free events toronto winter

The top 10 free things to do in Toronto this winter

The top free things to do in Toronto this winter will keep your schedule packed but leave your bank account undamaged. While there may not be tons of street fests during the colder months, there's plenty to keep you busy until spring. This season features everything from fiscally-responsible NYE bashes to lectures that won't cost you thousands in tuition.

Here are my picks for the top free things to do in Toronto this winter.

COC Free Concert Series (Sept. 2015-May 2016)
If you want to do something a little more highbrow than watching Netflix in sweats, the Canadian Opera Company hosts a free concert series that runs from September to May (mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays). There are vocal, piano, jazz, dance, chamber and world music shows. Check the schedule here.

New Year's Eve Skating Party (Dec. 31)
Toronto is filled with NYE parties, but if you want to save your pennies, this Harbourfront bash is a tried and true option. You'll get to brush up on your skating skills while a DJ plays 2015's greatest hits - remember not to pre-game too hard or you'll be falling more than usual. If you can't make it down to the water, a similar situation is happening at Nathan Phillips Square.

Festival of New Formats at Comedy Bar (Jan. 2-6)
Comedy Bar's Festival of New Formats brings Toronto's funny men and women to the stage for five nights of performances at the beginning of January. You'll get to catch experimental sketch, improv and stand-up shows without dropping a dime. It may not have the star power of JFL42, but you'll probably get in a few laughs.

Japanese Movies at the Bloor Cinema (Jan. 10-24)
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is hosting free screenings of Japanese films throughout January. If you're not fluent in Japanese, no worries, all flicks will feature English subtitles. This year's lineup includes The Floating Castle, Leaving on the 15th Spring, A Story of Yonosuke, and more.

Chantal Pointbrand at the AGO (Jan. 13)
MOCCA's just appointed CEO will be appearing at the AGO mid-January to discuss the future of Toronto's favourite contemporary art gallery. Tickets have been in such demand for this one it's already moved to a larger location.

Toronto Design Offsite Festival (Jan. 18-24)
If you're counting down the days until Nuit Blanche returns, the Toronto Design Offsite Festival will be right up your alley. Public spaces will be turned into exhibition sites for one week, flaunting everything from window installations to blindfolded walking tours. See the 2016 schedule here.

Ryerson Winter Exhibitions opening party (Jan. 20)
Head to the Ryerson Image Centre on January 20th the celebrate this season's exhibition. You'll get the first glance at The Light Inside: Wendy Snyder MacNeil Photographs and Films; , Spring Hurlbut: Airborne; Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof: The Relics of Lumen; and Ways of Seeing: Building the RIC Collection.

Atom Egoyan Lecture (Jan. 27)
While many university students shudder at the term lecture, some can be more interesting than Stats101. This one lands in the more interesting camp, for sure. Director Atom Egoyan will be taking the stage at Walter Hall to discuss his interpretation of a few select opera productions on January 27th.

NBA All Star Weekend (Feb. 12-14)
Sports fans know that the NBA All Star Weekend features some of the best parties and events of the year. Though there isn't a ton of info on what will be free of charge this February, you can expect a number of events to pop up in the weeks leading up to it. If you like to plan early, get free tickets to the NBA All Star Weekend Toronto 2016 Party now.

Winterfolk Festival Free Shows (Feb. 12-14)
The Blues and Roots festival returns to Toronto in mid-February, bringing with it a handful of free shows worth checking out. Though the schedule and performance list is still TBA, expect to see urban, blues, rock, jazz, country, folk and roots bands in the line-up.

cravetvThanks to Cravetv for sponsoring this post.

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

Photo via Harbourfront Centre

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