Toronto-Area Hotel for Family
July 5, 2019 6:39 AM   Subscribe

We are stopping in Toronto during our Summer Road Trip Extravaganza (staying in TO July 24 and 25th). Our plans include a Jays game, the Ripleys Aquarium and the CN Tower. Getting a hotel in that that area seems very expensive. We are looking for hotel recommendations that are very subway/transit friendly to get to Downtown Toronto with a couple of not-tiny kids in tow (8 and 11). Or, if miracles exist, a hotel within walking distance of the area that is not a health/safety risk or terribly overpriced. Thanks!
posted by joelhunt to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rather than subway friendly, you might want to explore a hotel near a GO station in the suburbs (I’m not sure where you are coming from/driving to so I won’t recommend a specific station). The ride-in is nicer, with a better view for the kids, washrooms, the ability to walk around, and has AC (and if you board towards the end of rush hour your will get a seat) versus the more crowded TTC option. The GO can be faster than the TTC due to the infrequent stops. All GO trains stop at Union, which then has a short, indoor, air-conditioned walk to Skydome, CN Tower and Ripleys.
posted by saucysault at 6:55 AM on July 5, 2019 [5 favorites]

You could try near Pearson Airport (YYZ) or in Vaughan - the airport has the UP Express train to Union, and Vaughan has a couple of new subway stops that will make it easy to get downtown. Both will have cheaper options than nice downtown hotels for sure, and you'll have a car so driving to the Vaughan stops from a nearby hotel is an option.
posted by wellred at 7:00 AM on July 5, 2019

Try using HotWire to book your hotel. You won't get to pick the exact hotel/motel, but you will get to pick an area to stay in an have your choice of amenities vs price. I've never gotten a bad experience using it, and usually get in the door for way under the rates charged by direct booking sites.

That said, there's a Motel 6 on Spadina near Dundas, in Chinatown right near Kensington Market, that is pretty good and usually quite cheap, comparatively. If you want Toronto flavour, it's hard to beat, but you'll have to TTC (streetcar right outside the door on Spadina) or walk half an hour to get to the attractions saucysalt mentioned.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:10 AM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Also, parking is going to hurt if you want to keep your car downtown. Price you pay for bringing your 2 tonne private motorcoach into a big city.

Enjoy your stay, it's a great time to be here. Check NOWTORONTO.COM event lists for things to do on your dates.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:13 AM on July 5, 2019

MM, also there's an Econo Lodge at the corner of Jarvis and Gerrard that's walkable from downtown. They do a continental breakfast and it's nice and clean inside. My partner and I stayed there (as we did at the Motel 6 mentioned above) and it's usually pretty affordable because it's in a neighbourhood with a lot of social services, though it's as safe as anywhere else in the city, it's just white middle-class fear of the underprivileged that makes it cheaper than many other hotels a little closer to the core.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:16 AM on July 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

Echoing that this is tough. Bit of a wild card option, but there is a Days Inn in the Beaches neighborhood at roughly Coxwell and Queen.

The Beaches is a nice area to stay in, out of the hustle of dowtown. Lots of coffee shops and ice cream in that general area. It’s maybe a 30-35 min street car ride to get downtown. You do not want to be driving downtown, as parking is exorbitant.

Best of luck and enjoy your visit!
posted by walkinginsunshine at 7:33 AM on July 5, 2019

If you decide to go the GO transit route (which I also recommend for finding a hotel at a better price). I recommend staying somewhere on the Lakeshore East/West Line, it runs the latest and most frequently (typically every half hour, here's the Lakeshore West Schedule). As an example I found this hotel, which is 2.1km from Clarkson GO station, and that is around a 30 minute trip from Clarkson GO to Union Station (which gets you right downtown where you want to be).

If you want to stay downtown, I can only personally recommend two hotels that I've stayed in that are usually more affordable, one is the Super 8 in Chinatown (have stayed there with my family, it looks weird on the outside but its clean and quiet on the inside) or the Marriot Residence Inn, which is super close to everything you want to go to, my family stays there every time they visit (but can be pricey in the summer)
posted by devonia at 7:37 AM on July 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Christ, I meant the Super 8 in my first comment, as mentioned by devonia. [headsmack] I've walked past it so many times.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:48 AM on July 5, 2019

We stayed at IndexGB&B ( which is a bit of a quirky hotel. You would need two rooms, unless they've added a family room, but they are quite cheap at about $100 each night. The owners are a bit quirky as they run the art shop downstairs, but the rooms are clean the breakfast is simple, but adequate (think cereal and toast) and it is a very short walk from Queen Street with a streetcar into downtown Toronto. I would certainly stay there again were I visiting Toronto.
posted by koolkat at 8:11 AM on July 5, 2019

My boss stays at a B&B in the downtown core regularly, and loves it: Urban North Inns. There are rooms with private bathrooms; ask specifically if when you book if you wish that (it's a sina qua non for my boss).

B&Bs are generally not subject to the same surge pricing as downtown hotels, and they run $100-$200/night, rather than the $600 for a room that I've seen from big hotels. You may be able to find them via Expedia. When I've had to book travel for guests for my organization, I've also found good rates with other B&Bs.
posted by jb at 10:58 AM on July 5, 2019

it's as safe as anywhere else in the city, it's just white middle-class fear of the underprivileged that makes it cheaper

While this is true of the Econolodge, it’s also a neighbourhood where you are likely to see some of the rougher edges of city living right outside the door - I live a block from there and as an example, I see addicts standing in traffic at the intersection in front of the hotel asking for change (or whatever) at least a few times every week. Good on you if you’re the kind of parent that welcomes honest conversation with your kids, but if you don’t want to field discussions of drug use, mental health or street life, it might not be the location for you.
posted by scrute at 5:13 PM on July 5, 2019

New College Residence, at U of T, offers some rooms for short term stays during the summer.
Ryerson University has some limited rooms as well.
posted by Kabanos at 1:48 PM on July 8, 2019

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