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Best of Toronto

The Best Hostels in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / March 25, 2013

Hostels TorontoThe best hostels in Toronto satisfy three crucial criteria. They're cheap, conveniently located and comfortable. While anything but luxurious, these are places where travellers can count on basic amenities and, typically, a sense of camaraderie with fellow globetrotters. As you might expect of a city once hailed as "New York run by the Swiss," from an international perspective, our hostels are clean and safe.

There aren't that many of them to be found around town — say about 20 or so — but of these about half standout as superior to the rest of the pack for one reason or another. And while locals might not care too much about the state of Toronto's hostels, try to bear in mind that young tourists help to contribute to the vibrancy of cities — so it's always good to draw as many travellers as possible.

Here are the best hostels in Toronto.

See also:

The best hotels in Toronto
The best boutique hotels in Toronto
The best luxury hotels in Toronto

Planet Traveler

Planet Traveler

One of the newest hostels in Toronto, Planet Traveler is also housed in one of the city's most energy efficient buildings. While geothermal temperature control, solar and photo voltaic panels, water reclamation facilities and motion sensor LED lights might not be a huge draw for the weary traveller looking to rest his or her head, the newness of the facilities, the location (College and Augusta), the quality of the washrooms, and the excellent rooftop patio are all very attractive. Rates range from $30 (dorm) to $80 (private room). More »

Canadiana Backpackers Inn

Canadiana Backpackers Inn

Located near Adelaide and John in a series of converted Victorian homes, both the decor and the vibe at this hostel live up to its name with lots of cottage-like exposed wood, Aboriginal art and rooms named after Canadian icons. There's also a rather laid back atmosphere, fostered in part by organized activities like rooftop barbecues, pool competitions and pub crawls. Rates range from $30 (dorm bed) to $85+ (double private room). More »

Hosteling International

Hosteling International

Located near Church and King, Hosteling International (HI) is a colourful hostel with bright rooms and plenty of security features. Rooms range from 10-person dorms ($29) to deluxe singles with private bathrooms ($99), the latter of which offer near hotel-like comfort at a lower cost. While the area isn't necessarily the most exciting, the location is central enough that exploring the city should be a cinch. On-site facilities include a lounge and TV room, kitchen, in-room lockers, and video surveillance. More »

Clarence Castle

Clarence Castle

Clarence Castle occupies a quaint early 19th century building on Clarence Square near Wellington and Spadina. One of the smaller hostels on this list, there's an almost bed and breakfast type feel to the place, with a well-stocked kitchen and decent breakfast on offer each day. The free WiFi is spotty in some rooms, so you'll have to hope to get lucky. This isn't really the place to party with other travellers, but HI and Global Village Backpackers are close enough to cover that off. Prices range from $28 (dorm) to $45 (private, double bed). More »

Neill-Wycik Summer Hotel

Neill-Wycik Summer Hotel

Neill-Wycik is first and foremost a student co-op, but given that many of its residents leave town when school is out, it takes on its identity as a hostel over the summer months. This place isn't in the best condition compared to others on the list, but the apartment-style accommodations (there are private quad rooms) will appeal to those travelling in groups and the location is central (Gerrard and Mutual) with easy access to transit. Rates range from $28 for a bed in a dorm to $53 for a private single to $120 for a private quad. More »

The Only Backpacker's Inn

The Only Backpacker's Inn

The Only Backpacker's Inn might not be the most centrally located hostel in Toronto (Danforth and Donlands), but it makes up for that in beer. Yeah, that's right - the hostel is located above one of the city's premier beer destinations, the Only Cafe. Along with proximity to the cafe, the hostel boasts cable TV, free WiFi, a guest kitchen and air conditioning. Security is on the lax side, but that's because it's not entirely necessary here. Dorm-based accommodation comes in at around $25 (which includes a decent breakfast). More »

College Hostel (Kensington)

College Hostel (Kensington)

Located on Augusta Avenue at the north end of Kensington Market, College Hostel has got some serious competition from the nearby and newer Planet Traveler, but a renovation a few years ago makes it a viable alternative for those looking to stay near the action of Kensington Market. With 140 total beds, this is one of the larger hostels in the city, and comes with amenities like free WiFi, cable TV, and on-site laundry facilities. Prices range from $26 (dorm) to $90 (private room, two beds). More »

