15 Free Toronto Winter Events That Won’t Break The Bank This January

Instagram/@offbeatimages

Toronto knows a thing or two about activities, especially during the winter months. But after the craziness of the holidays, your wallet could definitely use a break. Luckily, this January, you don’t have to spend a penny to be able to enjoy some amazing activities around the city. We’ve rounded up the very best free events for you to enjoy.

Here are 15 free events to check out this month in Toronto!

Skating at Nathan Phillips Square

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Instagram/@ania.wilkowa

Grab your skates and head to Nathan Phillips Square where you can enjoy free daily skating as you enjoy the picturesque views of Toronto City Hall. Equipped with change rooms, washrooms, a snack shop, and skate rentals, this skating rink has everything you need for a quintessential winter day.

When: Open daily through March 22
Time: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: 100 Queen Street West
Price: Skating is free, skate rentals available on-site

DJ Skate Nights at Natrel Rink

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Instagram/@harbourfrontcentre

Toronto’s hottest winter skating party is back for another exciting season with another stellar lineup of DJs that will bring the heat to your Saturday nights. Featuring house, R&B, soul, disco, soca, hip hop, dancehall, throwback, drag anthems, and pop, there will be music for every taste, and for every occasion.

When: January 11, 18, 25
Time: 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Where:
Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink
Price: Admission is free

The Bentway Skate Trail: Winter Season

The Bentway below the Gardiner Expressway is worth braving the cold for. Not only is there free ice-skating on the 220-metre, figure-eight skate trail (you may bring your own skates or rent for $10), there’s an on-site winter village that serves hot chocolate, drinks, and boozy beverages for skaters and spectators, while warming stations will help visitors get toasty before getting back on the ice.

When: January 6 through February 7
Time: Weekdays, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; weekends, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: The Bentway, 250 Fort York Boulevard
Price: Skating is free; skate rentals start at $5 for kids or $10 for adults

AGO Free Wednesday Nights

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Instagram/@_itssmira

Free admission on Wednesday nights at the AGO has been a longstanding tradition for years and is a great way to get your culture fix. The popular initiative invites Torontonians and visitors the chance to spend the evening at one of the largest and most distinguished art museums in North America and get inspired by the incredible art displays and new and changing exhibits.

When: Every Wednesday night (January 8, 15, 22, 29)
Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West
Price: Admission is free

No Pants Subway Ride

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Instagram/@aniant23

The ‘No Pants Subway Ride’ returns to Toronto for another cheeky year. Hosted by the No Pants Society, the annual risqué event will be taking place simultaneously in over 50 cities around the world this month with the hopes of bringing a smile to commuters’ faces. Here in Toronto, the pantless ride will be be followed by a parade from Wellesley Station to a no pants dance party (location to be announced). 

When: January 12
Time: 3 pm to 10 pm
Where: The ride begins at the CF Eaton Centre’s Dundas Street entrance
Price: Free to participate, but you’ll have to pay for your TTC ride

Mayor’s Skate Party

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Twitter/JohnTory

Celebrate the new year with Mayor John Tory and City Councillors at Kew Gardens for the annual Mayor’s Skate Party. Come on down to enjoy a fun afternoon that’s filled with music, hot beverages, and of course lots of skating. Even better is that skate rentals are free, too!

When: January 12
Time: 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Where: Kew Gardens
Price: Free

Winter Stations Presents: Loop

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Instagram/@winter.stations

Leading up to the return of Toronto’s annual Winter Stations, event organizers are teaming up with the city’s Waterfront BIA to bring more public art to the city during the coldest months of the year. This month, Torontonians can check out ‘Loop’, which is an interactive retro-futuristic machine powered by the public. Visitors can hop on two at a time into one of the six illuminated cylinders and pump a lever to activate the lights and glowing images. 

When: January 15 through February 18
Time: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
Where: York Street Park (York Street and Harbour Street)
Price: Admission is free

Province Apothecary Mini Facials @ Detox Market

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Instagram/@provinceapothecary

If getting your skincare game together was on your list of goals for 2020, then look no further. On January 16, head to the Detox Market flagship for your free Province Apothecary mini-facial that’s followed by relaxing accupressure point stimulation and education about your skin type. There are limited spots available so make sure you RSVP early so you don’t miss out on your best skin ever thanks to this free event.

When: January 16
Time: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Detox Market Flagship (116 Spadina Ave)
Price: Free

DesignTO

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Instagram/@designtofestival

DesignTo returns to Toronto for its 10th installment this month to celebrate Canadian art and design. Over the past decade, DesignTO has grown from a collection of seven exhibitions and events to a ten-day Festival of over 100 free exhibitions and events throughout the city. You can find full programming details here

When: January 17 through 26
Time: Varies by exhibition
Where: Venues throughout the city
Price: Over 100 exhibitions are free to the public (others are ticketed)

Toronto Light Fest

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Instagram/@john_du

With the coldest and darkest days upon us, the city’s historic Distillery District will be the place to be for the fourth annual Toronto Light Fest. Bringing dozens of curated light installations and illuminated sculptures created by a number of local and international artists, the Toronto Light Festival should not be missed.

When: January 17 through March 1
Time: After dusk
Where: Distillery District
Price: Admission is free

Rom 3rd Tuesday Nights Free

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Instagram/@bora.vs.bora

The ROM is giving Torontonians the perfect reason to leave their homes this winter with the return of 3rd Tuesday Nights Free. During this monthly event, ROM guests will be able to explore art, culture, and nature in the museum’s 30 galleries and collections from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm, completely free of charge.

When: January 21
Time: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park
Price: Admission is free

Power Plant Opening Party

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Instagram/@thepowerplantto

To kick off the 2020 winter exhibition season, Toronto art enthusiasts can check out a free party on January 24.  Attendees will be amongst the first to experience new exhibitions by Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Dawit L. Petros, Naeem Mohaiemen, and Rashid Johnson. There will also be a cash bar available on-site throughout the evening. 

When: January 24
Time: 8 p.m. 
Where: The Power Plant
Price: Admission is free

The Mommonality MRKT

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Instagram/@themommonalitymrkt

Experience the very first Mommonality MRKT to shop all sorts of goodies. It’s at this exciting market that you can shop over 40+ vendors from a wide range of categories including adult & children’s apparel, accessories, home decor, custom gifts, and lots more!

When: January 26
Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where:
Mississauga Convention Centre
Price: Admission is free

Winter Fridays

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Instagram/@theculturepearl

Happening every Friday until February 14 at Evergreen Brick Works is Winter Fridays where you can make the most of those chilly winter nights. While we love cozying up at home with a movie and cup of tea, sometimes you just need a night out. At Winter Fridays you can skate for free, enjoy DJ performance, and food & drinks from food trucks. 

When: Every Friday night (January 10, 17, 24, 31, February 7, and 14)
Time: 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.
Where:
Evergreen Brick Works
Price: Admission is free

Free Mindfulness Meditation

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CentrePlace

Clear your head with some free guided meditation. that’s happening every Monday at 6 p.m. until February 3. Located at Centre Place on Richmond East, the meditation is open to everybody regardless of your experience. While this event is totally free, a donation of at least $5 is suggested. If 6 p.m. doesn’t work for your busy schedule, you can still stop by until 8 p.m., although the guided part of the meditation ends at 7 p.m.

When: Every Monday night (January 13, 20, 27, February 3)
Time: 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Where:
CentrePlace (320 Richmond St E – Unit 101)
Price: Admission is free

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