15 Fascinating Things To Do in Toronto for Under $15

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The initial costs of dining out, shopping, visiting museums and exploring tourist attractions in “Hogtown” can be intimidating to visitors. But Toronto doesn’t have to be a budget-breaking destination. Daily deals, discounts and everyday affordable rates make these 15 fantastic Toronto attractions much more affordable than you probably think.

#1. Hop on a Streetcar to The Beaches

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A visit to the Beaches — an adorable Toronto neighborhood offering a long stretch of sandy waterfront — is a highlight of any Toronto vacation, but getting there is half the fun. Hop on a streetcar and catch an ultra-cheap tour of some of Toronto’s favorite streets.

Price: $3 each way

#2.  Visit the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

Photo credit: David Ing
Photo credit: David Ing

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) offers a “pay what you can” system all of the time. See the works of astounding homegrown artists as well as world-renowned ones in this progressive Toronto art space.

Price: Pay what you can

#3.  Budget Shop at St. Lawrence Market

Photo credit: Kiril Strax
Photo credit: Kiril Strax

A trip to St. Lawrence Market can be as expensive or affordable as you want it to be, but admiring the architecture and culture of the historic building is always free. St. Lawrence Market was titled the world’s best food market in 2012 by National Geographic, so spend your $15 on some of the tasty local food products.

Price: Free

#4. Take a Tall Ship Cruise

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Take in panoramic views of Toronto from aboard a historic, three-masted ship built in 1930. Take a two-hour tall ship cruise, and you’ll get a chance to help the crew raise the sails and watch the ship fire a cannonball for an affordable price that allows you to take the entire family.

Price: $14

#5. Step Into the Bata Shoe Museum

Photo credit: Bookchen
Photo credit: Bookchen

The Bata Shoe Museum is one of Toronto’s most unique attractions featuring shoes from around the world and from a number of time periods. Follow footwear through the ages and learn about various shoe fashions, everything you ever wanted to know about shoes and more is available under one roof. And on Thursdays, between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., visitors can take advantage of pay-what-you-can admission.

Price: Regular admission $14, pay-what-you-can on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

#6. Ride the Ferry to Centre Island

Photo credit: Leonid Efimov
Photo credit: Leonid Efimov

Centre Island is one of Toronto’s favourite tourist getaways offering an amusement park (only open in summer), tasty eateries, bike paths and plenty of green space. The affordable, scenic ferry ride to the Centre Island is tons of fun, and you can hop aboard downtown at the Toronto Ferry Docks. Keep an eye on the ferry schedule, because it changes with the seasons and does not visit the island in Toronto’s coldest months.

Price: $7 (includes both ways)

#7. Shop the Farmers’ Markets

Photo credit: Ryan
Photo credit: Ryan

Farmers’ markets aren’t just reserved for summertime in Toronto. A number of the city’s best farmers’ markets — like the Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers’ Market, Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market and The Village Market — are open year-round selling fresh local eats and offering other fun features like live music and tasty cafes.

Price: Free

#8. Visit the Bowmanville Zoo

Photo credit: Eric Parker
Photo credit: Eric Parker

Three-hundred animals, daily shows, an Animatheatre and kids’ Funland are just a few of the awesome features available to visitors of the Bowmanville Zoo just outside of the city in beautiful Bowmanville, Ontario. And with a half-off admission deal going on right now, you can take a trip to the zoo for less than ever before.

Price: $11.50

#9. Bike the City

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Toronto is an incredibly bicycle-friendly city with bicycle paths, multi-use paths and cycle tracks in abundance. Take advantage of the city’s unique Bike Share Toronto program, with 80 stands throughout the city, to rent a bicycle for an unbelievable rate. Pick up the bike at one station and drop it off at another — all you need is a credit card to make it work.

Price: $7 per half hour (and up)

#10. Hit Up a Hamilton Museum

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Dundurn Castle, the Museum of Steam and Technology, the Battlefield House Museum and Park and the Whitehern Historic House and Gardens are some of the Hamilton area’s greatest attractions. And Flight Network is offering crazy deals for individual admissions or entire family passes until the new year.

Price: $3.50 per person or family pass for $10

#11. Catch a Movie

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It’s incredible what a family trip to the movies can cost whether you’re on vacation or at home, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend evenings cooped up in your hotel room. The Cinestarz movie theatre in Mississauga offers an old-school movie theatre feel with mainstream Hollywood movies on display for discounted prices, so you can afford to take the entire family.

Price: $4 matinee, $5 general admission

#12. Admire the Art Gallery of Ontario

Photo credit: Sam Javanrouh
Photo credit: Sam Javanrouh

The Art Gallery of Ontario’s stunning collection of more than 80,000 works from the first century to modern day are always worth a visit. And if you time your visit between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, you can get free entry to the museum’s permanent collection.

Price: Free (6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays)

#13. Take a Hike at High Park

Photo credit: Diego Torres Silvestre
Photo credit: Diego Torres Silvestre

Take an afternoon to roam the gorgeous gardens, waterfront, mini-zoo, playground and dog park at Toronto’s biggest public park. High Park is the perfect place for a budget-friendly picnic or to sit back and admire one of Toronto’s favourite green spaces.

Price: Free

#14. Explore a Historic Site

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Nineteenth century homes and battlegrounds serve as some of Toronto’s best historic attractions, and admission to most of them costs just a few dollars. View the Mackenzie House — the home of Toronto’s first mayor — or the famous Historic Fort York downtown, which played a significant role in the Battle of 1812. The Colborne Lodge and Montgomery’s Inn are other affordable places to travel back in time to the 1800s.

Price: $6.19 to $9

#15. Spend an Afternoon at Riverdale Farm

Photo credit: Pat Anderson
Photo credit: Pat Anderson

Downtown Toronto is know for its great green spaces, but the family-friendly Riverdale Farm spans nearly 7 hectares at 201 Winchester St. A trip to the farm involves visiting sheep, pigs, cows, goats and other farm animals as well as roaming about the grounds watching the farmhands perform their daily chores. And although access to the farm is completely free, you may find yourself spending a few dollars at the quaint Simpson House, where light snacks, refreshments and knick knacks are for sale.

Price: Free

For more incredible deals on attractions in the Toronto area, visit Flight Network’s new Hot Deals site.

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.

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