Backpackers on Dundas

Backpackers on Dundas

Backpackers on Dundas is a relatively new hostel (compared to others on the list), though that doesn't mean it's in pristine shape (as the website wants you to believe). What this place has going for it is twofold - location and price. It's on the cheaper side of Toronto hostels and being just north of City Hall, it's easy to trot around downtown on foot. A bed in a dorm room ranges from $26 to $28 during the summer months. More »

Discussion

30 Comments

Rebecca / March 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm
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You guys, I feel like it's irresponsible to have Global Village as #1 on this list. I get that it's based on votes, but this is a problem. Their TripAdvisor reviews are a nightmare: http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g155019-d184512-Reviews-Global_Village_Backpackers-Toronto_Ontario.html

Rats, bed bugs, soiled sheets...need I say more?
hostile / March 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm
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A top 10 list of the only 10 relatively well known Hostels in Toronto. Original!
Rich Kid replying to a comment from Rebecca / March 25, 2013 at 12:37 pm
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That's what you get for being poor. Try harder at life and you'll be able to afford a real hotel.
Cherry / March 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm
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Why delete comments pointing our your grammatical/spelling errors. It would be a lot more professional and honest just to correct the errors and then publish a subsequent comment THANKING those who pointed them out.

Shame shame shame, BlogTO.
Cherry / March 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm
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Learn to take constructive criticism, Derek. You're being a baby.
Andy Shaw replying to a comment from Rebecca / March 25, 2013 at 12:59 pm
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No Rebecca, you don't need to say anymore. You need to get your facts right. There are NO RATS at the Global Village. Bed Bugs are a problem world wide in hostels and every single hostel on this list will have had bed bug problems at some point. Toronto's premier party hostel and that's why its at Number 1.
AV replying to a comment from Cherry / March 25, 2013 at 01:16 pm
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Derek being a baby? Unheard of!
Iman replying to a comment from Rebecca / March 25, 2013 at 01:19 pm
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Agreed. One of the worst hostels I've heard of in the city (as reported by people who've stayed there) should NOT be #1 on a list of best hostels in Toronto. It's a shame it's even on the list.
Iman replying to a comment from Rebecca / March 25, 2013 at 01:21 pm
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Rebecca I Agree. One of the worst hostels I've heard of in the city (as reported by people who've stayed there) should NOT be #1 on a list of best hostels in Toronto. It's a shame it's even on the list.
Sarah / March 25, 2013 at 01:38 pm
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Name Your Own Price on Priceline. I've managed to get the downtown Sheraton for $50 a night. Have also gotten the Westin Harbour Castle and the Renaissance (Rogers Centre, when it isn't baseball season) for between $50-$60 a night. Maybe a bit more than what you'd pay at a hostel, but also a steal for downtown Toronto.
Seán Lemass / March 25, 2013 at 02:12 pm
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I had the misfortune of staying at the Canadiana for the week. Full of feckin' eejits and the free pancakes were only so-so. 4/10.
EM / March 25, 2013 at 02:52 pm
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I had pointed out a grammatical error and my comment was deleted. I'm sorry, but confusing they're/there/their is pretty unforgivable.
DavidP / March 25, 2013 at 04:16 pm
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I wouldn't recommend any of these except Planet Traveler. I've stayed at Hostelling International and visited friends at Global Village and Neill-Wycik and they were all pretty bad. Hotwire, Priceline, and asking friends for condo guest suite bookings are probably your best bets for cheap Toronto accommodations.
nardl blarn / March 25, 2013 at 04:54 pm
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Global Village is well known for being one of the worst hostels in North America and certainly the worst in Toronto. Bedbugs, rats, mice, soiled sheets, not enough of a bar-hostel noise divide, bad security and just and all around bad experience for most people who have stayed there. Totally irresponsible for BlogTO to include it on this list.
Jakob / March 25, 2013 at 08:20 pm
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I stayed at the HI for three weeks before I found a permanent place to stay in Toronto, and it's been a terrific experience. The food downstairs is tasty and cheap, the pub crawls and other events were well organised and lively, the service and the community friendly. Clean enough for my standards, although the lack of lockers is a bit of a pain. I can also confirm the Global Village Backpacker's bad reputation, quite a few moved to the HI after having had a terrible time there.
Philip replying to a comment from Andy Shaw / March 25, 2013 at 09:52 pm
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Until you have actually been around the world, don't assume bed bugs are a world-wide problem. I have been to many places and slept in many different accommodations, from luxury condo rentals to a 'roach motel' where the shower was just a rusty pipe dripping out rain water (where, ironically, I saw not one rat or roach, and there were no bed bugs). Hostels have made up the vast bulk of my experience, and I have never, not once, had any rat or bug problem, aside from mosquitoes.

