ALTdot Comedy Lounge
Looking for a good laugh but can’t afford The Second City? Stroll north to the Rivoli, where every Monday night for more than a decade, comics have graced the stage with their hilarious stand-up routines. While the ALTdot Comedy Lounge is a pay-what-you-can show (that might sound like the antithesis to “hilarious”), it has welcomed comedians like Brent Butt, Tom Green, and even the late, great Mitch Hedberg.
332 Queen St. W., 416-977-5082, altdotcomedylounge.com.
Sure, it has no high-def screens or booming sound systems, and its theatres are practically shoeboxes, but ask any cinephile and they’ll tell you Carlton Cinema gives you that authentic movie-going experience. Perhaps that’s due to the old-school decor or the selection of indie films (it has blockbusters, too), but we think it’s the pre-millenium prices. All you need to know is $5 Tuesdays.
20 Carlton St., 416-494-9371, rainbowcinemas.ca.
Evergreen Brick Works
Surprised to hear that one of National Geographic’s top 10 geotourism destinations in the world is right here in Toronto? Then you probably haven’t visited Evergreen Brick Works. You can get a primer on its hiking trails and sustainability-oriented workshops by taking a $5 guided tour (1:30 p.m. on weekends and 7 p.m. on Tuesdays) or, since we’re thinking economically here, printing off a self-guided tour on their website.
550 Bayview Ave., 416-596-7670, ebw.evergreen.ca.
Bata Shoe Museum
Normally, someone on a $10 budget wouldn’t get the chance to compare Terry Fox’s iconic blue Adidas with the Biebs’ high-top Supra kicks, or Marilyn Monroe’s bright red heels with John Lennon’s black leather… well, heels. But on Thursday nights after 5 p.m., the Bata Shoe Museum opens its doors on a pay-what-you-can basis.
327 Bloor St. W., 416-979-7799, batashoemuseum.ca.
Steam Whistle Brewery Tour
Chances are you’re broke because you spend too much on alcohol. So what better way to spend the sober part of your day than learning about booze? Head down to the Steam Whistle Brewery where, for a tidy 10 bucks, you can get a guided afternoon tour, a sample of Steam Whistle, and a souvenir tasting glass or bottle opener. Scrounge up five extra dollars and they’ll throw in a six-pack. (Let’s be honest: If it’s for beer, you’ll find the money somehow.)
255 Bremner Blvd., 416-362-2337, steamwhistle.ca.
Snakes and Lattes
At Toronto’s only board-game café, you can choose from more than 1,500 different titles. The café’s “game gurus” will help you find your perfect match and even teach you how to play it. Best of all, it’ll only cost you five bucks. With the extra five, try one of their homemade milkshakes.
600 Bloor St. W., 647-342-9229, snakesandlattes.com.
Toronto Indie Film Festival
There’s a long list of complicated reasons why the Toronto Underground Cinema is closing down mid-September, but all you need to know is that this is the last time you’ll be able to catch a cheap flick at this iconic, single-screen theatre, projected in authentic 35mm. To cap off their two-year run—and to conclude the Toronto Indie Film Festival (Sept. 6–15)—they’ll screen the aptly titled The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese’s cinematic account of The Band’s final show.
186 Spadina Ave., 647-348-3420, torontoundergroundcinema.ca.
DIY Picnic in Trinity Bellwoods
Got the PB&J but not the requisite picnic blanket? A frisbee but no bocce balls? Stop by Trinity Tuck Shop, located near the south end of Trinity Bellwoods Park, to rent the parts of the picnic you either forgot to pack or never had in the first place. Tennis rackets will run you a mere $5 an hour. Do the math: that’s two hours of pure bliss at the park’s free-to-use courts, provided you’re okay with playing alone.
198 Walnut Ave., trinitytuckshop.com.