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Frugal Faves: The Bata Shoe Museum and Swarovski Crystal Wish Tree

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto’s weekly tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more help you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket.

View these Spanish chopines and more at the Bata Shoe Museum.

View these Spanish chopines and more at the Bata Shoe Museum.

Shoes on a Shoestring
A hot deal is afoot at the Bata Shoe Museum. Footwear fetishists can admire can admire a range of historically significant slippers, clogs, moccasins and more for pay-what-you-can admission on Thursday evenings year-round. And as a bonus, entrance to the museum is free on November weekends when you donate a new pair of socks as part of the annual Warm the Sole charity sock drive. From ancient silk sandals to Renaissance chopines to today’s sexy stilettos, the museum displays hundreds of shoes spanning the centuries.

PWYC admission is in effect Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. Free weekend admission with socks donation runs now through November 29. Visit here or call 416-979-7799 for more information.

The Swarovski Crystal Wish Tree lights up the Eaton Centre.

The Swarovski Crystal Wish Tree lights up the Toronto Eaton Centre.

Sparkle and Song
Kick off the festive season this Thursday, November 19, as the one-of-a-kind Swarovski Crystal Wish Tree is unveiled at the Toronto Eaton Centre. Thirty-five feet tall and adorned with 20,000 crystals, this rotating tree creates a constant shimmering effect that is sure to dazzle. Prior to the big reveal is a free, special-guest performance by acclaimed vocal quartet the Canadian Tenors, singing seasonal hits from their recently released holiday album. Now in its fifth year, this shopping-centre holiday tradition helps benefit the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada through the sale of commemorative ornaments.

The Swarovski tree reveal is scheduled between 6 and 7 p.m., on the second level of the Toronto Eaton Centre, near Indigo.

Frugal Faves: T.O. Tix and Festive Winter Windows

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto’s weekly tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more help you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket.

<i>Jersey Boys</i> swings it '60s style (photo by Joan Marcus).

Snatch up discounted tickets to Jersey Boys and other hot shows from T.O. Tix (photo by Joan Marcus).

Box-Office Bargains
Want to take in the hottest shows in the city without paying the hefty price?  The T.O. TIX outlet is your one stop shop for exclusive deals on tickets for stage performances around the city. If you’ve got a flexible schedule (all tickets are for same-day shows) visit the booth at Yonge-Dundas Square to purchase half-price and discounted tickets to popular shows like Jersey Boys and Medieval Times. You can also purchase seats for select shows online.

T.O. TIX accepts Visa, Mastercard, debit and cash, and is located on the southeast corner of Yonge and Dundas streets. Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 6:30 p.m; call 416-536-6468, ext. 40 or visit here for more details.

Check out the city's holiday window displays (photo by Jessica Napier).

Check out the city's holiday window displays (photo by Jessica Napier).

Take a Walk in a Window Wonderland
Get in the holiday spirit early by embarking on a self-guided tour of the festive window displays in and around downtown Toronto. At The Bay’s flagship store, Christmas creatures come to life alongside a working train and an animatronic Santa Clause in a series of Toyland vignettes. Explore the tony Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood and marvel at the dazzling high-fashion window decor at chic retailers like Holt Renfrew. And creative windows designed by retail management students at Ryerson University can be spotted at businesses throughout the Downtown Yonge area—you can even vote for your favourites online.

The Bay is located at 176 Yonge St., while Holt Renfrew resides at 50 Bloor St. W. To check out a map of Ryerson students’ holiday windows, click here.

Frugal Faves: Danier Leather Sale and the National Film Board

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto‘s weekly tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more help you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket.

Watch Canadian films at the NFB'S Mediatheque (photo by Desiree Butler).

View some CanCon at the NFB'S Mediatheque (photo by Desiree Butler).

