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Thrifty Toronto

Brookfield Place hosts the World Press Photo Exhibition. Photo courtesy of Brookfield Place.

Some autumn standbys are too appealing to miss: Apple picking, harvest fairs, corn mazes and, of course, strolls through the fiery fall foliage. But the season also offers an array of unusual (and inexpensive) suspects in and around Toronto, from a vintage fashion foray and all-night arts extravaganza to “haunted” hikes and craft-beer crawls. So whether your autumnal tastes are conventional or cutting-edge, there’s sure to be something thrifty for you on this list.

Live hockey at Maple Leaf Gardens
Are you old enough to miss the days of $12 tickets for games at Maple Leaf Gardens? You certainly won’t find that kind of pricing at the Air Canada Centre — try adding at least one zero — but it’s still available at Ryerson Rams home games. The men’s and women’s teams take on Canadian Interuniversity Sport rivals throughout the fall in the Mattamy Athletic Centre, located inside the refurbished Maple Leaf Gardens. To put that in perspective, adult admission costs the same as a beer, give or take, at the ACC.

Craft Beer Passport
Speaking of beer, Ontario produces an impressive array of craft brews, and the $20 Craft Beer Passport lets you sample dozens of them at 20 taverns across town. A menu of three beers is available at each stop, with 12-ounce servings costing a paltry toonie (some bars will let you upgrade to a pint for $1.50 more). Your passport will get stamped at each stop, so you’d better get crawling: The current round of passports expires November 30.

Country studio tours
Free art crawls of a more pastoral nature take place across the countryside surrounding the GTA in fall. There’s the Images Thanksgiving Studio Tour, which features more than 30 artists in 19 locations across Simcoe County from October 9 to 12. The Guelph Studio Tour highlights 42 artists and artisans from October 16 to 18, while the more compact Dundas Studio Tour covers 29 artists at six locations on October 3 and 4.
Simcoe Tour Website
Dundas Tour Website
Guelph Tour Website

For something more urban, these free guided walking tours of downtown Toronto’s historic neighbourhoods are hosted by the Royal Ontario Museum’s Department of Museum Volunteers. Sunday afternoon outings this fall cover the old Town of York (October 4) and the judicial, administrative and commercial heart of the city that’s bounded by Yonge, University, Dundas and Queen streets (October 11). A wider range of walks are available to ROM members.
Search all ROMwalks

World Press Photo
The jaw-dropping Brookfield Place atrium alone is worth the (non-existent) price of admission. But from September 30 to October 20, this stunning annual exhibit of photojournalism — sourced from submissions to the largest photography press contest in the world — makes “free” seem like even better value.

Vintage Crawl Toronto
From Little Portugal to the Garden District, more than 40 of the city’s vintage fashion vendors will keep their doors open until 11 p.m. on October 8, with free wine and snacks on hand and rocking tunes keeping the shopping (or browsing) sprees lively.  Catch Filthy Rebena at the Yukon Bar!
Event Information

Camper Halloween
Can’t wait for October 31? Do you miss summer camping? Bronte Creek Provincial Park, 30 minutes west down the QEW, is offering some spooky outdoor fun on the two weekends before Halloween. Saturday activities include a campsite decorating contest followed by a “haunted” evening hike and tent-to-tent trick or treating.

Art at the Harbourfront Centre
If you’re looking for a reason to check out the revamped Queens Quay waterfront, look no further than the Harbourfront Centre’s free fall art exhibitions. Five new displays embrace a culinary theme, with 27 artists using visual arts, photography, and craft and design to explore our relationship with food in all its complexity.
Map & Address

Source: Adam Bisby |

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