How to store some stuff for a couple hours in downtown Toronto
October 18, 2021 10:45 AM   Subscribe

I have an appointment in downtown Toronto next week, and for security reasons I can't bring my phone, a backpack or other bag larger than a small purse, any food, etc. I am coming on the train from out of town with a six-year-old child, and I would like to try to find a way to store some belongings for a couple of hours.

The location is near University and Queen.

We are not staying the night in Toronto, so we won't have a hotel room. We're taking the train, so we won't have a car where we could put anything. The luggage room at the train station is closed, so that's not an option.

The place where I'm having the appointment has no storage or bag check or anything like that. They don't give any suggestions other than leaving your items in your hotel or car. There is no way they will grant any exceptions.

I would really like to be able to bring my phone, a backpack of books/games/etc for my kid, a water bottle, etc. You know, the standard sorts of things one would bring if they were going on a long daytrip with a kid to a different city. I know I can use a paper map, buy disposable water bottles, etc, but it's really inconvenient not to be able to bring stuff to entertain my kid. (And let's be real, I'd like to have my phone too.)

Is there a place where I can check a bag for a little while, or does anybody have other suggestions for how to deal with this?
posted by number9dream to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Call the place you're going, see if anyone can make a recommendation.
The train station might have luggage storage.
Last time I had to do this, in Boston, the train station recommended a local shop; it worked out well.
posted by theora55 at 10:51 AM on October 18, 2021

I would call a nice nearby hotel and explain your situation and that you are willing to pay a fee and/or tip generously.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:56 AM on October 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

I haven't used them, but Bounce Luggage Storage show a location at University and Queen, which would be super convenient for you. They do need to be booked before hand online. This is likely your most convenient location.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 10:58 AM on October 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I think your best bet might be the Eaton Centre - it used to have lockers and it looks like it is still there.

Otherwise, try a hotel - they may be willing to keep a bag at the desk. You could call ahead and ask. There are several hotels nearby.

Museums also often have a bag check. The Textile Museum is not too far from there, I think their bag check is a little less formal, just cubicles, or if you have time for a walk, the AGO has a good (secure) bag check and better hours.
posted by phlox at 10:59 AM on October 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Before COVID-19, the Staples at 375 University Ave would check bags for a fee. This was ideal for people visiting the U.S. Consulate-General across the street, which does not allow visitors to bring in bags or phones. I'd give them a call to see whether they still offer this service.
posted by grouse at 11:16 AM on October 18, 2021 [8 favorites]

The place where I'm having the appointment has no storage or bag check or anything like that.

Hm, I have a pretty good idea of where you're going. :D

Anyway, I think this is what you want. This convenience store provides storage up until 4pm during weekdays. Note that their address is on University Ave., but the entrance is on Simcoe. I would call ahead to make sure they still have this service.
posted by foxjacket at 11:17 AM on October 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

I have done exactly what you will be doing (just without the child!). As foxjacket says, there was a local store that would do storage of personal stuff for a small fee. There's people lining up at your main destination all day every day, and many of them arrive without having read the fine print about not being allowed to bring stuff in. So the market provides! There's an identical solution at every one of those establishments - in Calgary it's a copy shop down the hall. Pretty sure it was the bulk of their business.
posted by Jobst at 11:30 AM on October 18, 2021

The Sheraton Hotel is just across the street at 123 Queen West if you decide to try to store stuff there. If you're going where I think (starts with a C, to see a J), then a small bag like a personal backpack would usually be ok as long as it passes an X-ray test as in an airport.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 12:02 PM on October 18, 2021

The greyhound station at 610 Bay St has lockers if you can't find anything closer, definitely call to confirm they're still in operation but they have always been there.
posted by lafemma at 12:34 PM on October 18, 2021

Penguin Pickup's homepage says they do luggage storage, and there's one at the Rexall right at University and Queen.
posted by rpophessagr at 1:20 PM on October 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I had to visit the US Embassy in Toronto to renew my passport. (I'm a permanent resident of Canada.) I thought I had myself organized and wasn't bringing anything unnecessary but the security team there wouldn't let me wear my Fitbit inside! My Fitbit didn't have any smart features but they felt it qualified as a smartwatch and I absolutely was not going to argue with them. They told me that I could check it across the street at the Staples and lo and behold, I could. I think it was $5 or $10. When I came back to pick up my passport, I didn't bother paring down my belongings at all and just deposited my bag at Staples again. I totally understand your concern (the directions are VERY STRICT and VERY SPECIFIC) but there is almost certainly an industry that's popped up to accommodate the restrictions -- a convenience store, a Staples, something.

If you are going to a similar place, they are very friendly and very accommodating and truly just want to help you get to your appointment. But they are STRICT and take the regulations seriously, and it's smart of you to be thinking about this in advance. Good luck!
posted by kate blank at 1:23 PM on October 18, 2021

FWIW the US Consulate in Vancouver has a bank of little lockers now (post-Covid) that I don't think was noted on their websites. With any luck that's also become the case in Toronto?
posted by dum spiro spero at 4:54 PM on October 18, 2021

Response by poster: The Staples across the street from the consulate had bag storage for $5. Thanks everybody!
posted by number9dream at 9:31 AM on October 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

« Older Pulling the plug on a Rav 4   |   Up-to-date Climate/Infrastructure Bill info? And... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments