Where to watch free movies in Toronto
Free movies in Toronto are not limited to the summer months. While, yes, there are plenty of outdoor screens just waiting for your camping chair in July, there are several venues around the city offering free flicks all year round. Granted, you'll likely have to look elsewhere if you're keen on the latest horrid Jennifer Lopez rom-com, but if you're into classic films, new documentaries, or indie flicks, you might want to check out some of these spots. So for winter, rainy weather, or when you're just trying to save a buck, here are a few places to watch free movies in Toronto.
Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave (416.946.7066)
Innis Town Hall is a bona-fide cinema (and not just a classroom with a projector screen) at the University of Toronto. The theatre regularly offers free (or almost free) screenings of all sorts of films, including free Friday flicks throughout the semester operated by the Cinema Studies Student Union. An inexpensive opportunity to reignite your love affair with Butch Cassidy...
NFB Mediatheque, 150 John St (416.973.3012)
The National Film Board indeed has a whole library of films you can watch online, but those who actually like to get out of the house can experience some for free at its John Street facility until September, when it is sadly set to be scaled back due to federal funding cuts. For now, the Mediatheque runs a weekly "Free Favourites at Four" screening, whereby Leonard Cohen documentaries, Timothy Findley profiles, and journeys back to the travels of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh can be enjoyed without paying the cost of admission. Wednesday afternoons.
Camera Bar, 1028 Queen St W (416.530.0011)
A free movie option for the working nine-to-five-ers, with screenings of flicks new and old every Saturday afternoon. The 3 p.m. lineup includes everything from contemporary documentaries to classic black and white films, with room for a cozy group of 50 people.
Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St (416.395.5577)
Enjoy them before they're deemed too expensive! The Toronto Reference Library runs a regular "Afternoon at the Movies" event in its Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium generally once a month. Hosted on Tuesday afternoons, the selections form a curious combination of movies including Chocolat, An Education, and Il Postino. Whatever — they're free.
Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle (416.978.2452)
Those who can stomach a little activism might want to saunter over to Hart House at the University of Toronto. Its "Student Engagement" community is always running some sort of film screening series, which, at present, features a collection of films about social justice at home and abroad. Screening are free and are usually followed by a group discussion (or else, patrons quietly trying to slip out the back exit during credits). Check out the Hart House website for an updated schedule.
TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St W (416.599.TIFF)
There are all sorts of ways to drop a whole lot of cash during a trip to the Lightbox, but the facility also offers free movies occasionally on special schedules. Family Day weekend offers a good chance to catch some free flicks, as well as ongoing opportunities to view the latest in independent cinema at TIFF's Free Screen. This spring's Free Screen features will include the works of Jan Peacock and Lewis Klahr, among others.
No One Writes to the Colonel, 460 College St (416.928.6777)
For the short film-lover and he who enjoys a pint with his film fix. No One Writes to the Colonel hosts weekly "Short & Sweet" evenings featuring the latest in short film, animation, and music videos. While it doesn't exactly offer the "theatre" experience, the event does manage to seduce many of Toronto's film buffs to the corner of College and Bathurst. Hosted each Monday starting at 8 p.m.
Photo by Scott Snider