borrow toronto

The top 10 things you can borrow in Toronto

Opportunities to borrow or share items and services in Toronto are on the rise. Money's tight. We get it. So why buy stuff when you can borrow them for free or rent them for super-cheap? You'd be surprised at the things you can access in this city for little to no money, from musical instruments (including soundproof rooms to practice in) to 3D printers to movie-making equipment.

Here are my top picks for things to borrow in Toronto.

DIY necessities
Makers, rejoice! The Toronto Tool Library has over 3,000 renovation, gardening, painting and drywall tools available at its two locations (one east, one west) -- and all you need to access these beauties for is your membership card. Membership only costs annual maintenance fee of about $50 and includes other perks like invites to maker-centric parties, workshops in crafty things like woodworking and, of course, a reduction in your environmental footprint.

Kitchen tools
Cooking and baking utensils can be pricey, and that's why The Kitchen Library is a thing. By investing in a membership (for either $9 a month or $25 for three months), you can pull high-quality appliances from its vast inventory and borrow them for up to seven days.

Yes, you can borrow seeds in Toronto, via the Toronto Seed Library (TSL). No official membership or cost is required -- this operation is a labour of love. If you're a gardener, or want to be one, stop by one of the TSL's 14 locations across the city or sift through their cheekily written website for some earthy inspo. Seed donations are always welcome, too.

Never underestimate the cost of having your own bike. From accessories and maintenance fees to actually getting the thing replaced when it inevitably gets stolen, it can be a financially tiring sport. Enter: Bike Share. $7 for a 24-hour access pass and $15 for the 72-hour option, the investment is way worth it for the sake of avoiding becoming a human sardine on the TTC.

Printers (and 3D printers)
The "innovation hubs" at the Toronto Reference Library and its new Fort York branch are equipped with tons of tech, including 2D and 3D printers and scanners. They even offer free monthly classes like Intro to 3D Design and 3D Printer Certification (but register soon -- spots fill up fast).

Four branches of the Toronto Public Library house free music rooms, all equipped with at least one piano. Some of these rooms permit percussion and amplified instruments in, but due to minimal soundproofing, others don't. Regardless, it's a wallet-friendly way to get lost in your music for half an hour (or more, if no one's waiting).

Cameras & Equipment
The Hart House Film Board helps is members in the movie-making process by offering workshops and lending out high-tech production equipment. Buy a $25 membership at the Hub on the main floor and enjoy access to video cameras, lighting, mics and more, plus discounts on the Board's workshops.

Community garden space
Because how many of us actually have front or backyards to muck around in? There are dozens of community gardens across the city, and it's free to join. It's a free way of growing your own fruits and veggies, an interesting way to make some new friends and an easy way to do good for the planet. Win-win-win.

You can actually get paid to spend some time with adorable dogs. You could actually earn up to $1,000 a month watching other people's pups with DogVacay. Choose the size, breed and age of the dog you want to take care of, set your own rates and services and decide how much you want to work and when. Then prepare to temporarily adopt a furry friend.

A place to sleep
Ah, couch surfing. You've probably used or at least thought about this program while traveling in exotic places, but did you know you can take advantage of it in your hometown? If, for example, you're in the middle of a move and need a last-minute place to spend the night, find it via Couchsurfing -- you'll probably end up with a quirky story to tell, too.

What did I miss? Add your favourite things to borrow in Toronto in the comments.

Writing by Amanda Storey

Photo of the Kitchen Library

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