Free events in Toronto: June 16-22, 2014
Free events in Toronto this week will likely reach their peak for the whole year thanks to Pride, NXNE, and the summer solstice. Free food at BBQs, free parties, and massive free concerts at Yonge and Dundas Square are raining down on the city - you're a sucker if you pay for anything in June (just kidding, paying for stuff is great if you can swing it). From pen pal clubs to art openings to barista / sommelier competitions, there's something here to get you out in the sun, no matter how depressed about your finances you are.
Here's how to have the best summer ever for free for Toronto this week.
Free concerts at YDS are back. This year from June 19-22 you can see St. Vincent, Spoon, Sleigh Bells, Swans, and way more. Check out our preview of highlights for this year, and (most importantly) our guide to staying sane at Y&DS. More importantly, here are all the other free events at NXNE - from free park shows to Sonic Boom in-stores to comedy shows to record swaps. Until June 22.
Author Readings and Reception - 2014 Trillium Book Award Finalists
If you want to hear readings by the Trillium finalists, register here and arrive early. Monday, June 16, 6:30pm, Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street).
Fan Fiction performers Jason Donovan, Tim MacLean, Ari Leask, Jeff Clark will tell stories about "video games, dating, Star Wars and everything in between." Monday, June 16, 9:30pm, Black Swan (154 Danforth, 2nd Floor).
RIC Lecture: Zanele Muholi
Zanele Muholi will speak about her Faces and Phases exhibition at Ryerson Image Centre, on for World Pride June 18 - August 24. Muholi using art as an activist tool for LGBTI rights in South Africa. Tuesday, June 17, 7:30pm, Ryerson Image Centre (33 Gould St).
Descant celebrates the launch of its 165th issue, A Summer Reader
This edition of Descant wants to take you away, so go on an imagication with these literary folks. Poets Mary Corkery, Stevie Howell and Assia Messaoudi, fiction writer Heather Babcock and essayist Mark Kingwell will read. There will be raffle prizes too. Tuesday, June 17, 7pm, Paupers Pub (539 Bloor Street West).
The Piston is giving the last weeks of spring a rush of fun with The Order of Good Cheer (who are releasing an album), Dine Alone Foods, Collective Arts Brewing, and Gooch's World Famous Smoked Meat. For PWYC you can show up to win prizes, see bands, dance to DJs, and see surprise guests. June 18 & 25, 9pm, The Piston (937 Bloor St West).
Regent Park Film Festival - Under the Stars
Free films from June 18 - August 20! Mark them all down. This Wednesday is Omar (2013), directed by Hany Abu-Assad. Wednesday, June 18, 9pm, Outside Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East).
Public opening: Ryerson Image Centre Summer Exhibitions
Ryerson Image Centre is going hard for World Pride. Check out their new exhibits at the opening on Wednesday including What It Means To Be Seen: Photography and Queer Visibility, Zanele Muholi, Aleesa Cohene and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, and Julie Gemuend. Wednesday, June 18, 5:30-8pm, Ryerson Image Centre (33 Gould Street).
Post A Letter Social Activity Clubc at Wise Bar
What's a letter-writing circle? Post a Letter Social Activity Club AKA Pal-Sac can tell you - and hook you up with a pen-pal. It's like Twitter DM's but IRL? Wise Bar is a new cozy spot, possibly just with a chalk board in the window still. Wednesday, June 18, 6-9pm, Wise Bar (1007 Bloor St West).
Live in Bellwoods: Great Heart Festival (Trinity Bellwoods Park)
It's back: Young Lions Music Club will hold this unofficial but friendly show in Trinity Bellwoods Park, shows run from Thursday - Sunday and of course, admission is free. One of summer's chillest spots to hang, it's also all-ages. The full line up is here. June 19-22, Trinity Bellwoods Park.
Central Canadian Barista Competition
The new Propeller Roastery will host this bloodbath - I mean espresso bath - between Central Canada's best baristas. The winners will go to Nationals... and then conquer the world. I can't even foam properly. Friday, June 20, Propeller Roastery (50 Wade Ave).
Grease! Free live movie night in The Esplanade
Sooo self explanatory. Saturday, June 21, 8pm, David Crombie Park (131 The Esplanade).
Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival
The Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival is splashing in Lake Ontario this weekend. 180 to 200 teams will compete in the 26th year of the competition. June 21, 8am-5pm, Centre Island, Toronto Islands.
Perth Sterling Summer BBQ
Celebrate the solstice with free food from Castlepoint Numa & RioTinto. Rub your eyes and read that again, yup! Free BBQ in honour of the Perth Sterling revitalization project. Saturday, June 21, 11:30am, 181 Sterling Road.
Olivia Chow's World Pride Party
More than a little transparent considering her Mayoral bid, but that's politics for you. Not free / a thing: Rob Ford's World Pride Party. Yep, that's definitely not a thing. Saturday, June 21, 9pm, Woody's (467 Church Street).
"Over the Rainbow: Seduction and Identity" Opening Party
Check out MOCCA's double rainbow double Pride exhibits Over the Rainbow: Seduction and Identity and Par Amour / Paramour. Party in the courtyard - it's summertime. June 21, 7pm, MOCCA (952 Queen Street West).
Liza Uncorked: The Pirate
I kinda wish I was Sally Bowles in Cabaret, and hey - so do you. Jennifer Wells will be doing her best Liza Minnelli, and maybe if you ask nice she'll give you some tips afterward. The Drake will also screen Vincente Minnelli's The Pirate starring Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. Delic. Sunday, June 22, 9pm, Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West).
Open Farm - Fresh City's Season Launch Event
This farmer's market is going all out: there will be bees! Check out the bees, go on a scavenger hunt, and see some live music. If you can afford the craft beer, this can get even better. Sunday, June 22, 1-5pm, Downsview Park (70 Canuck Avenue).
Film Screening -- Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans
I didn't think a Bad Lieutenant remake was a good idea, but I was wrong. So were you. Watch out for lizards - and Werner Herzog and Nicolas Cage). Sunday, June 22, 8:45pm, Bar Radio (615 College St.).
Best Ontario Sommelier Competition 2014
Decanting Service, Champagne Service, Food and Wine Pairing, and Blind Tasting - think you've got what it takes? These three finalists do, but only one will win. Let's hope none of them come down with a cold (if so, maybe Derek Flack could step in?). There's a $5 wine tasting afterward. Sunday, June 22, 1pm, Arcadian Loft (401 Bay Street).
- Elvis Mondays at the Drake
- Foosball Battle Royale, Monday, Disgraceland
- Art Gallery of Ontario free evening, Wednesday, 6-8:30pm.
- IFOA Weekly, free for supporters, students, & youth under 26, Wednesday, Harbourfront Centre
- Skin of My Nuts Comedy Show, Thursday, Sonic Espresso Bar
- Canadian Opera Company's Free Concerts series
- While nearly all art galleries in the city are free to enter, it's worth noting The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) is always PWYC.
- The ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) offers discounted tickets on Fridays ($10).
Do you want everyone to know about your kinda random free or pay-what-you-can event? Submit it to our event section. (You can also submit your for-money events here, greedy-pants.)