Almost Free and Free Ontario Outings for Families

Outings in Ontario: Burlington Village Square - SavvyMom

What with holiday bills, inflation, and the realities of stretching finances, sometimes we really need a free – or almost free – fun day out with the kids. The following Ontario outings are all in a 1.5-hour radius of Toronto and provide a variety of fun, photo ops, and overall getting out of the house and off screens.

Free (and Almost Free) Ontario Outings for Families

Graffiti Alley

Street art is so amazing – vibrant, creative, and right there in the open for everyone to enjoy. Take the time to look at the details and take some photos. For a longer excursion, check out street art in a variety of other places in the city, akin to a design scavenger hunt. Artworx offers free self-guided tours via the Driftscape app.

Painted Ladies Grimsby

Gingerbread houses? A beach! Beautiful parks? Yes, please! Get to Grimsby to see these former beach cottages in a variety of beautiful colours. Please remember that these are people’s homes and admire from afar.

Cambridge Sculpture Garden

Have a wander through the park and take in the outdoor sculptures at the Cambridge Sculpture Garden. Monumental, moving, and inspirational – the kids may decide to create their own back home. Don’t miss the Grand Oak, a 130-year-old tree near the river.

Orangeville Tree Sculptures

There are lots of very neat tree sculptures dotting Orangeville’s downtown streets. Some of our favourites are a dragon, coyote, and tribute to beloved pets. Drop by the Orangeville visitor centre for a paper guide or use the Driftscape app to find them all!

Casa Loma Grounds

You don’t have to go inside the castle at Casa Loma to be amazed – in fact, we’d suggest that the stone turret and imposing structure is at its finest when viewed from the outside! Bring a hot chocolate picnic to enjoy on the public area near the grounds (you may have to tackle some stairs, first) and take in the sites of all the flower shops Avenue Road and Davenport after.

Sherlock Holmes Study

The Arthur Conan Doyle Room at The Toronto Reference library is set up as Sherlock Holmes’ study, complete with books you can pull off the shelf to read. There are photos, manuscripts, and so much more as part of the world’s largest collection of the author’s work.

Burlington Downtown Village Square

Visit a turn-of-the-century style square in Burlington, complete with cobblestones and quaint shops. The red phone booth is a great photo backdrop and the historic architecture is as pretty as a picture.

Museum of Dufferin

The Museum of Dufferin is in Mulmur, just 20 minutes north of Orangeville. Check out Crombie Station, a recreation of a historic railway station, as well as the Dufferin House, a log cabin with rooms decorated in the style of the 1880s. After exploring the museum, you can drive by the filming location of the Rosebud Motel from Schitt’s Creek on Hockley Road just before the Hockley Road General Store – a great place for snacks!

Ward Island

Take the ferry to Ward Island for a walk through the residential part of the Toronto Islands. Look back at the Toronto skyline for a spectacular view of the CN Tower and take a walk on the boardwalk. Tiny island homes and a beach – pretty even in the beach – round out the sights.


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