As the holiday season ends and we ring in the new year, we often find ourselves reflecting back on the past twelve months. Between purchasing gifts for family and friends, indulging on expensive champagne, and splurging on plane tickets, we may notice that our wallets feel quite empty after a relaxing and eventful winter break. However, as we mourn the loss of money, this doesn’t mean we must grieve over our lost social lives too.
Here are 10 fun and frugal activities to do in Winter 2019 that won’t break the bank or strain your wallet.
If you’re tired of sitting at home scrolling through Bird Box memes or re-watching Bandersnatch, then lace up your skates and hit the ice. There are endless ice rinks in Mississauga, Brampton, and Toronto that offer free admission to the public. One of the closest options to campus is the rink at Celebration Square, but if you’re looking to skate in shapes other than plain old circles, we suggest that you check out: the figure-8 Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail in Etobicoke, the figure-8 Bentway trail beneath the Gardiner Expressway, or Brampton’s Gage Park Outdoor skating trail. Most rinks remain open until mid-March, weather permitting.
Allan Gardens Conservatory:
Looking to escape the cold and hang out indoors? You can visit the Allan Gardens Conservatory for free and browse through their six greenhouses. From tropical plants like bromeliads, to cacti and succulents, this conservatory may help distract you from the winter blues. You can also visit their Winter Flower Show, for free, until January 9, 2019.
Trinity Bellwoods Flea Market:
On January 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can browse through the vendors at the Trinity Bellwoods Park “New Year Flea Market.” Admission is free, but you can purchase local goods and edible treats.
The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery:
You can visit The Power Plant, located on Queens Quay W, for free all year around. The gallery is currently closed for the installation of the Winter 2019 exhibitions which open on January 26, 2019, which will host three more exhibits by Alicia Henry, Omar Ba, and Shuvinai Ashoona. On January 25, there will be a free public opening party between 8-11pm.
Toronto Light Festival:
From January 18 to March 3, 2019, the Distillery Historic District will host its third consecutive Toronto Light Festival. The event will feature local and international art exhibits that use light forms as their medium of expression. The festival is free for the public and people are encouraged to enjoy the light during the “cold, dark days of winter.”
Fire and Ice Winter Festival:
Located in rural Caledon on the weekend of January 19, 2018, this festival will feature an after-dusk fire sculpture, food and drink, all day skating, curling, and art workshops. Admission is pay what you can, but the suggested donation is $10 per adult.
The Dance Cave:
Located upstairs at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, The Dance Cave is free with student ID for those 19 years and older every Friday and Saturday night. For those who want to escape the winter chill and stay indoors, we recommend checking out this venue for live music and entertainment. For the remaining Fridays and Saturdays in January, you can join DJ Trevor as he plays indie tunes or DJ Pat as he bumps alternative tracks. If you forget your student ID, cover is $10.
From February 9 to February 10, 2019, you can visit the Bloor-Yorkville IceFest and explore over 70,000 pounds of ice sculptures. This event is in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Admission is free.
From February 18 to April 1, 2019, Woodbine Beach will host the fifth year of Winter Stations, an international design competition of temporary public art installations. The 2019 theme is Migration, and the exhibit will allow six artists to transform six lifeguard stations into artwork. The installations will feature artists from places like Mexico, Poland, and even our very own Mississauga. The event is free to the public.
The fourth year of Toronto’s Sugar Shack will be held on March 9 and March 10, 2019. Admission is free, but you can purchase authentic Ontario maple taffy, browse the Winter Marketplace, view ice sculptures, listen to live music, and witness maple sugaring demonstrations.