Toronto Tailor-made for Shoestring Budgets

Having lived in London and spent time in many of the World’s largest cities, I can honestly say that I have found nowhere as accessible as Toronto for quality cheap or next to nothing entertainment.
This list is by no means exhaustive and I will add as I learn more.
Knock yourself Out!

Theatre & Comedy
National Theatre of the World – look out for NTOW’s Baram and Sniekus who practice their particular brand of improvised comedy all over Toronto but can often be found on Friday evenings at the John Candy Theatre (Second City training theatre) on Peter Street – Pwyc

Shakespeare in the Ruff puts on amazing Shakespeare adaptations every summer in Withrow Park

Same goes for Canadian Stage’s High Park Shakespeare Productions running June 26 through to September 1.

Jazz & Blues
The following primarily operate on a tip- jar payment system so essentially pwyc
Gate 403

The Rex Hotel

The Winchester Kitchen

The Monarch Pub at the Eaton Chelsea pub has music – jazz and blues every night. No cover
See website for details

Want to play a board game, do a jigsaw, play pinball on a vintage machine, draw something?
Unlike many of other “Board Game cafes” 3030 does not charge a cover for you to exercise your creativity – help yourself on first-come first-serve basis. Just buy a drink or two and your evening’s entertainment is sorted for the price of that drink

For $7 return take a Ferry over to Toronto Islands.
Ward and Algonquin Island for boardwalk cute cottage community and gardens, Hanlan’s Point for beaches and shady dappled trails. Centre Island for Amusement Park/Bike hire, pier, busy kid friendly beaches etc.
TIP: The best way to avoid the enormous queues in the summer and if there are a few of you likely to be visiting the Islands a couple of times a year. Buy a string of 10 tickets for $63 and march straight through the lines and onto the ferry.

Summerlicious and Winterlicious foodie events ensure that the most cash strapped amongst us can enjoy a slap-up meal in a host of Toronto’s more high-end restaurant.
lunch is best value with a fixed price
menu for generally $25 for 2/3 courses and dinner more expensive at $35/$40.

Visit the AGO for free on Wednesday evenings after 5pm

Visit the ROM at a reduced price on Friday nights after 4pm

Ripleys Aquarium
If you live in town and you love Aquariums then the most cost effective way of visiting again and again is to buy an annual membership for $100
Whilst this is hardly “shoestring ” speak; when you consider that the cost of an individual ticket is almost $40 – you do the math…..
Subscribe to their newsletter too as they frequently have deals for students…

Hart House offers free tours of their eclectic art collection – check website

Go for an Art Gallery crawl along Tecumseth Street or Queen Street West – many gallery owners are happy to show interested parties around the work they are profiling in their spaces.

Last but not least sign up for Groupon, Buytopia, Yipit and Travel zoo to get huge discounts and deals on local restaurants , museums and experiences ( and of course products)

Over and Out



Best Things about “The Junction” district Toronto

English: Looking east down Dundas Street West ...

Encompassing the Dundas street west and stretching from DuPont west of Wallace all the way east over to High Park , this originally heavily industrialized section of Toronto was home to the massive Foundries and Factories that supported Toronto’s burgeoning turn of the century Rail network. As you would expect in an area born out of the industrial rail era, The Junction’s main artery – Dundas Street West – has antique, bric a brac and architectural salvage stores all competing in the lineup with the Victorian era red brick buildings that dominate this upcoming and hip part of town. More like an old fashioned British high street than a suburb of Toronto, the boom in church and factory loft restorations in the area has led to an influx of super cool loft dwellers that has ensured a ready market for these businesses and their support acts: the kitschy and quirky coffee shops, delis, brew pubs and restaurants.

Wallace &Co
Still has quirky store signs all over window so bizarrely the first thing you notice is the “Soda comic books” sign on the main window of the corner front of this diner/espresso bar
Full of Junction trendies in this upcoming part of the city
299 Wallace Street

Curry Twist
Tiny and designed inventively – on a shoestring, this was a hard-earned find.
Now it’s on our radar and its deliciousness etched on our taste buds we won’t be going to any other Indian restaurant on Toronto – EVER

Check out the following too:
Cafe Neon– Wallace Street – great coffee, breakfast in cool urban loft space
The Farmhouse Tavern – interesting tractor/all things farm decor: oysters a speciality : enticingly inventive cocktails and good patio. Check opening times as these vary.
The Pie Shack on Annette – pies, pies and just pies (and coffee/tea) Best home- made pie in town. Cute interior space with some board games – tiny apron of outside space for a couple of tables and a doghouse (and why not!)

Cafe Creme
Cool hand of a girl
Crema Coffee
Amani Earls

Indie Brewing company
3030 on Dundas West (Bring your creativity with you here for boardgames/drawing/quiz nights/vintage pinball machines).

Post & Beam Reclamation
Forever Interiors


Over and Out

Toronto’s Most Unusual Dining Venues Part 3 – for the Experience

Sultan's Tent

Sultan’s Tent (Photo credit: Henna Sooq)




O ‘Noir
Led by a blind host into the blanketing darkness ( were talking black and some!)” of the dining room puts all your other senses on high alert particularly when it comes to tasting food you cannot see!
This may appear to be a sort of voyeurism without vision but you can enjoy this most unique sensory culinary experience knowing that it is a dining concept with a conscience – set up to give sighted folk an insight into the world of the blind and in this respect it totally delivers.

Mysteriously Yours
How about dinner served with dash of innuendo and a hint of murder.
This is nicely done, fast-paced and lewdly witty and with minimal humiliation reserved for those set up by friends and family prior to the evening!
The food is incidental when booking a dinner venue like this; however it is surprisingly good and when coupled with the dinner- long entertainment, great value for money.

Sultans Tent and Cafe Moroc
Midnight at the Oasis in downtown Toronto. Immerse yourself in the exotic culture of North Africa and enjoy an exuberant evening of belly-dancing entertainment and exquisite delicately seasoned Moroccan fare amidst the exotic jewel and spice-coloured hues of tented lounges and Moroccan themed decor.

Guu Izakaya on Church
Shout “Guu is Guuu’d!”
Shout “Kampai” (cheers) as you raise a glass
In fact shout just about anything because shouting and noise is the hallmark of the GUU brand’s energetic version of an authentic Japanese Pub (Izakaya)
Serving an eclectic selection of Japanese dishes and a wide selection of sake – try the plum varieties

> 3030 Dundas West
Slated to become one of Toronto’s next landmark venues this vast warehouse space houses a stellar dining and entertainment concept. Order your drink and/or your food – small plate tapas-style food freshly prepared from $5 a dish – then choose a board game or puzzle; play pinball on the vintage machines or watch VHS tapes playing on a “true vision” set. Fancy drawing something -knock yourself out!
Check the website for the many events (DJ/live music/quiz nights)


Over and Out