National Film Board Flicks at Your Fingertips
Enjoy more than 5,000 Canadian films for less than a price of a cup of coffee at the National Film Board’s Mediatheque. Its cozy, state-of-the-art digital viewing stations offer an intimate cinematic experience—use the touch-screen monitor to browse through the NFB’s extensive catalogue and select from a collection of thought-provoking documentaries, innovative animated shorts, and Canadian screen classics. And for those on the go, the institution offers over 500 docs and animated movies through its new—and free!—iPhone application. With new titles added weekly, there’s always something new to watch.

Day passes to the NFB Mediatheque are $2 per person. Call 416-973-3012 or visit here for more details.
Pick up a sale-priced leather jacket from Danier.

Pick up a sale-priced leather jacket from Danier.

Danier’s Hot for Winter Sale
Cooling weather means hot deals on winter-lined jackets at Canadian clothier Danier Leather. Find discounts of up to 50 per cent on a variety of high-fashion leather coats for men and women. Be it a classic black bomber jacket or a sleek slim-fit coat in charcoal, the store has many styles to suit your silhouette and colours to complement your complexion. All sale jackets are lined with a detachable Thinsulate insulation layer that’s sure to keep you toasty and warm in the chilly conditions.

The Hot for Winter sale is on now to Nov. 11 at Danier locations across the Greater Toronto Area.

Frugal Faves: Marvel Beauty and Osgoode Hall

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto helps you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket. Check back each week for our thrifty tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more.

Get glammed up for a low price at Marvel Beauty Schools.

Get glammed up for a low price at Marvel Beauty Schools.

Salon and Spa Services by Marvel Beauty School
The cost for a cut, colour and style in Yorkville can run you well into the triple-digits. But not at the posh neighbourhood’s Marvel Beauty Schools, where you can treat yourself to professional grade salon and spa services starting at less than $10.

In the salon, help students  hone their skills by giving you a full haircut, updo, weave, colour highlights, perm—almost anything. In the spa, esthticians-in-the-making provide what’s likely to be the most inexpensive pedicure, body wrap, wax, massage or facial you’ve ever had. Don’t worry about fried hair or a botched bikini wax—students only work on clients once instructors decide they’ve had sufficient training, and supervisors watch with a vigilant eye while they work.

Salon open Mon. to Fri., 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Wed. to 7 p.m.). Spa hours are Mon. to Thu., 1 to 3 p.m. (Wed. to 7 p.m.), and Fri., 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Learn about Osgoode Hall with a free audio tour.

Learn about Osgoode Hall with a free audio tour (photo by Five-two).

Free Osgoode Hall Tour
Beyond high cast-iron gates and beautifully manicured grounds sits Osgoode Hall, a landmark dating back to 1832. Devoted to all things legal, the Palladian-style building is home to the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Superior Court of Justice.

Inside, its Convocation Hall has been converted into a high-style lunchtime resto, but you don’t need to cough up the cash to enjoy it. Download the free audio tour of Osgoode Hall’s Convocation Hall to your iPod and explore the magnificent space without paying a cent. Allow the voice of Law Society curator Elise Brunet guide you through the Hall’s history and architectural changes, and provide background on points of interest in the room, from the ten stained glass windows to the carvings on the balcony railing.

Download the audio tour for free from the Law Society of Upper Canada’s website.

Frugal Faves: High Park Walking Tour and Devilicious

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto helps you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket. Check back each week for our thrifty tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more.

Enjoy the autumn colours while strolling in High Park (photo by bensonkua).

Enjoy the autumn colours while strolling in High Park (photo by bensonkua).

An Autumn Stroll in High Park
Spend a leisurely morning on a free walking tour of High Park, Toronto’s impressive, 398-acre public greenspace. The moderately paced hike traverses the park’s wooded trails and explores its extensive ravines and gardens, giving city-dwellers a chance to reconnect with nature. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the impressive fall foliage, and remember to wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Tours run every second and forth Sunday of each month, 10:30 a.m. to noon. Meet at the benches just south of the Grenadier Café. For more information call 416-392-1748, ext. 5 or email walkingtours@highpark.org.


Pull up a chair at Fuzion for a scary-good meal deal.

Pull up a chair at Fuzion for a scary-good meal deal.

