Not Your Everyday Cheap Dates in Toronto

First impressions are everything

That special person in your life deserves to be wowed. Whether or not it’s your fourth date or your fortieth you want to do something that’s more than your typical date, but without breaking the bank. Here are some great ideas to spice up your dating life, without shedding pounds off your bank account.
 

Music Lovers Date

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Unless you’re hitting up the biggest act of the night, concerts are usually a safe bet to save money on a night out. Mondays are free at The Horseshoe tavern and Tuesday for Bookie’s Nu Music Night at the Horseshoe Tavern. Shows at smaller venues like The Baby G, or Toronto mainstay Sneaky Dee’s, usually won’t run you more than $10 for tickets if you grab them in advance. The Painted Lady hosts open mic night every Monday and you’d be hard-pressed to find a spot in the city with more talent for the price tag (free). The Garrison also offers a number of themed dance parties with no cover, so you can save your money for cheap beer.
 

Atypical Movie Date

Do movies a little differently. Sure, half-priced Tuesdays are always a good option, but there’s a number of reputable theatres in the city that offer a more enriching experience.

The Cinema Studies Students Union at UofT holds Free Film Fridays throughout the school year that offers a selection ranging from cult classics to indie hits. The Carlton Cinema at Carlton and Yonge is a quaint little theatre that offers a mix of mainstream films and indie flicks at a lower price than the big guys.

Summer is a great time for films. Watch the silver screen under the city’s (sorta) starry skies at Open Roof Festival at 99 Sudbury, or Christie Pitts film festival all summer long for free! See our full list of Summer Film events and movies to watch here.

You can also check back with us when Indie88’s next Band and a Movie is happening — it’s a free concert and a movie at the lovely Royal Cinema on College.
 

Food & Drink Date

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What would be a date without good food? Burn off the calories as you eat your way through Kensington Market during (but not limited to) Pedestrian Sundays this summer.

If it’s a first date, get to know your potential partner a little bit better and brave the lines for any of Toronto’s most sought after restaurants. For ice cream, Bang Bang on Ossington is a must, Uncle Tetsu’s on Bay for Japanese-style cheesecake or try your patience at any of Toronto’s hit brunch spots.

If you think beer is the best food group, you can tour the Steam Whistle Brewery for $12, or $17 if you feel like you each deserve a complimentary six-pack. They also do monthly events, like art exhibits and flip cup tournaments.

 

The Active Date

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If you and your date are the active type, why not go for a skate at one of Toronto’s unique rinks in the winter. Admission is free although you might spend a few bucks on skate rentals and a hot chocolate. In the warmer months, why not go for a dip at Toronto’s public pools and beat the heat.

Bird watching is more than you think, plus it doesn’t cost a thing. There’s a ton of free information from The Toronto Ornithological Club and Bird Studies Canada on birds both transient and native to the downtown core and where to spot them.

A mixture of extreme activities can be found at Sky Zone, where you can subject your date to Trampoline Dodgeball, SkySlam aka trampoline basketball, and a giant foam zone. Let the games begin, and see if your relationship withstands the test of bruises and physical activity.
 

Arts & Culture Date

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Of course there’s always the many tried and true art and historical institutions around Toronto. Tuesdays at the ROM are free for full-time post-secondary students (Canadian institutions only with valid student ID). From June May 5 to June 30 explore the ROM at night with live music, food vendors and cocktails during the super fun Friday Night Live. Some of the artsy-er types would also know that the AGO is free Wednesday nights.

The Power Plant museum at the Toronto Harbourfront offers unique year-round installations and exhibits entirely for free. Want to show off your tech knowledge? InterAccess has the largest technology and art exhibits in the city, specializing in ”hybrid forms and experimental research.” Finally, the Science Centre is a nice spot to feel like a kid again, offering discounted rates for students, seniors and youths.
 

The Playful Date

If you’re just starting to get to know somebody, trivia or game nights can be a fun way to test your useless knowledge on all subjects from the Simpsons to Seinfeld. Tons of bars all over the city host them. Any PubStumpers partner bar offers free drop-in trivia.

Need a fun activity that requires a little less participation? The Rivoli at Queen and Spadina offers stand-up nights on Mondays where some of Toronto’s best comedians have been known to drop by for quick sets, and Tuesdays are open mic nights that won’t cost you more than $10. Similarly, The Drake Hotel holds Comedy Underground every Tuesday for $10.

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We’re glad to see that the board game trend for adults is still going strong. Snakes & Lattes and sister spot Snakes & Lagers are popular joints for residents near the entertainment district. For the east-enders, Time Capsule Board Games Cafe & Bar isn’t far from the Beaches for a fun night of board games, beer and budding romance.

Logical and active? Escape rooms are popping up over the city, and Escape Games offers 45 minute challenges at various difficulties for $15 per person. Depending on your mood, let loose at Toronto’s rage room, or find inner peace at Shelley Marshall’s Mental Wellness Loft.

 
Image courtesy rizieroculan via Instagram