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10 free things to do in Toronto this May

Having fun for free in Toronto this May let's you stay social on a budget. Instead of spending your leisure time begging for a loan from your parents or digging through your couch for change, opt to attend one of these cost-friendly events - there's everything from art exhibitions to an all-day slumber party.

Here are my picks for the top free events in Toronto this May.

Contact Photography Festival (May 1-31)
The Contact Photography Festival stretches across the entire month of May, bringing out the best of the best in international photography. This year there are 20 free public installations, including Drape, What it Means to be Beautiful, Prada Marfa and more happening this month.

Free events at Hot Docs (Miscellaneous dates)
There are a number of free events at Toronto's annual documentary film festival including a talk on May 3 about gender representation in the documentary industry. If that's not your thing, there's another talk the next day about "how documentary and music video shooting can be a vehicle for change in Syria, Myanmar and Africa." Find the full list of free events on the festival web site.

GradEx 101 (May 4-8)
In its 101st year, GradEx will be a five-day exhibition across the OCAD University campus. Over 900 young artists and designers will showcase their work, including thesis work by graduating students. Over 18 different programs' work will be represented including photography, material art & design, printmaking, illustration and environmental design.

Blossom and Bloom (May 6-7)
The newly renovated West Wing and Oak Room of Union Station will be transformed into a floral wonderland for May 6 and 7. While you'll have to shell out some cash if you want to purchase any flora or fauna, there will be live music, a complimentary henna station and large scale sculpture flower garden which you can enjoy for free.

Jane's Walk Festival (May 6-8)
Jane's Walk, now in its tenth year, will bring free, locally-organized walking tours to neighbourhoods across the city. The point of the event is to uphold Jane Jacobs' legacy and "contribute to a city-wide dialogue about what our city needs and where it is headed."

CMW Day Rager & Merch Market (May 7)
Spent all your money on WAYHOME tickets and don't have enough cash for CMW? Well good news, you don't need a wristband to get into this event. The cost-free bash will bring bands like Huttch, The Spook School, Boyscott and more to the Garrison. If you've got a few bucks lying around, a few vendors like No Fun Press and Rosehound Apparel will be selling merch.

Toronto Comic Arts Festival (May 14-15)
If you spend your down time rifling through the graphic novel selections at Silver Snail and The Beguiling, you should probably hit up TCAF. The two-day exhibition brings out hundreds of comic creators and fanatics from around the world, meaning you'll be in some pretty good company. Look forward to readings, interviews, panels, workshops, gallery shows, art installations, and more.

Trinity Bellwoods Bed-In (May 22)
Get your pajamas, pillows and duvets washed because the annual Trinity Bellwoods Bed-In returns on May 22. Expect live music, plant swapping, yoga, art and more.

PS Kensington (May 29)
Pedestrian Sundays are returning to Kensington Market at the end of May. The street festival series will follow the same formula as year's past, continuing throughout the summer on the last Sunday of every month until October. Expect to find a host of street performers, food on sticks, vendors and more.

Doors Open (May 29)
Ever wondered what lies behind the doors of Toronto's most architecturally, historically, culturally and socially important buildings? Well at the end of May you can find out when Doors Open gives everybody a free pass to snoop around inside of them. Remember to charge your iPhone, folks, these places are very Instagrammable.

What did I miss? Add more May free events to the comments.

Photo via PS Kensington on Facebook.

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