Not Your Everyday Cheap Dates

Dating doesn't have to break the bank

Whether you’re trying to make a good first impression, or looking for something fun to do with the one you love, dating in Toronto doesn’t have to jeopardize your life savings. Here are some ideas to add some spice to your dating life, and save you some cash.



(Photo by Sara Robertson via Flickr)

A twist on the movie night stereotype can be a way better experience than half-price movie Tuesdays. On Fridays, the Cinema Studies Students Union at UofT hosts free movie screenings at Innis College, and their selection ranges from cult classics to indie hits. The Garrison also offers Indie Movie Night on Wednesdays, with $3 popcorn. Sundays take you back into the ever-wonderful 90s, with blogTO’s VHS Marathons of quirky TV shows at different hot spots across the city. The Carlton Cinema at Carlton and Yonge also has great films for a low price.

If you love the foreign cinema/really want to impress your date, TIFF offers the Free Screen: Winter 2015. The Free Screen series screens an array of artistic and experimental films all for the very affordable price of free.


Concerts don’t have to run you broke. Elvis Mondays at The Drake Hotel serves up a free indie showcase, Mondays and Bookies Nu Music Night on Tuesdays are also Free at The Horseshoe Tavern, and you can catch free or very reasonably priced shows at Sneaky Dee’s on various nights.


The folks from #FeastON joined us for a brewery tour and filmed this sweet video during their visit. #alllocaleverything

A video posted by Steam Whistle (@steamwhistlebrewing) on

Food is also required in any self-respecting date planner’s itinerary, For a list of cheap eats, check out the best bang-for-your-buck restaurants.

If you think beer is the best food group, you can tour the Steam Whistle Brewery for $10, or $15 if you feel like you each deserve a complimentary six-pack. They also do monthly events, like art exhibits and flip cup tournaments.



(Photo by: The City of Toronto via Flickr)

If you and your date are the active type, why not go for a skate at one of Toronto’s unique rinks. Admission is free although you might spend a few bucks on skate rentals and a hot chocolate. 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.

Logical and active? Escape rooms are popping up over the city, and Great Escape Rooms offers 45 minute challenges at various difficulties for $15 per person.


Art and Culture
Free nights at staple Toronto galleries are always a hit: Tuesdays at the the ROM are free for post-secondary students and discounted for all on Friday after 4:30, and Wednesdays at the AGO are free too. To score some real art points with your date, venture outside the classic choices and see what else the city’s art scene has to offer. 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, Toronto’s Museum Of Contemporary Canadian Art, or MOCCA, offers exhibits and events free all year round.

We know it’s hard to imagine, but the frigid temperatures actually won’t be around forever. Warmer weather in Toronto means exciting opportunities for all art enthusiasts. Art Spin is the ultimate art experience for Toronto bikers, taking participants on a ride through outdoor installations, performances, galleries, and studios. If you’re not as comfortable on two-wheels, the city also has a ton of art walks available, no helmet required.


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. Or check out Punk Rock Bingo at The Beaver on the last Wednesday of every month. If you feel like totally immersing yourself in your favourite pop-culture icons, you can dress up as your favourite Seinfeld characters or as Drake and hit up a themed party, reveling in mutual appreciation of comedy and/or Canadian rap.

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 sketch comedy-both for only 5 dollars. Similarly, when The Central isn’t putting on live music, they also feature stand-up comics on weeknights, free of cover.

Finally, the board games for adults trend is still going strong. The owners of Snakes & Lattes opened up a spin-off, Snakes & Lagers, offering to take the edge off with some beer.