As many have mentioned, GV should not be number #1. Sadly, I can't say many, if any, of these should even be considered as good, aside from Planet Traveler. Just look at the actual reviews of people who have stayed in Toronto hostels (hostelworld.com is a good source, look at how many hostels have anything really high after receiving more than a few reviews - not many).

The problem with Toronto hostels, as with so much else in Toronto, is that they are over priced and over-hyped, claiming to be great by people who often have rarely stepped foot outside the Golden Horseshoe (ya, that's right, I'm referring to all of you who think St. Clair Ave. and beyond is already "far away").

If you want to be good, you have to have good quality at affordable/reasonable rates. I wouldn't pay more than $20/night for a place like GV, never mind STARTING at $29 (plus taxes, I am sure).

As a comparison, two of the best hostels I have stayed at are Hello Guesthouse in Busan, South Korea and Lisbon Lounge Hostel in Lisbon, Portugal. Both of these have excellent facilities (read: clean, well designed, exciting, etc.), offer free breakfast and other amenities, have great staff, and are in great locations (one at Korea's most famous beach and big party areas, the other in the heart of Lisbon, close to restaurants, clubs, bars, sights, etc. and within a short tram ride to the beach). Look at the rates they offer for the amenities they give - both are around $20, INCLUDING TAXES.
Andy Shaw replying to a comment from Philip / March 25, 2013 at 11:19 pm
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Philip darling, I have been around the world. Don't make assumptions. It makes you look smug. Your not the only one to have gone traveling. Feel free to check out my hostelworld profile. I have heard of bedbugs in hostel all over the world. That is from first hand experience.

Toronto is the worst place I've seen for bed bugs, as a city. I stayed at the Global Village for 8 Months last year and never once did I have a bed bug problem. Yet I know people in the city who have never stayed in a hostel and have had bed bugs. Its a big issue in Toronto; hence perhaps a higher case load than hostels in other countries. Toronto even has a bed bug task force, or at least did until funding was pulled.

Planet Traveler is a great hostel, clean etc. The owner did however screw over a lot of backpackers when he closed his first hostel in Kensington Market but let the website continue to take reservations and money. Also all Global Village prices include tax, starting at $26 dollars... so you might be 'sure' but you're wrong with it.

For me hostels are about the character, the people you meet, the social aspect and being able to travel on a budget and stay in prime locations. Global Village has this. Real backpackers understand this. Global set the bar for Toronto hostel and yes it has certainly seen better days; it gets a lot of unfair criticism.

Plus check out the picture with this article. That's Global's patio. In the summer one of best places for travelers to meet other travelers and drinks so cheap you actually forget how expensive it is to drink in this down.

Embrace the good things guys. I'll take a cheap pint over motion sensor lights any day!
Jess / March 25, 2013 at 11:51 pm
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Staying at Global Village isn't about having a nice room, it's about the atmosphere and the people. If you stay there for an extended period of time you become part of a family. Everyone that stays there is with you through the good and bad times and you all tend to help each other out in times of need. Sure the rooms can be a little shabby, but if you are going to spend your whole time sitting in you room and complaining then you shouldn't be staying in a hostel, you should go book yourself into a hotel.
GG Allin replying to a comment from Andy Shaw / March 26, 2013 at 09:04 am
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Who the hell spends 8 months in a hostel?
Moi / March 26, 2013 at 11:15 am
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King/Spadina Global Village
Good place. love that right in the middle is the BAR
Outside. good stuff
BUGS??? never had when I used to go there
Moi replying to a comment from GG Allin / March 26, 2013 at 11:15 am
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your relatives ;)
matt / March 26, 2013 at 11:22 am
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I stayed a few weeks at Canadiana back in 2009. The place was clean, staff was amazing and the atmosphere was great. Can't tell how it is now, but from my experience anyone looking for a hostel in Toronto should consider that place.
GG Allin replying to a comment from GG Allin / March 26, 2013 at 11:22 am
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I love how Moi made an attempt at a kind-of racist comment and then deleted it.
Andy Shaw replying to a comment from GG Allin / March 26, 2013 at 01:16 pm
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Who the hell replies to their own comments?

