Toronto, Ontario – Accommodation
Before researching this part of the guide, I actually knew little about reasonably priced, friendly accommodations available in the central parts of the city, easily accessible by public transport. Though not wonderful in quantity compared to many other large cities of the world, there turned out to be some very interesting spots in the categories of Bed and Breakfasts, Hostels and Dorm-type accommodations that can be checked out on the internet.
I have not viewed or stayed at any of these places personally, but if they are a member of an association, they have to meet certain standards. Note: If you’re arriving in peak travel-vacation summer season, having something booked beforehand might not be a bad idea.
Toronto is full of mainly chain hotels (some large, some smaller and more intimate) in the downtown core either on the subway or bus/streetcar lines, and some even right on Lake Ontario. These are best viewed and researched on the www.TorontoTourism.com web site, or in a good guidebook.
Though normally quite pricey, if three or more people are sharing a room and your stay is not during peak-season (June-September) or not during large conventions, you may be able to negotiate a good deal at a luxury hotel with all its amenities. Don’t forget that if you think in US Dollars, the Canadian Dollar is roughly 1½ times, so a room quoted at $150 Canadian is $100 per night American (or your equivalent currency).
Bed & Breakfasts
There is a good selection in this area, but be sure to ask about the neighbourhood, street noise (or lack of it) and accessibility to the subway lines (two at present and a third under construction, but in the northern part of the city). Neighbourhoods such as The Annex (very central), Cabbagetown, High Park (great for nature walks) and The Beaches (with its own boardwalk) are easily accessible to downtown and interesting areas to stay.
There are four associations with Bed and Breakfast listings in Toronto. Your best bet to start your research (and you may have to go no farther) is the Federation of Ontario Bed & Breakfast Accommodation’s web site. This is an easily navigable site with excellent photos of each property, prices, and contact information. Next, check out Toronto B&B, which features 17 high-quality homes.
The two other associations are:
The Downtown Toronto Association of B&B Guest Homes
Box 190, Station B
Toronto, ON M5T-2W1
Tel: (416) 368-1420
Fax: (416)368-1653; and
615 Mt. Pleasant Avenue, ste. 269
Toronto, ON M4S-3C5
The latter includes Toronto and its suburbs. On this note, be aware that any telephone number with area code (416); or a postal code beginning with ‘M’ are in the city limits – all others are in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and may be far from tourist sites. The telephone area code for suburbs surrounding Toronto (east, west, and north) is (905). A third Toronto area code is to be added next year.
These accommodations are the most reasonable and often very central but may be the most heavily booked in season. Check out this web site: www.backpackers.ca which has about a dozen listings in the range of $17-25 Canadian dollars per night per person.
By the way, the student travel office is called CUTS (Canadian University Travel Service) with at least five branches in the city core. They are an excellent source for good value flights and travel within Canada, North America and beyond. You do not have to be a student to avail yourself of their services, but check out where an international student identity card will get you special discounts locally in Toronto and in Canada (museums, food places, theatres, et cetera).
A general web site which has links to many others is www.clo.com/~canadainfo. Under “Provinces and Territories” find ONTARIO which has 21 sites including three on Toronto.