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"It's Summertime and the Livin's Easy," Especially When It's in Toronto and There Are Tons of Freebies

Entertainment on a shoestring has never been so easy. This summer take advantage of all the complimentary offerings in Canada's largest city.

Recognize the first half of the title as classic hip hop lyrics? Pharcyde and Sublime (and originally a song by Sam Cooke) were right on point with their hit "Summertime." Let me tell you a little bit about the Toronto summers in 2011. Here, you know when summer is in full swing because the people that are out look genuinely happy, wearing their minimal attire, frolicking through parks, overindulging in mouth-watering food and beer festivals, busting a move at alfresco dance parties and shopping in street markets. Ohh and the soundtrack of Toronto summers are delicious and eclectic. A variety of beats are constantly thumping from every corner of the metropolis keeping the happy people happy.

There is an impressive roster of activities to do this season, in the metropolis of Toronto, I have complied 5 priceless (literally no charge) activities below, so that your purse strings stay un-pulled.

Scattered Concerts

There is no greater way to please the eardrum than with free musical performances. The Harbourfront hosts more than 90 Canadian and International performances and 20 lives shows throughout the summer.

Mel Lastman Square showcases complimentary swing bands, orchestras and jazz ensembles for the last two months of the season.

There is never a dull moment at Dundas Squarewhich is more than just a concert venue, it's the city square that celebrate and attracts a throng of people for all sorts of summertime fun. Soon the square will host regular lunch hour live music from local talent, and you can always expect the night time stage to be lit up with rock bands to hip hop acts on a weekly basis.

Take in a Flick

Movies in the park are bigger than ever this year; free screenings are littered throughout the city. Dundas Square is promoting its Upcoming Dancing In the Dark Films series, where every Tuesday you'll be able to relive a classic dance film, followed by reviving old school moves and flaunting them at a nearby jam. For the full upcoming line up click here.

Starting in July Downsview Park will kick off its Under the Stars series every Friday. Find out more on the Downsview Park 2011 Public Events Calendar.

The Toronto Entertainment District has paired up with TIFF, the CN Tower and other local partners to launch free outdoor movie nights Wednesdays in Metro Square all summer long. Screening schedule is available here.

If you are unable to attend any of the major screening perhaps you should connect with the City Councillor in your ward, who may offer free outdoor movie screenings as per request. [Secret: I know that the Church and Wellesley area will be hosting movies this summer, exact location: that is still top secret].

Stroll Through Parks Day or Night

High Parkis Toronto's largest public park. What can you do there? Pretty much anything. High Park features many hiking trails, sports facilities, a dog park, a zoo, playgrounds, restaurants, picnic areas, a charming lake, swans, ducks, geese and other feathered creatures.

Allan Gardens Conservatory is over 100 years old and has over 16,000 square feet of greenhouse area. Definitely worth checking out on a lazy Sunday.

Trinity Bellwood Park is great for sports enthusiasts; this park is furnished with tennis courts, baseball diamonds, a community centre, playgrounds, volleyball and badminton court, and a hockey rink. Rumour has it that naked lesbian soccer games take place at midnight.

Night at the Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) offers free admission to postsecondary students on Tuesdays, as well as free general admission every Wednesday from 4:30 p.m.

I had to throw in give-what-you-can nights, which are held at the Bata Shoe Museum on Thursdays. The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) which is pay-what-you-can, all the time

Funky Festivals

Toronto is bursting with outdoor art exhibits and festivals during the sunny season. One of my favourite places to be is Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market, where the community street festival takes over the vintage themed market, with live bands, colourful open door shops, circus acts and great scents, because of all the fruit and veggies markets. It's also an excellent place for people watching. Best of all Pedestrian Sundays become a car free zone from the hours of 12-7.

Summer in Toronto gives way to a colossal street party booming with calypso, Jamaican reggae, Brazilian samba, Latin Salsa and Soca during the annual Scotiabank Caribbean Festival, popularly known as Caribana. The three week festival attracts over a million participants and is the largest Caribbean festival in North America. Highlights include the parade, elabourate costumes and the live drum beats chiming though the blazing sun.

Pride Weekis an annual arts and cultural festival celebrating Toronto's gay community. This is the largest Pride celebration in the world. The three day street festival is bustling with live music, performances and DJs, celebrating film, dance, human rights and much more.

The TD Toronto Jazz Festival showcases primarily Canadian jazz artists, featuring over 1,800 free public events, with over 7.5 million festival attendees.

Being entertained on a shoestring has never been so easy. This summer take advantage of all the complimentary offerings in Canada's largest city. Compliments to Sam Cooke for uttering six words that describe Toronto so well.

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