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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at York U chapter.

Life is expensive. Whether it’s paying off student debt, car payments, or insurance, we all have financial commitments to tend to. 

Toronto is a beautiful city, rich in culture and experiences. Unfortunately, its chronic metropolitan essence means it’s also expensive. 

As a student, I totally understand the desire to have a good time and do activities on a small budget. I’ve been a Torotonian all my life, so I’ve acquired some activities to do on a budget. Here are some cheap activities to enjoy during a Toronto summer. 

Centre Island

Believe it or not, Toronto has a small island in the heart of downtown called Centre Island. The Jack Layton Ferry Terminal is located near Queen’s Quay W and Bay St (9 Queen’s Quay West). It’s about a 10-minute walk from Union Station. The cost to use the ferry to centre island is $8.50 for anyone over 19 years old. This includes the ride there and back. 

The Ferry ride itself is about 10-15 minutes. It’s beautiful as it displays Toronto’s city skyline. The farther the boat departs, the more of the city that’s seen. 

On the island itself, there are a ton of free things to do. There’s a beach called Centre Island Beach with its very own boardwalk. It’s a great place to get a tan and relax by the lake. 

For any animal lovers, there’s also a petting zoo on Centre Island. 

Walking around the island itself is a good time if you enjoy long strolls. There’s a lot of greenery and a great view of the city. 

There are restaurant options, but if you’re opting for a cheap visit, pack a picnic bag and bring your own food!

Warehouse Restaurant

I love going out to dinner. It’s probably one of my favorite activities to do whether it’s with my boyfriend or friends. Unfortunately, this can be a costly activity. 

The restaurant chain Warehouse Group Restaurants offers affordable food in a dine-in restaurant. Their menu starts at a mere $5.95 for starters, $6.95 for salad, and $7.95 for burgers and sandwiches. Every food item on the menu is less than $10. 

There are restaurants on Bloor St. W., Yonge St. and Queen St. W and are open from 11:am-2:00 am. 

The ambiance is casual and laid back. It’s a great place to chat with friends or spend a cheap night out. There’s something so enjoyable about going out to a restaurant. Warehouse Restaurants offer an affordable dine-in restaurant option. 

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

For all the creatives and art lovers out there, here’s some great news. The regular admission for the AGO is $25,  but every Wednesday from 6-9 pm admission is free. 

This has been a tradition at the art gallery for many years. Make sure to book in advance if you’re interested in going. 

The AGO displays tens of thousands of art pieces. According to their website, they offer a variety of art ranging from contemporary, historical, Indigenous, European, and African art. There’s something for everyone!

There’s something captivating and special about viewing art. It can be a great way to get your mind off of life, explore creativity and expand your mind. 

James Garden

James Garden is one of my favorite places to visit. It’s located in the quaint part of North Etobicoke. The former estate is full of flowers, trails and wildlife. The property belongs to the City of Toronto and offers free parking and access to public washrooms. It’s located at 99 Edenbridge Dr. 

I remember my mom taking my family to James Garden often as a child. There’s so much to see. There are several trails that run through the Humber River. I’ve often seen chipmunks, rabbits and birds of all kinds. There’s a huge flower garden among a gazebo—a perfect place to have a picnic. 

If you’re a nature lover, this is a hidden gem in North Etobicoke.

Surrounding the park are beautiful Edenbridge Estates. These multi-million dollar properties are perfectly manicured and a sight to see. I love walking through the neighborhood to observe such beautiful properties.

Snakes & Lattes

Snakes & Lattes is a cafe that offers access to a wide variety of board games. There’s a $5 admission fee which allows you to play as many board games as you wish. 

The cafe has a large menu of food and drinks you could order from, but if you’d like to keep the visit as cheap as possible, the $5 fee is all you’ll need. 

I’ve enjoyed my time at Snake & Lattes every time I’ve gone. There’s something so fun about being grown up but playing board games with your friends. It’s quite nostalgic. 

They have three Toronto locations: Midtown, Annex and College. 

Since most of us have been home-bound for the last two years, going out and enjoying our life this summer is important. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun. Check out these cheap outings in Toronto this summer.

Lenna Kapetaneas is an English and Professional Writing major at York University with dreams of becoming a journalist. She began writing as a child and it is something that has stuck with her. She has a passion for fashion, beauty, lifestyle, mental health and faith that she loves to write about. In her writing, her goal is to relate and connect with the women reading.