Sunday, April 14, 2024

Exploring Free Things to Do in North York 2023

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Jillian Castillo
Jillian Castillo
"Proud thinker. Tv fanatic. Communicator. Evil student. Food junkie. Passionate coffee geek. Award-winning alcohol advocate."

North York, a district in Toronto, offers a variety of activities and attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. What’s even better is that many of these experiences are entirely free! Whether you’re a resident looking for a local adventure or a visitor exploring this vibrant district, here are some exciting and free things to do in North York.

Free Things to Do in North York

Explore Edwards Gardens

Edwards Gardens is a picturesque botanical garden located at the corner of Leslie Street and Lawrence Avenue East. The garden, home to a wide range of flora, is a peaceful escape from the bustling city. Stroll through the beautiful themed gardens, explore the extensive walking trails, and enjoy the scenic views. The adjacent Toronto Botanical Garden offers free admission and hosts a variety of programs and events throughout the year.

Visit the Aga Khan Museum

While the Aga Khan Museum typically charges admission, it offers free entry every Wednesday from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. This world-class museum showcases Islamic art, Iranian art, and Muslim culture. It is the first museum in North America dedicated to Islamic art and culture, making it a must-visit.

Take a Walk in the York University Campus

The York University Keele Campus is one of the largest university spaces in Canada. The campus offers a variety of architectural styles to admire and plenty of green spaces to enjoy a picnic or simply relax. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Scott Library, which offers a panoramic view of the campus.

Enjoy Nature at Earl Bales Park

Earl Bales Park is one of the significant parks in North York, offering a range of outdoor activities. It features a sensory garden, a lovely space designed with various plants that engage all five senses. The park also has a variety of trails perfect for a leisurely walk, a bike ride, or a jog.

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Discover the Gibson House Museum

While there’s typically an admission fee to tour the Gibson House Museum, this historic site offers free entry on select days of the year, like Canada Day. The museum is an 1851 heritage home that represents the history of the Gibson family and the development of North York.

Walk Along the Humber River Trail

The Humber River Trail is a long network of trails that runs along the Humber River. It’s a great place to enjoy a bike ride, a run, or a leisurely walk. The trail provides a peaceful and natural escape within the city and offers excellent opportunities for bird watching and photography.

Visit the Toronto Centre for the Arts

While shows and performances at the Toronto Centre for the Arts generally require tickets, the centre often hosts free community events, including concerts, exhibitions, and festivals. It’s a great place to enjoy and support local arts and culture.

Spend Time at Mel Lastman Square

Mel Lastman Square, located in the heart of North York, is a vibrant public space that hosts a variety of free events throughout the year. These include cultural festivals, concerts, and art exhibitions. Even when there’s no event happening, it’s a great place to relax, people-watch, or enjoy a picnic.

Explore the Don Valley Trails

The Don Valley offers a vast network of trails perfect for walking, cycling, and bird watching. These trails wind through various environments, including woodland areas, meadows, and wetlands, providing a great opportunity to enjoy nature within the city.

Visit Black Creek Pioneer Village

While there is typically an admission fee to enter Black Creek Pioneer Village, this outdoor living history museum offers free entry on select days, such as Canada Day. The village showcases life in 19th-century Ontario and features over 40 historic buildings.

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Enjoy Art at the Glendon Gallery

The Glendon Gallery, located in Glendon Campus of York University, is a contemporary art space featuring the work of local, national, and international artists. While small, the gallery offers thought-provoking exhibitions that change throughout the year. Admission to the gallery is always free.

Discover the Ontario Science Centre

While the Ontario Science Centre generally charges admission, it offers free entry during Community Days, which typically occur once a year. The centre features various interactive exhibits on science and technology that engage both kids and adults.

Check Out the Fairview Library Theatre

While shows at the Fairview Library Theatre usually require tickets, the theatre often hosts free events, such as community meetings, lectures, and sometimes even performances. Check the theatre’s schedule to see what’s on.

Visit the Bayview Village Shopping Centre

While shopping might not be free, window shopping certainly is! Bayview Village Shopping Centre offers a unique shopping experience with a mix of high-end brands and independent boutiques. Even if you’re not planning on buying anything, it’s a great place to explore and perhaps even discover your next favourite store.

Stroll Along the East Don Parkland

The East Don Parkland offers numerous trails that meander through woodlands, meadows, and alongside the East Don River. The parkland is home to a variety of wildlife and is an excellent place for bird watching. It’s a peaceful retreat within the city and a great place for a leisurely walk or a jog.

Explore the Cultural Hotspot

Every year, a different neighbourhood in Toronto is selected as the city’s Cultural Hotspot, which includes parts of North York. During this time, the city promotes local culture, arts, and community through various free events and programs.

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Visit the North York Central Library

The North York Central Library is more than just a place to borrow books. It offers a wide range of free resources and hosts numerous free events, including book clubs, movie screenings, workshops, and lectures.


North York, Toronto, offers a wealth of free activities and attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. Whether you’re interested in art, nature, history, or culture, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant district. So why not start exploring today?

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