tiff events

10 ways to enjoy TIFF for free

TIFF may seem like it's all glitz and glam, but just beneath the surface there's plenty of ways to enjoy the festival for free. From movie screenings on giant screens to free concerts and celebrity chasing, there are some great ways to have fun during the film fest that won't cost you a cent. 

Here are my picks for ways to enjoy TIFF for free this year.

See a flick at the Cinesphere

TIFF is re-opening the Cinesphere at Ontario Place for the duration of the festival and screening some great films. There's Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk on September 10 and the Canadian classic North of Superior on September 17. Most advance tickets are sold out, but rush line tickets are available for each screening. 

Go celeb-spotting

Camp out behind the barricades at a red carpet premiere or in front of one of Toronto's most luxurious hotels (think the Ritz, the Shangri-La, the Four Seasons and the new Bisha) to spot one of the a-listers taking over Toronto.  If you're lucky, you might even get a selfie with your favourite star.

Watch an epic rap battle

In celebration of Eminem's new movie about rap battles, TIFF is hosting an actual rap showdown featuring one of the film's stars and a local rhyme master. Don't miss this free show on Festival Street Thursday, September 7 at 8:30 p.m.

Watch a movie outdoors

Not only does Festival Street host shows, extended patios and some pretty amazing people watching, they're also screening outdoor films like Mean Girls, The Truman Show and Wayne's World for free. 

See some live music

Music will fill King St. West for the first three days of TIFF as the Slaight Music stage hosts artists like Ascot Royals, Jessica Mitchell, Jillea, Kayla Diamond, Liam Russell, and Tomi Swick.

Take a selfie and have fun at Festival Street

Head to King between Spadina and University and get your photo in front of the glowing orange TIFF sign, letting everyone know that not only has Denzel Washington arrived at the festival but so have you and your friends. 

Line up for the People's Choice Award winning movie

The day the festival wraps up, the winner of the People's Choice Award is announced and all you have to do is line up at Roy Thomson Hall on September 17 to watch what might be the biggest film of the year decided right here in Toronto!

Crash a party

TIFF hosts endless invite-only parties, but there are plenty of events you can crash. Just put on your best and walk into the Akon or Jazzy Jeff parties before 11 p.m. and get in for free. There's also the Mongrel House hosting events and parties every single night of the festival. There are plenty of 4 a.m. spots waiting for you to appear as well. 

Catch a vintage Cinematheque screening

This special annual program helps promote landmarks of Canada’s cinematic history and this year they're showing I've Heard The Mermaid's Singing (September 9), Rude (September 11) and Picture of Light September 14), all at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Cinema 4.

Go 4D in a virtual reality room

From September 7-10, step into another world, one curated  by Academy Award winner Brandon Oldenburg as he takes you on a Virtual Reality ride through some of the best immersive experiences in the VR world right now. 

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns


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