free events toronto

The top 5 free events in Toronto: Dec 29 - Jan 4 2014

Free events in Toronto this week take into account your massive (but tragically under-estimated) NYE budget - or total, utter lack of one. The city's got a lot to offer for your future hangover disaster of a body, including a refreshing swim, live music, a comedy festival, free art, and video games galore.

Here's how to celebrate another year hovering above the gutter in Toronto this week.

1. Zacht Automaat & U.S. Girls (Dec 29, Double Double Land)
Not strictly free, this is an amazing bill for PWYC if you want to discover new psych music on a Monday night. Minimalist krautrock-inspired Zacht Automaat is releasing a new album, and the always divine Meg Remy aka U.S. Girls will perform solo.

2. New Year's Eve (Dec 31, Nathan Phillips Square)
Alright, you don't have to splurge on NYE parties or stay home - TTC is free all night, so you can plan some family friendly fun counting down with John Tory (and DJs, and street performers) at City Hall. Look out for our upcoming fireworks round up.

3. 10th annual Toronto Polar Bear Dip (Jan 1, Sunnyside Beach)
Polar Bear swims are a one-a-year tradition on January 1, and the mad dash into frigid Lake Ontario at Sunnyside should cure your hangover, snow or no snow. Show up for 11am and for heaven's sake don't forget to bring a towel. All proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity.

4. Nintendo Knights Presents: Handlebar's Hangover Helper (Jan 1, Handlebar)
Handlebar is inviting you to wear your PJs (but please not last night's filthy clothes) to play video games and geek out in Kensinton Market. Roll out of bed to be there at 5:30pm, then watch a screening of The Wizard (1989) at 8pm before more video game mania. There will be coffee.

5. Festival of New Formats (Jan 1-5, Comedy Bar)
This free multi-day festival at Comedy Bar will have you laughing your way into the new year. The shows start on Thursday night and carry on over the weekend to Monday - check out some of the line ups here.

BONUS: Free Art

6. Take Home a Piece of Clare Twomey: Piece by Piece (Jan 4, Gardiner Museum)
If you've been admiring Clare Twomey 2,000 piece installation of dainty figurines at the Gardiner, this is your chance to the artists' work home - for free. You're going to have to spend your Christmas cash on admission, but this could stand as your best chance to be a fancy art collector on a shoestring budget this year.

Also check out these regular free events

Elvis Mondays (Mondays, The Drake)
Toronto's longest running indie showcase, William New's free show has put thousands of bands on stage. It's at the Drake Underground every Monday.

Free Nights at the Horseshoe (Monday/Tuesday, The Horseshoe)
The Legendary Horseshoe has a storied history, and hosts free indie rock shows in the early week with Shoeless Mondays and Dave Bookman's Nu Music Night on Tuesdays.

CINSSU's Free Friday Films (Fridays)
Though the Innis Town Hall is still under construction, you can follow the Cinema Studies Student Union for reliable Friday night movies and solid picks at Isabel Bader Theatre and/or Alumni Hall 100.

Canadian Opera Company (Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre)
September through to early June, catch free classical shows at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts "most Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon, and some Wednesdays at noon or 5:30 p.m."

MOCCA (Monday - Sunday)
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.

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Photo by Christian Bobak


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