22 free events worth checking out in Toronto this February

Jan 31 2020, 7:19 pm

Toronto might be an expensive city, but some of the best things happen here for free.

Get ready to take February on full force, and leave your wallet at home with this list of free things going down this month.

Kuumba 2020

What: Kuumba, one of Toronto’s longest-running celebrations of Black History Month, marks its 25th anniversary this year. In 2020, Kuumba25 examines the past through cultural expression, ritual and memorabilia, while re-envisioning identities through art, culture and education.

When: February 1 to 29
Where: 235 Queens Quay West
Admission: Some events are ticketed, others free, check online

Chinese New Year GRAND Celebration

What: At this annual event, celebrate the Year of the Rat in the form of a traditional temple market. Market stands are set up and festively decorated, where you can purchase homemade Chinese food, get face painting, and try out Chinese caligraphy and crafts. There will be signature lion dance, prize draw and more.

When: Saturday, February 1
Time: 10 am to 1:30 pm
Where: 211 Steeles Avenue East
Admission: Free, register online

Colin Kaepernick – Know Your Rights Camp Photo Exhibit

What: See the exclusive Canadian debut of the public art installation, courtesy of Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp. Featuring images of freedom fighters from athletes to activists to lawyers, scholars and actors.

When: February 1 to 29
Where: Harbourfront Centre —  235 Queens Quay West
Admission: Free

Toronto Human Rights Watch Film Festival

What: See some of the most powerful documentary films of some of the most serious issues happening in the world today. The annual Toronto Human Rights Watch Film Festival brings human stories to life in a manner that empowers the audience to demand justice for all.

When: On until February 4
Time: Times vary
Where: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema — 506 Bloor Street West
Admission: Free

Comedy on College

What: Beat the winter blues with an evening of laughter in Little Italy. Guests can look forward to a mixture of talented up-and-coming comics and some seasoned pros, in addition to cheap eats and a killer beer list.

When: February 4, 11, 18, 25
Time: 7 pm
Where: 583 College Street
Admission: Free

Bloor-Yorkville Icefest Presents: Awesome 80’s

What: Celebrate winter with the 15th annual Bloor-Yorkville Icefest throughout the Village of Yorkville Park and surrounding area. A free public event, expect a wide variety of uniquely designed ice sculptures and rad winter activities for the duration of the weekend.

This year, all things 80’s are retro-cool again with the “Awesome 80’s” theme transforming the neighbourhood into a one-of-a-kind display of over 70,000 pounds of ice sculpted into sculptures.

When: Saturday, February 8
Where: 115 Cumberland Street
Admission: Free

Ethical Wardrobe Marketplace

What: Featuring ethical clothes, jewellery, and more, this curated marketplace is bringing together some of the most thoughtful and purpose-driven brands on the scene. From vintage leather to accessories, it’s the cure to fast fashion.

When: Saturday, February 8
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Where: The Encircled Studio — 300 Campbell Ave
Admission: Free, register online

Icefest 2019

What: Toronto’s historic Yorkville neighbourhood will be transformed into a showcase of delicate, stunning ice sculptures using over 70,000 lbs of crystal clear ice. Check out the DJs, take a selfie or group photo at the Icefest Photo Booth or plug in their mobile phones at one of the charging stations. Also there will be the Icefest Scavenger Hunt on Saturday and Sunday, creating a special opportunity to explore the neighbourhood’s shops and attractions.

Specialty cocktails will also be available on the Icefest Sassafraz Patio.

When: February 8 and 9
Where: Cumberland Street and Bellair Street
Admission: Free to the public

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at the Ontario Science Centre

What: While anyone (with an Internet connection, reliable sources, and some time to spare) can edit Wikipedia, the encyclopedia isn’t representative of the diversity we see in the world. In fact, on English Wikipedia, only 18% of pages are about women. To help combat this, the OSC will be updating a variety of pages about marginalized groups and women specifically.

When: Sunday, February 9
Time: 10:45 am to 4 pm
Where: Ontario Science Center — 770 Don Mills Road
Admission: Free, space is limited, register online

The Oscars Live at the Revue Cinema

What: Watch a live broadcast of the Academy Awards on the Revue’s giant screen. The screening will be accompanied by trivia, prizes, champagne, and all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood on Roncesvalles.

When: Sunday, February 9
Time: 7 pm
Where: Revue Cinema — 400 Roncesvalles Avenue
Admission: Free, register online


What: This art installation is an interactive retro-futuristic machine powered by you. 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 within the loop.

