December on the Cheap! 2016

Toronto Zoo Treats and Talks

The holiday season is now officially upon us and we're highlighting all the Free and Cheap events happening this December for all sorts of holiday fun and much more!

Here's what's Free and Cheap this December...

Santa Claus Parades in the GTA
Various dates in December
Santa will be bringing some holiday cheer to Toronto and the GTA with this season's Santa Claus parades. See which city streets Santa will be hitting this month!
More info

Cineplex Family Favourites for December
Saturdays in December
Join Cineplex on Saturday mornings at 11:00 am for Family Favourites. Watch a family favourite film each week for only $2.99. It's a fun and affordable way to enjoy the weekend with your family! Get the list for December.
More info

Free Admission on Wednesday Nights at the AGO
Weekly on Wednesdays
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is an art museum in Toronto's Downtown Grange Park district, on Dundas Street West between McCaul Street and Beverley Street. Its collection includes more than 80,000 works spanning the 1st century to the present-day. The gallery has 45,000 square metres (480,000 sq ft) of physical space, making it one of the largest galleries in North America.
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Rouge Park Guided Walks
Various dates in December
Winter is on the way... the Holiday Season is here, all we need is a proper Toronto snow to complete the package! Add a Parks Canada guided hike to your holiday plans. The Rouge is transforming all the time and you don't want to miss it! Free admission.
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The Natrel® Rink at Harbourfront
Now Open!
Set against the beautiful shoreline of Lake Ontario, the city's most scenic rink awaits! The Natrel Rink has been an unparalleled skating destination in Toronto for 30 years. It has a heated indoor change room with lockers and washrooms. Best of all – skating is FREE! Hot food and drinks are available at our rink-side restaurant, Boxcar Social.  
More info

Toronto Christmas Market
Ongoing to December 22, 2016
Guests are invited to rediscover the magic and romance of Christmas by taking in stunning light canopies, enjoying unique shopping experiences, traditional music and dance performances, and activities for the whole family to enjoy. Foodies will also have the opportunity to taste traditional European street-style food and delicacies and Canadian homemade treats. Free during the week. Admission on weekends.
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A Visit with Santa at Markville
Ongoing to December 24, 2016
The man in red is back in town and he can’t wait to see you again! Come see Santa while he’s visiting from the North Pole and have your picture taken together. And be sure to book ahead so that you can skip the lineup and get back to the good stuff – wrapping gifts and counting down how many more sleeps until the big day. A Visit with Santa is FREE, picture prices vary depending on the package purchased. 
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Bloor-Yorkville Holiday Magic
Ongoing to December 31, 2016
Join us for the official lighting ceremony and kick-off to Holiday Magic! Enjoy complimentary hot apple cider and cookies. See Bloor-Yorkville transformed into a magical holiday wonderland! Free.
More info

Spectacle of Lights on Toronto's Waterfront
Ongoing to January 1, 2017
Witness three stunning illuminated sights this holiday season during the Spectacle of Lights on Toronto’s Waterfront. See the Toronto Music Garden come alive with a fully-animated lighting experience where music notes, harps and canopy will be shining bright over 39,000 long-life, low-energy LED lights. Free.
More info

Once Upon a Time: Fairy Tales from the Osborne Collection
Ongoing to January 15, 2017
Princesses, fairies, giants and beasts. This enchanting exhibit celebrates best-loved fairy tales through books, toys, games and art from Toronto Public Library’s Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books. From the original tales of Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm to Edward Gorey and Walt Disney, see how classic fairy and folk tales have been re-imagined over the last 300 years. PLUS: free talks, tours and special events for the whole family. Free.
More info

Holiday Market and Open House at Toronto Botanical Gardens
December 1, 2016
Stroll through the halls decked with holiday cheer and stocked with handcrafted and nature-inspired gifts, home décor, seasonal greens, forced bulbs, local honey, unique terrariums and home-baked treats, as well as all the usual Organic Farmers' Market produce and products. Free admission.
More info

Holiday Open House at Canadian Automotive Museum
December 2, 2016
Join us for our annual Holiday Open House at the Canadian Automotive Museum. This year's theme is Open Hoods, with many of the museum's engines open for display. Live music will fill the galleries while visitors can partake in festive treats and crafts. Tours will be available throughout the evening. This event is free, but donations are appreciated.
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Solar Observing at Ontario Science Centre
December 3, 2016
Safely observe the sun with specially filtered telescopes. Learn about our nearest star and try your eye at spotting exotic surface features, including sunspots, spicules and prominences. This program is offered by members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Free.
More info

Bookmarkers: a Creative Book Series for Young Kids and their Parents
December 4, 2016
For this edition of our Bookmarkers series, we’ve invited award-winning author Sara O’Leary, as well as award-winning illustrator Qin Leng, to read from and talk about their latest children’s book, A Family is a Family is a Family. When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways — but the same in the one way that matters most of all. Plus, cartoonist Jonathan Rotsztain will also be joining our Bookmarkers conversation, featuring an intergenerational comics project with grandparents and grandkids. In conjunction with their informal readings and presentations, all three artists will lead interactive creative writing, drawing and collaborative comics-making activities, with a focus on creativity, expression and FUN! Free admission.
More info

Santa in the Junction
December 4, 2016
Join us in the Junction neighbourhood for a full day of Christmas themed activities and shopping at the annual Santa in the Junction event. The major attractions include a visit from Santa and his elves at the Junction Train Platform, and a street wide market theme spanning the neighborhood. Free.
More info