You'll find many long-term residents in hostels around the world for many reasons. For example; Financial - As not everyone goes travelling on daddy's credit card sometimes its hard to be able to afford 2 months rent to secure a place. Hostels allow weekly, bi weekly payment. Freedom to move - Not getting tied into a tenancy contract allows backpackers to travel easier and without restriction. They can change plans to suit the fluid nature of travelling this way. The list goes on.
Tom B replying to a comment from GG Allin / March 26, 2013 at 01:31 pm
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Who stays 8 months in a hostel? You'd be surprised how many people do, particularly in a working city like Toronto. Some people just focus more on, and thus spend more on good times rather then saving up 2 months rent up front, to get a place in town. So the long termers I was with usually knew how to have a good night out.

GVB getting a bit of a bad rap here on the comments. Stayed there for a long time a year ago and the whole bed bugs thing is silly. The odds of it happening to you ate GVB are quite low and you'd be considered very unlucky. This is not the case for some other hostels in Toronto.
GG Allin replying to a comment from Andy Shaw / March 26, 2013 at 01:32 pm
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Andy, Andy, Andy. A quick Google tells me you've possibly stayed at Global Backpackers and maybe even had a party in your honour? Good on ya...now tell me this.

If a person pays $20 or so a night, in a hostel, they really must be as stupid as I thought if they can't find a nicer accommodation or at least a room in a house in Toronto with some relatively normal housemates for less that $650 to $700 dollars a month. You might not want to use Daddy's credit card but maybe he should have given you some education in money matters before you travel the world. You might have a few more bucks in your back pocket. Besides, I've never trusted anyone I've met who stays in a hostel for more than a month.
Andy Shaw / March 26, 2013 at 01:56 pm
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A quick google will indeed tell you that I stayed at the Global Village. Also reading my comments in this blog will tell you that. For 8 months. The comment you replied to. Mulder and Scully your are not.

The party 'in my honour' was great too. Great crowd. No hipsters.

I travel because I find there is more to life that working 9 to 5 to 'climb the ladder' so you can make enough money to have those few days a year in the cottage by the lake. I find making everyday a cottage by the lake day to be much more pleasant. Stop worrying about money and live sir. I don't need an education in money matters. I just don't worship the dollar like you. I've seen things without a penny in my pocket that working suits couldn't dream of.

Have you actually met anyone who has lived in a hostel for more than a month? You originally seemed surprised this happens. So just wondering how you have an policy of distrust for something you didn't know about...
Mama Goose / March 26, 2013 at 02:55 pm
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Lot of animosity going on here! In all fairness, Global Village isn't any worse than hostels I've stayed in elsewhere in the world. I find it much more personable than most other hostels I've stayed in and as far as I'm concerned, that means far more to me while travelling than just a bed in a city. With a large portion of people arriving in Toronto to start a year or 2 working holiday visa, they need a place where they can make friends and connections for work and apartments, which Global Village is great for. If they choose to stay there for cost and location reasons, what of it??

In terms of review websites like TripAdvisor and HostelWorld - when was the last time you had an amazing meal/stay/tourist experience and made the effort to review it? It is common knowledge that if you have a bad experience somewhere, 10 people will hear about it; if you have a good experience, maybe 3 people will hear.

I see someone had a go at the bar being noisy? Who knew a bar could be noisy....if you don't want noisy, then don't stay in a hostel with a bar! There are plenty of other hostels without bars that are probably much quieter - this seems pretty logical to me.....
April / April 9, 2013 at 02:24 pm
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All of you need to chill out.
Neil / May 8, 2013 at 04:41 pm
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Are these "ratings" for real? Global Village rated #1? It's a filthy place! You really can't take this so-called TO Blog seriously. It's a joke; and a bad one.

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