There are literally hundreds of thousands of post-secondary students in Toronto. Hundreds. Of. Thousands. On top of that, there’s that glorious period of time following your graduation where you can’t (technically) use your student discount but definitely can’t afford regular prices. Fear not, my impoverished friends. Listed below are many ways to enjoy the arts and culture of the 6ix for the cost of one drink or less.
- Free Museum Days
Toronto is full of wonderful museums to keep your brain full of information even after you’ve closed the textbooks. Most have evenings when they are free to the public, so you can get all that glorious knowledge without paying a fraction of what you shelled out for Accounting 101, Thirteenth Edition.
- The AGO permanent collection is free on Wednesdays from 6-9pm. Ditch the backpack so you won’t have to wait in line at coat-check.
- The Aga Khan (museum of “Islamic art, Iranian art and Muslim culture”) is free on Wednesdays from 4-8pm.
- The Bata Shoe Museum (close to U of T campus) is always free!
- The CBC museum (on the main floor of the Toronto Broadcasting Centre) is always free!
- The ROM is free for full-time postsecondary students on Tuesdays. Hit it up before you graduate…or in the summer after, before you have to let go of student status.
- Small Art Galleries
Channel your inner hipster or bohemian art connoisseur and hit up a small art gallery. Not only will you be exposing yourself to the talent of emerging local artists, but they generally don’t cost anything to attend. Take your lazy Sunday afternoon and wander into one of these sophisticated spaces:
- The Black Cat (Dundas and Roncesvalles)
- Cooper Cole Gallery (Dufferin and Dupont)
- Clint Roenisch Gallery (St Helens Ave, near Bloor and Landsdowne Ave)
- Ryerson Artspace at the Gladstone Hotel on Queen Street West
- PWYC Theatre
“Pay What You Can” means just that. Although there is usually a suggested amount, if you can’t pay it, then you don’t have to. These theatres are all high quality, and they’re inviting you to come enjoy their productions without breaking the bank. Take them up on it.
- Factory Theatre has “Toonie Tuesdays”, aka $2 previews
- Théâtre Français de Toronto has PWYC Wednesday and Thursday evenings
- CanStage has PWYC Tuesdays (suggested $20)
- Buddies in Bad Times has PWYC Sunday matinees
- Theatre Passe Muraille has PWYC Saturday & Sunday matinees (suggested $15)
- Open Mic Music
If you can’t afford Beyoncé or Coldplay tickets, an open mic is the next best thing. It’s a courtesy to the establishment to buy a drink once you’re there, but keep it to one and you’re in the money. These spots are known to host awesome open mic’s, so you can be the first among your friends to know about a burgeoning talent, or showcase your own!
- The Painted Lady (Dundas West and Ossington) Mondays at 10pm, signup at 9pm
- The Supermarket’s (Kensington) “Freef’all Sundays” at 8pm, signup at 7pm or via Facebook
- The Old Nick (Danforth at Broadview) Tuesdays 8-11pm
- Relish (Danforth at Woodbine) “Stir It Up Sundays” 9:30pm-2am
- Open Mic Comedy
Alright, this one’s not so artsy…but it’s great fun. Similar to open mic music, buy one drink and you’re golden. You can even get away with just having water if someone in your group buys a drink and you’re really counting the pennies, but we all know comedy is better with alcohol. Laugh away your anxiety over your undetermined future at one of these spots: