32 FREE Toronto events worth checking out in December

Nov 27 2017, 10:22 pm

There’s no denying that December is always one of the most expensive months of the year.

To ensure you can still get out and have some fun this month (without breaking the bank), we’ve put together this free events guide that’s filled with a variety of fun and festive events happening almost every night of the month.

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Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

What: This free concert series takes place in one of Toronto’s most breathtaking and intimate spaces. The series will feature artists from around the world as they share their talent and passion in six series: vocal, piano, jazz, dance, chamber and world music.

When: Concerts take place most Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon, and some Wednesdays at noon or 5:30 pm. Check event website for full details.
Where: Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, 145 Queen Street West

Free Tidal Flow Yoga Class

What: You’re invited to come and enjoy a chill and surf-inspired yoga class in Toronto’s most chill and surf-inspired space: Surf the Greats Surf Shop & Cafe. There are two classes available each week, Sunday mornings at 10:30 am and Tuesday evenings at 8 pm and your first class is free!

When: Now until December 19
Where: Surf the Grates, 276 Carlaw Avenue

Toronto Christmas Market

What: Rediscover the magic of Christmas at the Toronto Christmas Market. Here you’ll find an assortment of artisan vendors, an Instagram-worthy Christmas tree, live music, incredible Christmas decorations and so much more. Admission is free during the week.

When: Now until December 23
Where: The Distillery District

Voices: Artists on Art

What: Voices: artists on art is inspired by and builds on a 1967 exhibition hosted by the National Gallery in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square and opens a door into 51 studios of artists currently working across Canada.

When: Now until December 24
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West

Yorkville Village Holiday Magic

What: Toronto’s Yorkville Village lights up each holiday season with its annual Holiday Magic event. If you’re shopping in the area, we highly recommend checking out the beautifully lit Christmas tree and taking in the incredible glittering light displays and festive decorations that line the streets.

When: Now until December 31
Village of Yorkville Park, 115 Cumberland Street

Simcoe Christmas Panorama

What: Although this is a bit of a trek from Toronto, it’s perfect for those wanting to go on a festive road trip. Each year, Simcoe puts on an incredible light display called Christmas Panorama that features over 60 dazzling light displays. The spectacle shimmers with thousands of lights transforming the downtown parks into a winter wonderland, attracting visitors from across the province and the US.

When: November 25 to December 31
Where: Wellington Park, 50 Bonnie Drive, Simco

The Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls

What: The annual Winter Festival of Lights stretches over 8 kilometers in Niagara and will run through to the end of January. Attracting over 1 million visitors annually, this incredible spectacle is Canada’s largest lights festival. Just imagine a breathtaking, colourful scene with millions of sparkling lights and animated displays that extends to Dufferin Islands. And yes, it’s completely free to attend!

When: Now until the end of January
Where: Niagara Falls

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
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West

Evergreen Winter Village

What: Roast s’mores over the open campfire and enjoy warm beverages from the Sipping Container while shopping or playing street curling at this Winter Village. Hungry for more? Look forward to a rotating line-up of food trucks serving up comfort foods ranging from crêpes to gourmet grilled cheese, and more.

When: Weekends in December and weekdays from December 26 to 29, 10 am to 5 pm
Where: 550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto

Free Street Curling

WhatStreet Curling is coming to the Winter Village at Evergreen Brick Works this winter and it’ll be FREE to play! The synthetic ice sheet will be open every day of the Winter Village from 10 am to 5 pm. It’s available on a first-come basis and will be located under the covered pavilions alongside other activities including ball hockey, bocce ball, an indoor board game lounge, and a rotating line-up of food trucks

When: Weekends in December and weekdays from December 26 to 29, 10 am to 5 pm
550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto

Light Up the Beach

What: Now in its 10th year, Light Up the Beach features more than 80,000 twinkling Christmas lights along the Toronto Beaches boardwalk to support The Michael Garron Hospital Foundation. The light display is truly a sight to see and a holiday tradition that every Torontonian should enjoy.

When: December 1, 7 pm until mid-February
Where: At the foot of Leuty Avenue, The Beach, Toronto

CBC Toronto’s Sounds of the Season

What: Enjoy this annual charity drive to help support local food banks. Admission is free, but if you can, please bring a cash or food donation. See live radio and television broadcasts of CBC shows including Metro Morning, Here and Now and CBC Toronto News.

When: December 1, 5:30 am to 7 pm
Where: CBC Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front Street West

Burlington Festival of Lights

What: The Burlington Festival of Lights is the city’s longest-running festival, which lights up the waterfront from dusk to dawn over the holiday season. Now in its 22nd year, the festival will feature 60 festive displays that can be viewed up close or from the warmth of your car.

When: December 1 to January 8th
Where: Spencer Smith Park, Burlington, Ontario

Fair in the Square

What: This massive holiday market and winter carnival located outside Toronto City Hall kicks off on December 1 and runs until the day before Christmas Eve. Look forward to holiday shopping, an ice bar, and plenty of festive foods including a two-handed festive feast dubbed Deep Fried Christmas, plus Beavertails, poutine, fudge, and more.

When: December 1 to 23
Where: Nathan Phillips Square

Free unicorn treats from Le Dolci

What: To celebrate the opening of Le Dolci’s Scarborough Town Centre location, the bakeshop is planning a day full of music, samples, and balloons. Additionally, the first 100 people through the doors will get a mini unicorn cake or unicorn cupcake!