The Union Station Holiday Market
December 5, 2016 to December 16, 2016
Toronto Market Co.’s Union Station Holiday Market showcases unique merchandise from specialty retail vendors, artisans, designers, food merchants and cultural institutions.  A destination for Torontonians and visitors to browse, shop and embrace the holiday spirit. Free admission.
More info

Holiday Fair in Nathan Phillips Square
December 8, 2016 to December 23, 2016
In the heart of Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square, the Holiday Fair in the Square runs December 8th – 23rd. Combining the charm and elegance of a traditional European Christmas market with the excitement and allure of a thriving winter carnival, Fair in the Square is guaranteed to become a Toronto holiday tradition. Lots of family fun: Meet with Santa, a Holly Jolly Midway, Entertainers and more. Free admission.
More info

Free Kids Building Workshop at Home Depot
December 10, 2016
Build a gingerbread man candy dish on Saturday, December 10, 2016 – 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Kids will learn how to build a candy dish with easy to follow step-by-step instructions. Kids' projects can be painted in-store. Please dress appropriately for painting. FREE Hands-on Workshops designed for children ages 5 – 12.
More info

Humber Arboretum Winter Bird Count for Kids
December 10, 2016
Introduce your kids (or yourself!) to the wonders of winter bird watching with this special citizen science event for nature lovers of all ages and skill levels. Learn about the birds you can see at the Humber Arboretum and the work being done by Bird Studies Canada, get tips on bird-watching tools and techniques, and - most importantly - get outside with experienced birders and see who your group can spot on the Arboretum grounds and at the feeders in our new bird-friendly garden. Free.
More info

Free Holiday Bounce and Concert
December 10, 2016
Springfree Trampoline invites you to join us for an afternoon of bouncing, treats, crafts and a special performance by Team T&J at 3PM. All activities are free of charge and in celebration of the holiday season! 
More info 

City of Craft
December 10, 2016 to December 11, 2016
Toronto's largest independently-run, juried craft show that runs in December featuring craft-based installations, free workshops, and craft-related programming in local businesses and galleries, attracting approximately 5,000 attendees. City of Craft takes place on the second weekend of December (the 10th and 11th), with an opening party on the evening of Friday, December 9th. Admission is $2. Free for kids 12 and under.
More info

Evergreen's Winter Village
December 10, 2016 to January 8, 2017
Celebrate the holiday season at Evergreen's Winter Village at the Brick Works! Enjoy the new Street Food Market, find unique gifts, shop the Farmers Market and play outdoors all throughout December. Admission is free!
More info

It’s a Wonderful Christmas
December 10, 2016 to December 11, 2016
On December 10 & 11, the hilarious musical comedy It's a Wonderful Christmas is returning to the Christian Performing Arts stage. This fun-filled, family favorite is sure to delight audiences of all ages with it's Broadway style dancing and singing in a magnificent Christmas display. It’s a Wonderful Christmas is an original story that mixes the classics “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” into a Christmas adventure unlike any other. Tickets are only $5.
More info 

Uncle Neil and Friends Annual Toy Drive Show
December 11, 2016
We invite you to help us make dreams come true this Christmas! On Sunday December 11th bring a toy and your family to The Birchmount and enjoy free activities for kids.  Face painting, cookie decorating, super heroes, arts and crafts, a visit from Santa and so much more. All while rocking out with the Toy Drive house band. Free but toy donation requested.

Trinity Bellwoods Flea Local Holiday Market
December 17, 2016 to December 18, 2016
Skip the lines and the crowds this holiday season and find the special gift for that special someone on your list all in one place. Join us December 17th and 18th 11am-6pm for a truly one of a kind holiday shopping experience. We brought back all your favorite handmade, local, art and vintage vendors and artisans to bring you a diverse and truly gift-worthy selection of goods. Sure to please everyone on your list! Two days, two spectacular line-ups of vendors all for one truly local holiday market. Free admission.
More info

DJ Skate Night at Harbourfront
December 17, 2016 to February 18, 2017
This winter, sharpen your skates and skills as Harbourfront Centre’s DJ Skate Nights return to the Natrel Rink. Get ready for nine weeks of non-stop dancing every Saturday night (excluding December 24) as DJs drop electrifying beats guaranteed to keep the city grooving all night. Free admission.
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Power Kids: Impressive Impressions
December 18, 2016
These FREE arts workshops for children ages 7-12 begin with a tour of the gallery and conclude with an art activity, inspired by the ideas behind the current exhibition. Tours and workshops are led by Nadijah Robinson, Power Kids Family Programs Coordinator and assisted by Erica Cristobal, Power Kids Teaching Assistant.
More info

Toronto Zoo Treats and Talks
December 26, 2016
The Toronto Zoo is the place to be on Boxing Day! Enjoy 50% off admission all day and check out our extensive Keeper Talk Program that offers a fun holiday theme and delightful seasonal treats for the Zoo's animals. Please bring a non-perishable food item for the Daily Bread Food Bank and any old cellphones to help support the Great Apes Conservation program.
More info

Note: Lowes will not be holding their monthly Kids Building Workshops Build and Grow, for November and December.

More Free Events for December
We continuously update our Events Calendar so there may be more free and cheap events taking place in December! Check back on this page as it will be updated or CLICK HERE to get a list from our Calendar of Events. It's already been sorted by Free Events for the month! 

Photo credit: Toronto Zoo
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