 707 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON, M5T 2W6.
When: Wednesday, December 21st at 6:00 p.m.
Celebrate the Return of the Holiday Fair at Nathan Phillips Square
Holiday Fair in the Square is back! This year, the Fair will be working with the City of Toronto's Cavalcade of Lights to transform Nathan Phillips Square into a magical winter wonderland! This year’s event will combine the charm and elegance of a Christmas market with the excitement of a thriving winter carnival and light show!
Where: 100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON, M5H 2N1.
When: Until Friday, December 23rd.
Price: it’s free!
Celebrate the Holidays with Cloverdale Mall’s Ginger-Snapped Holiday Experience
Cloverdale Mall is adding some sugar and spice to make the holiday season extra nice! Families can capture a sweet moment with Santa inside his life-size Gingerbread House and can pre-register to reserve their spot to meet with St. Nicholas!
Where: 250 The East Mall, Toronto, ON, M9B 3Y8.
When: Until Saturday, December 24th.
Sing Some Merry Merry Music at CF Eaton Centre
The Eaton Centre will be hosting a Merry Merry Music free concert series this Holiday season! In lieu of a Christmas tree, the Eaton Centre will feature a main stage near the Starbucks and MAC and host performances from a variety of Toronto-based artists!
Where: 220 Yonge St, Toronto, ON, M5B 2H1.
When: Until Saturday, December 24th.
Head to the Distillery District for their World Famous Winter Village
The World Famous Winter Village of the Distillery District is back for another year of holiday fun! Be there for the 65+ local merchants, restaurants, and cafés, plus additional seasonal vendors and food cabins! Head there before 4 p.m. and you can get in for free!
Where: 55 Mill St, Toronto, ON, M5A 3C4.
When: Until Saturday, December 31st.
Spend NYE at the Aptly-named Celebration Square in Mississauga
Dance your way into 2023 with the biggest New Year’s Eve celebration in Mississauga at Celebration Square! With live music, tasty food trucks, a fabulous Face Glitter Bar, skating on the City’s largest outdoor rink, fireworks, and so much more, the Square is the place to be for 2023!
Where: 300 City Centre Dr, Mississauga, ON, L5B 3C1.
When: Saturday, December 31st at 9:00 p.m.
Check Out the Holiday Lights in the Downtown Core
Connect with the community and enjoy this holiday season in the Downtown Yonge neighbourhood; stroll through the parks and streets of the area to be delighted by seasonal lighting and holiday displays at Trinity Square, The Hudson’s Bay Windows, College Park, and more!
Where: Multiple locations; visit their website for the full list!
When: Until Saturday, December 31st.
Experience Augmented Reality at The Junction’s Window Wonderland
Toronto’s award-winning immersive urban art walk, Window Wonderland, returns to the Junction for its third consecutive year. The Junction will transform into magical outdoor gallery featuring 20 unique augmented reality (AR) installations thanks to a collaboration with Artivive, an internationally-renowned AR app, and will feature a variety of national and international artists!
Where: 2961 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON, M6P 1Z2.
When: Until Sunday, January 1st.
Watch a house Transform at the De Sario Family Festival of Lights
Every year, the De Sario Family turn their humble abode into a Festival of Lights to raise funds for SickKids and brighten the holidays for their community. It’s free to visit, but donations are strongly encouraged; all their incredibly hard work is for an excellent cause!
Where: 165 Benjamin Boake Trail, North York, ON, M3J 3C5.
When: Until Friday, January 6th.
Make the Drive to Burlington for the Lakeside Festival of Lights
Head to Spencer Smith Park for the Lakeside Festival of Lights! The Festival of Lights illuminates Burlington’s waterfront, and thousands of local residents and visitors from across the region, and beyond, have made it a seasonal tradition to wander through the park with family and friends to view the incredible themed displays!
Where: 1400 Lakeshore Rd, Burlington, ON, L7S 1Y2.
When: Until Sunday, January 8th.
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