When: December 2, 10 am
Where: Le Dolci Scarborough Town Centre, 300 Borough Drive, Scarborough

Berczy Park Cavalcade of Lights

What: Torontonians are invited to come and celebrate the holiday season with Toronto’s Old Town community at is annual Cavalcade of Lights. During the park’s official tree lighting ceremony, visitors will also be able to enjoy traditional Victorian Christmas carol singers, and free hot chocolate and apple cider under the park’s beautiful holiday tree.

When: December 2, 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm
Where: Berczy Park, 35 Wellington Street East 

Milton Pop-Up Holiday Market

What: Milton’s pop-up Holiday Street Market, from the founder of Toronto’s Mac and Cheese Festival is putting on “Ontario’s largest authentic outdoor holiday market.” Expect an open concept street market complete with 242 artisan vendors selling all the holiday classics from gingerbread cookies to hot apple cider to one-of-a-kind gifts and crafts.

When: December 2, 9, and 16 from noon until 7 pm
Where: Along Main Street from Brown Street to Commercial in Milton

Barley’s Angels Pop-Up Market

What: This annual Christmas Market in a brewery offers the chance to do some holiday shopping while sipping beers and winning prizes.

When: December 3, 3 pm to 6 pm
Where: Granite Brewery, 245 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto

Liberty Village Holiday Bash

What: The Liberty Village BIA invites you to the first annual holiday bash on December 5.  Make sure to wear your ugliest holiday sweaters, as there will be prizes for the craziest holiday getup.

When: December 5, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Where: Toronto Carpet Factory, 67 Mowat Avenue

Taste of Regent Park’s Holiday Market

What: Come and shop for unique gifts from local vendors, delicious local food, free soup and fresh baked pretzels from park bake oven, gingerbread cookie decorating, raffles and more.

When: December 7, 5 pm to 8 pm
Where: Regent Park Community Food Centre, 40 Oak Street

Winter at Ontario Place

What: Ontario Place will be welcoming a new festival this December: Winter at Ontario Place. The new festival will feature various winter-themed activities including the Winter Light Exhibition, skating on the new synthetic skating rink and film screenings at the newly re-opened Cinesphere.

When:  December 8 to March 18,  2018
Where: Ontario Place

Long Winter

What: Long Winter is officially back and is a monthly arts and music event filled with incredible talent. The event is pay what you can, so any kind of donation is greatly appreciated to support the talent!

When: December 9, 7 pm to 2 am
Where: Polish Combatants Hall, 206 Beverley Street

Free Screening: Tales of Two Cities

What: Calling all movie buffs! Join Tafelmusik and the Tales of Two Cities creative team for the launch of Tafelmusik Media’s newest DVD/CD, featuring a FREE screening of the performance that was filmed before a live audience at the Aga Khan Museum last December.

When: December 10, 2 pm to 4 pm
Where: Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive

Post-a-Letter: Holiday Edition

What: Come and enjoy paper crafts and festive treats, as you catch up on your holiday correspondence and mail your letters to Santa.

When: December 11, 12 pm to 4 pm
Where: Toronto’s First Post Office Museum, 260 Adelaide East

Best of LGBT Short Film Festival

What: Come and enjoy a showcase of the best LGBT themed short films from around the world today. There will be films from Canada, the US, UK, and South Africa presented. These are simply the best short films made in the last year.

When: December 11, 7 pm to 9 pm
Where: Carlton Cinemas, 20 Carlton Street

Hannukah Kick-off Party

What: The Jewish holiday kicks off the at The Drake Hotel with this complimentary Hanukkah Feast courtesy of Bespoke ButchersLox & Schmear, Mad Maple + Rosen’s Cinnamon Buns. Look forward to chopped liver, latkes, lox, and rugelach.

When: December 11, 8 pm
Where: The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen Street West, Toronto

Hot Docs’ Free Holiday Classics Screenings

What: Come and get into the holiday spirit at a free screening of your favourite holiday movies! Hot Docs Cinema will be hosting free screenings of Elf, A Christmas Story, Love Actually, and more!

When: December 16 to 22
Where: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West

Toronto Etsy Christmas Market

What: If you’re looking to give more one-of-a-kind gifts this holiday season, you’ll find them at the 4th annual Etsy Christmas Market. Hosted by the Toronto Etsy street team, this festive marketplace will feature awesome handmade, vintage, and delicious wares all made by the team members.

When: December 16, 11 am
Church of St. Stephen in-the-Fields, 365 College Street

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: December 16 to February 17 (Saturday’s from 8 pm to 11 pm)
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West

Christmas Joy

What: Come and enjoy a fun evening of games, crafts, and activities, followed by a story, music, and even a delicious turkey dinner!

When: December 20, 5:30 pm to 7 pm
Where: Hope United Church, 2550 Danforth

NYE at Nathan Phillips Square

What: Nathan Phillips Square is hosting a massive New Year’s Eve celebration to ring in 2018. The final send-off to the year-long celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday will kick off at 8 pm at Toronto’s City Hall and will include an exhilarating evening of entertainment with dynamic DJ’s, live electronic music, site animations, a DJ skating party sponsored by Tim Horton’s and a stunning fireworks display at midnight.

When: December 31, 2017
Where: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West, Toronto