Trick or Treat Yourself to a Devilishly Good Meal
Hoping for a hell of deal on your next dinner out? Head to the Church Wellesley Village for its Devilicious culinary tour.  As part of the neighbourhood’s annual Halloweek festival, Byzantium, Fuzion and other popular restaurants in the area will be offering wickedly discounted prix fixe menus featuring delectable Halloween-themed dishes. After you’ve finished your meal, wander through the village and check out fabulously frightening decor displays in retailers’ windows.

The Devilicious culinary tour runs October 24 to October 31. For a list of all participating restaurants click here or call 416-393-6363.

Frugal Faves: The Textile Museum and a Sculpture Scavenger Hunt

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto helps you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket. Check back each week for our thrifty tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more.

See colourful quilts and much more with Wednesday-evening PWYC admission at the Textile Museum.

View colourful quilts and more with Wednesday-evening PWYC admission to the Textile Museum of Canada.

PWYC Admission to the Textile Museum
The Textile Museum of Canada showcases more than 1,200 cloth-based artifacts and works of art from around the world, from traditional East Asian garments and Danish tablecloths to feminist embroidery and evocative tapestries. General museum admission ($12) won’t break the bank, but frugal types will want to visit on Wednesday evenings, when you pay-what-you-can to get in. Check out Kaleidoscope: Antique Quilts from the collection of Carole and Howard Tanenbaum, examine South American fabric fragments in In Touch: Connecting Cloth, Culture + Art, and try different kinds of looms in the fibrespace hands-on gallery, all on the cheap.

Pay-What-You-Can admission at the Textile Museum is in effect every Wednesday between 5 and 8 p.m.

Track down Toronto's many bronze businessmen (photo by Jenelle DaSilva-Rupchand).

Track down Toronto's many bronze businessmen (photo by Jenelle DaSilva-Rupchand).

See “Businessman” Sculptures for Free
If you’re an art fan but your PWYC budget is closer to $0? Then go on a cost-free sculpture scavenger hunt to find the Businessman. Renowned sculptor William Hodd McElcheran created a number of bronze sculptures of a portly man in an overcoat, tie and fedora. A selection of these famed pieces from the 1980s were placed around Toronto, some fittingly located in the Financial District. Find the Businessman at Brookfield Place standing tall with hat and portfolio in hand, in mid-stride in the Commerce Court East building, bareback on a horse between Brennan Hall and Emsley Hall on the University of Toronto campus, and at other spots. A variety of works by McElcheran are also available for purchase at Yorkville’s Kinsman Robinson Galleries.

Frugal Faves: The AGO and Casalife

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto helps you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket. Check back each week for our thrifty tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more.

Visit the AGO's Galleria Italia (and more) for free on Wednesday evenings.

Visit the AGO's Galleria Italia (and more) for free on Wednesday evenings.

Free Admission at the AGO
The recently revamped Art Gallery of Ontario displays more than 4,000 pieces spanning many centuries of artistic expression in Canada and around the world. You can view this impressive collection free of charge every Wednesday evening from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The complimentary admission grants visitors access to all of the museum’s permanent collections as well as entry into some special exhibitions, including Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, a showcase of 80-plus works created between 1926 and 1933 by the influential sculptor. With only two and a half hours to take in 110 galleries, you may have to pick and choose; a must-see is the Galleria Italia, a serene glass- and Douglas fir-enclosed sculpture space that spans the entire length of the museum.

The AGO is free on Wednesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. year-round. Otherwise, it’s open Tuesday to Sunday; adult admission $18.


Moving Sale at Casalife

Big changes are happening this month at Casalife, one of Toronto’s most prominent contemporary home decor retailers. An expansion of the company’s Liberty Village flagship store means that its Vaughan Mills location will be closing down at the beginning of November. As a result, both locations are offering a 20 to 75 per cent discount on all in-store items. Shoppers can expect huge savings on a range of small-scale furnishings suited for condo-dwellers, including great deals on stylish accessories like pillows, throws, table lamps, vases and bowls.

Casalife’s moving sale is on now through November 1. Call 416-922-2785 for more details.