When: On until February 9
Where: York Street Park — York and Harbour Streets
Admission: Free

HEARD! Toronto

What: Join chefs Alin Gavril, Ariel Coplan, and moderator (and also chef) Kyla Tuori in a discussion about creating a sustainable environment for those in the service industry. It’s a night supporting the fire in those that love food, while addressing the challenges faced in the industry.

When: Monday, February 10
Time: 10 am to noon
Where: The Hazelton Hotel — 118 Yorkville Avenue
Admission: Free, register online

Wintery Owl Walk in the Ravine

What: Join expert naturalists Lee Earl and Evergreen staff on a wintery walk through the Don Valley Brick Works Park and explore the ravines at night. Please be sure to dress warmly and wear appropriate walking shoes.

When: Tuesday, February 11
Time: 6 to 8 pm
Where: Evergreen Brick Works — 550 Bayview Avenue
Admission: Free, register online

North York Job Fair

What: Do need a job or even just a career upgrade? Well get your resume together and head to meet some of the best employers in the city looking to hire someone today. Everyone from the TTC to Bell and more will be there.

When: Tuesday, February 11
Time: 1 to 4 pm
Where: Novotel Hotels and Resorts — 3 Park Avenue
Admission: Free

Best of British Tour

What: Experience the best of British motorcycling while snacking some delicious food. Triumph Motorcycles is hosting an unforgettable evening of food, drinks, entertainment and the world’s finest British motorcycles as they offer a preview of the new 2020 model lineup.

When: Thursday, February 13
Time: 6 to 10 pm
Where: The Amsterdam Brewhouse — 245 Queens Quay West
Admission: Free, register online

DJ Skate Nights

What: Sharpen your skates and skills at Toronto’s number one outdoor winter party. This year you can expect another stellar lineup of DJs that will bring the heat to your Saturday nights.

When: Now until February 15 (Saturday evenings)
Time: 8 pm to 11 pm
Where: Harbourfront Centre — 235 Queens Quay West
Price: Skating is free

2020 Winter Markets in the Distillery

What: The Leslieville Flea is be bringing their awesome mix of vintage and handcrafted vendors to the Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery this month. Shop some one of a kind gifts and goodies created locally.

When: Sunday, February 16
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: The Fermenting Cellar — 28 Distillery Lane
Admission: Free

ROM 3rd Tuesday Nights Free

What: On 3rd Tuesday Nights Free, ROM guests will be able to explore the museum’s galleries and collections, free of charge. With complimentary access and extended hours, visitors are invited to explore art, culture, and nature in the museum’s 40 permanent galleries.

When: Tuesday, February 18
Time: 5:30 to 8:30 pm
Where: Royal Ontario Museum — 100 Queens Park
Price: Free to attend

An Evening with the Deadly Dames

What: The Deadly Dames, a group of Canadian mystery writers, presents a fun and informal discussion about the state of crime fiction today and what it takes to write a novel. Learn about the craft from those already working in one of the most successful literary genres.

When: Wednesday, January 19
Time: 7 to 8 pm
Where: 2140 Avenue Road
Admission: Free, register online

Winter Stations 2020

What: A massive public art festival, the winning pieces were selected from 100s of submissions. This year’s theme is beyond the five senses and will feature some of the most interesting and imaginative creations from some increadible creative minds.

When: February 17 to March 30
Where: Woodbine Beach — 1675 Lake Shore Blvd East
Admission: Free

The Trinity Bellwoods Flea – Winter Market

What: The over 100 vendors at this winter-themed flea should make finding that perfect gift or conversation piece even easier. Shop from local vendors, artisans, and creators at this very special and distinctively Torontonian event.

When: Sunday, February 23
Time: 11 am to 6 pm
Where: The Great Hall — 1087 Queen Street West
Admission: Free

Toronto Light Fest

What: For the fourth year in a row, the historic Distillery District will be home to the Toronto Light Fest this winter. Designed to entertain and inspire, the free to attend light festival will feature curated light installations and illuminated sculptures created by a number of local and international artists.

When: On until March 1
Time: After sunset
Where: Distillery District
Price: Free

Skating at Harbourfront Centre

What: When the weather starts to drop, it means it’s officially time to go skating. And it just so happens that the city’s most scenic rink has opened its doors for the winter season. The Natrel Rink is complete with heated indoor change rooms and its own rink-side bar and grill for those interested in getting a snack post-skate. The best part? Skating at the Harbourfront rink is totally free. 

When: Now until spring
Time: Monday to Thursday, 9 am to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday, 9 am to 11 pm; Sunday, 9 am to 10 pm
Where: Harbourfront Centre — 235 Queens Quay West
Admission: Skating is free


Peter SmithPeter Smith

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