Free Fun: Go Outside!!

Looking for something fun to do when you're not immersed in books and essay writing but don't have a lot cash to do it? I know the feeling! That's why I'm on the look out for fun things to do in Toronto that don't cost a penny. If you know of something, e-mail me at!

(Humber River, source)

Alright, alright, I get it... the cold weather is coming and the dreaded S-word is on the back of everyone's minds. That's right, it's going to snow soon, so what kind of crazy person is going to tell you to have fun by going outside?! Well, I am.

Living in the city, it often feels like I'm surrounded by concrete 24/7 and it's easy to forget how many natural wonders are all around us and how much history our streets are holding. Spending more time outside is good for your health and your sanity, and I'm sure some would say... your soul. So these chances for free fun are all centered around having fun outside, whether its getting back to nature or gaining a greater appreciation for our cityscapes.

Visit the Evergreen Brickworks and walk around the 40-acre green space, visit the year-round farmers' market, check out the diverse wildlife in the gardens, skate along the winter ice trail and the many other exciting attractions at this innovative environmental centre. Accessible by bike, transit and foot, click here to plan your route.

Hike around the Humber Arboretum and enjoy the gardens, forests, meadows and wetlands that this wonderful park has to offer. In addition to tours, they also offer a self-guided Discovery Walk designed to help you make the most of your visit. Accessible by transit and car, click here to choose your route.

Visit the critters at Riverdale Farm. How can you not love a city that has an actual farm just minutes from the downtown core? Complete with fuzzy animals (the farm breeds "pioneer breeds" that are no longer common on commercial farms), a weekly farmers' market, a pond and lush gardens. What better way is there to escape the hussle and bustle of city life without ever leaving the city? Click here to plan your route (hint: it's walking distance from campus!)

Stop and smell the flowers at Allan Gardens Conservatory. Alright, you're going to be going inside for this one but it's nature-y and SO close to campus, I couldn't resist putting it in. Located in Allan Gardans on the South side of Carlton between Sherbourne and Jarvis, enter this amazing greenhouse that houses plants from all over the world, from cacti to palm trees. Visit in December to see their seasonal holiday display.

Download one of the City of Toronto's free Discovery Walk, grab some friends or perhaps turn it into a fun, low-budget date ;), and hit the streets to start discovering the wonders of this city we live in.

It might be a little tourist-y but walking around the pedestrian-only areas of the historic Distillery District is a great way to spend an afternoon. Check out galleries and the wares of local artistans and then, if you've got a few dollars to spend, warm up over drinks or a steaming hot cup of cocoa in one of the neighbourhood's adorable pubs.

Take the 501 street car to the east end of down and having a calming walk along the lake through Woodbine Beach and the neighbouring Ashbridges Bay. It's incredible how much stress falls away just from spending some time by the water.

Head out to the west end of the city and take a hike along the Humber River and if you wait till the warmer months, consider bringing some friends, packing and picnic and making a day of it.

So there you have it, a few ways to get outside, explore the city, get back to nature and if you ride your bike to your destination, you won't even have to spend a penny. Do you have a favourite place or activity that allows you to spend more time outside? E-mail it to or leave a comment so I can share it with everyone.

With that, I'll leave you with this song which is not only bang-on with today's theme but has also been stuck in my head all week. :)


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