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Free Days Out in Ontario:
The Top Ten

Top ten free days out in Ontario includes big city attractions and quiet beaches, markets and festivals, as well as lazy days on a downtown farm.



Ontario, Canada has a lot beautiful scenery and cultural places where visitors can explore. The places to explore are too numerous to mention but here's a list of top ten places you should try when you're here.

Ontario’s Art Gallery and Museum Of Contemporary Canadian Art:

• Both are located in Toronto, which is the capital city of Ontario and its largest city too.

• In the Museum Of Contemporary Canadian Art you can look at native Canadian art for free and/or pay for other exhibits that look interesting.

• Ontario’s art gallery is free for visiting tourists between 6:30 and 8:00 pm every Wednesday evening.

For another of my free days out in Ontario, try...

York University Observatory and Allan Gardens Conservatory:

• These two amazing attractions are also located in Toronto. York University is out of the downtown area, on Keele Street between Finch and Steeles Ave; you can get there by Toronto Transit or driving. 

• Visit the York observatory on clear and cloudy nights. On clear nights, you have a telescopic view of the stars while on cloudy nights, there are slide shows and a tour of the Observatory and their two telescopes.

• During the day, take a walk in the Allan Gardens. Allan Gardens Conservatory is on Carlton Street between Jarvis and Sherbourne Streets, which is in the downtown area and in walking distance of most hotels. It is a series of greenhouses that are over a hundred years old and have some amazing plants from around the world.

Visit Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Huron:

• You can enjoy the harbors and beaches of the great Lakes, for more free days out in Ontario 

• Basking in the sun on one of Ontario's fabulous beaches is a great way to enjoy summer fun it's sure to include beach games such as volley ball, if you bring your own ball

• During the summer months, there are free movies, concerts and live performances along many of Ontario's beaches

• There are also beach and waterfront festivals, including Sandcastle Building Competitions -- so bring your artistic talent with your bucket and spade and win a major prize!

Pay Riverdale farm a visit:

• Riverdale farm is located in Cabbagetown, an older part of downtown Toronto. It occupies about 7.5 acres of land and is managed by Toronto Parks. You'll find it east of Parliament Street, along Winchester St. 

• At the farm, you can view farm animals, different crops, woods and ponds and chat with workers as they carry out their daily chores. The farm gives visitors a peek into the world of farming when the pioneers were settling Ontario.

Another one of my free days out in Ontario recommendations is...

Visit Chinatown and Kensington market:

• Two interesting places located just off the downtown area of Toronto. These are 'shop till you drop' locations for all things edible and unique.

Kensington market is adjacent to Chinatown and has a lot of vegetables and fruits, vintage clothing, retro furniture and cheap Latin American meals.

• The market also has a variety of pubs, shops and food stalls from many of the world's cultures.

Chinatown focuses on one culture, for the most part, but includes a good selection other Asian restaurants and shops and historical monuments.

Free Days Out In Ontario, the Distillery District:

Distillery District, Toronto, for shops and bars.

• Situated just off eastern downtown Toronto, the distillery district is a historic district that offers you a place to relax while avoiding the town buzz. The renovated distillery buildings are a nice mix of condos, stores, galleries, and shops, as well as places to eat. The Mill Street Brewery is one of my favourites.

• Only pedestrians can enter this district, but there's plenty of parking nearby, and there are no chain stores or franchises. The gallery stores and small art places are unique.

• If you're a history or architecture fan, the heritage architecture and Victorian Industrial Architectures are worth a visit alone.

Spend some time at Yonge-Dundas square:

• This is a public space located in downtown Toronto and it hosts free performances, movies and concerts in the warmer months. 

• The Yonge-Dundas calendar provides you with the date of events that take place but there's almost always something going on and it's a great place for people watching

 Attend Canadian Opera's free concerts in Toronto:

• There are free lunch hour performances of jazz, chamber music, dance, vocal, and world music held in the Amphitheatre daily. Not opera as such but an opportunity to see the Opera Company's new Four Seasons Centre.

• The Opera and Ballet companies' evening performances are held in R. Fraser Elliot hall and cost money.

Pay St. Lawrence market a visit:

St Lawrence market is situated in eastern downtown Toronto not far from the Distillery District

• There are 3 historic buildings featuring both a food market and an Antique market, as well as plenty of places to eat

• People watching at the antique market on Sundays as the buyers are from many diverse cultures and the gallery, which is located upstairs, provides free exhibitions every Sunday

My last recommendation for free days out in Ontario is...

Visit Yorkville:

• Located in the north of downtown Toronto, Yorkville hosts many pubs, restaurants, art galleries and boutiques and is another place for people-watching. The clientele for most of the stores is very chic, Toronto's wealthy shop here, so you see how the other half lives -- or dresses and drives, anyhow.

• Yorkville's art galleries present both international and Canadian artists so you'll find something you like. Celebrity spotting is a local's game here, especially during Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), when so many of the movie star visitors also visit Yorkville

Those are my top 10 free days out in Ontario. Be sure to check on travel requirements before you travel to the Ontario. And, if you're going on to the USA, you may want to visit ESTA where you get a step to step guide to follow for acquiring travel documents.


My thanks to Catherine for this article.

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