One of the best things I loved about living in Toronto was the summers there. For me really the summer starts early with Luminato and doesn’t end until the Labor Day fireworks.
Do you want to have a fun exciting summer in Toronto?
You definitely can and it doesn’t have to put a dent in your wallet either.
For me and Roo for the past few summers our plans began with Luminato. If you have not been to this event, it is one to put on your calendar and guess what it starts this weekend! One of my most treasured memories is Roo leading the salsa dance class with the instructor, and her being chatted up by none other then Mayor David Miller while she was getting her face painted. For us we love this event and guess what a huge amount of the events are FREE.
The next thing we always start to do is swim at the city pools and hit the Beaches. Both of these are free and good for summer fun and fitness.
By then it is Canada Day and this city has many venues you can hit for a frugal Canada Day, for us because we lived in East York we always packed a lunch and headed to Stan Ludlow Park for a day of fun and fireworks. Downsview Park and Ashbridges Bay are also hot spots on this day.
Usually the first week in July we would also hit the library and enroll in the summer reading program. This is something Roo loves to do. In the summer we hit the library about once a week for great lazy day reads.
One the websites I use most to create a fun summer schedule is Kid Summer. There are a number of events that you can preregister for but there also many events that are free for kids when a parent buys and Adult Admission. We did the CN Tower, the Toronto Zoo, and the Ontario Science Center all as well as National Film Board.
We also made great use of the splash parks. There usually is a good one in every neighbourhood. We loved the small wading pool at one of our local parks. We also made good use of the pool at Monarch park, after all a summer day is only better with a swim in an outdoor pool.
There also free movies at Downsview Park. Everyone enjoys a good flick, right? Bring your popcorn.
There is also the Sun Life Muesem Art Pass that can give a family a free way into the museums. Check here for more information on the program.
There are also many festivals and events that we loved that are part of the summer time makeup of Toronto. Our favorites were Caribana and Taste of the Danforth.Don’t miss the Caribana Parade.For a great list of festivals and events in Toronto check here. Many events are free.
If it was a rainy day we often went to Woody Woodchucks in Scarborough.
This summer with soda of any size being only $1 I see the McDonald’s playlands being full as well.
You can cash in a few of your Airmiles Points and hit up a Blue Jays Game. There is nothing like a day at the ballpark, and we love it when they have kid days.
You can also have your tween or teen child do some acts of service this summer. Last summer Roo did a month long service challenge. Each day she thought up a new way to serve and help somebody else out. Some of the things she did: had a lemonade stand(donated the money), gave older clothes that no longer fit to new immigrant family on the street, held a door open, helped the neighbor with yard work and the list went on. We celebrated the end of it with an ice cream party.
As well we always ended our summer with a trip to the CNE. It was a family tradition. I can remember my dad taking us girls when we were little and one of the things about the CNE there is so much to do that is free so you can be pretty frugal with your visit.
Roo and I in the summer would spend about $15 a week for our summer fun in Toronto. Most of this was spent on our weekly tradition of an ice cream cone from the truck that came by our street, and the occasional pick up from a street vendor. If we were going to the park, beach, library we would take snacks and the like with us. This is what made it frugal. The only huge splurge was going to the CNE, but we bought passes at Shoppers Drugs using Optimum Points, we packed snacks, and had a $20 limit for the games and $20 for special treats . You can also now get CNE passes by cashing in Airmiles.
Now if you dont live in Toronto that is okay alot of these ideas can be transfered to where you are! Most cities have active park and rec programs, most libraries offer summer reading programs and there are always local festivals and well McDonalds is everywhere. Please remember you can have a great fun filled summer and it can even leave cents in your pocket book.
Please let me know what you think of the list. Are there any other ways to have a fabulously frugal summer in Toronto?