One of Canada’s busiest intersections, more than 28 million people cross the Square every year, which is why it’s considered “The Heart of the City.” But don’t let the LED billboards and fanny-packed tourists keep you from the numerous free events: film screenings, cultural festivals, theater performances, and concerts. Plus, 20 water fountains gush 24/7 (weather permitting) in the center of the Square, offering a bit of natural sound and relief.
don’t miss this: The Pack a.d., a Vancouver-based garage rock band, hits the Square on Friday, Sept. 6 at 8 p.m. for the final Indie Fridays concert of the summer.
the details: Dates vary. Free. Information at Yonge-Dundas Square.
Toronto School of Circus Arts
If you want to grow your arsenal of skills, the Toronto School of Circus Arts offers classes ranging from trampoline jumping and tumbling, to bungee acrobatics and Chinese pole climbing (all of which increase your strength, endurance, agility, and flexibility). Plus, learning new movements refreshes your training rituals.
don’t miss this: TSCA offers drop-in flying trapeze classes for all experience levels at 7 p.m. on Fridays.
the details: $25 for drop-in classes (prices vary for other classes). #8-75 Carl Hall Rd., Parc Downsview Park. Schedule and information at Toronto School of Circus Arts.
“Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture”
This exhibition at the Bata Shoe Museum in Downtown Toronto chronicles the evolution of the sneaker. See rare designs from the archives of big-name brands like Adidas, Puma, and Converse, and kicks from the personal collection of rap legends like Run-D.M.C. The exhibit features 120 sneakers, spanning the last 150 years, as well as sketches from Nike designers.
don’t miss this: “Pay what you can” entrance fee every Thursday from 5–8 p.m. Suggested donation of $5.
the details: Runs through March 30, 2014. $8 CAD (students), $14 CAD (adults). 327 Bloor St. W. Information at Bata Shoe Museum.
29th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival
Hosted by the Toronto Vegetarian Association, this meat-free food extravaganza is the largest of its kind in North America. The 2012 festival attracted vendors from all over the globe, selling treats such as gourmet peanut butter, loose-leaf teas, and organic gummy bears. But expect more than falafel: Last year’s festival also included mini-concerts and screenings of food-conscious films such as Forks Over Knives.
don’t miss this: Keep an eye on the festival’s website for more free events to be announced. Last year’s festival hosted free cooking demonstrations and yoga classes.
the details: Sept. 6, from 4–9 p.m., Sept. 7, from 12–9 p.m., and Sept. 8, from 12–7 p.m. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W. Free admission (food and drink prices vary). Information at 29th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival.
Toronto Urban Film Festival
Thousands flock here each September for the world-renowned Toronto International Film Festival, but many miss the smaller, similarly creative exhibition that runs simultaneously: the Toronto Urban Film Festival. Expect screenings in subway stations, silent one-minute films, animations, and videos from both professional and emerging filmmakers from Canada and around the world.
don’t miss this: TUFF screens all eight of this year’s programs in a 67-minute loop at The Drake Hotel for free.
the details: Sept. 6–16. Free. Information at Toronto Urban Film Festival.