Toronto area, Montreal area cheap lodgings
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Feb 11, 2013 3:48 PM Last Post By: ref_traveller
Jan 14, 2013 2:32 AM
Toronto area, Montreal area cheap lodgingsI'm traveling to Canada with my two teenagers the first 3 weeks of July. I will stay some time with friends, but not sure when is possible for them. So I am looking for cheap lodgings (just clean room, clean sheets, clean bathroom). I am renting a car in Toronto, will travel around: visit Toronto, Niagara Falls, Montréal, perhaps Muskoka. Not necessary to stay in the city itself if it is cheaper to stay elsewhere. Any tips where to look for cheap lodgings, and if it is necessary to book all beforehand or will I still be able to find anything when there? (I am used to not making reservations, but I am talking about countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, South Africa). I used to live in Toronto when I was a lot younger... so there will be some places I really want to see again. For the rest, any tips on what to do with teenagers are welcome. I am traveling on a budget. Tickets + car rental will already set me back 3000€, so I hope to spend maximum 3000 € on the rest but hope to go for 2000€... Free things to do? let me know!
Jan 14, 2013 1:02 PM
1My favourite place to stay in downtown Toronto is the Howard Johnson on Avenue Rd. just north of Bloor, basically in Yorkville. If you're not picky, then I'd use Priceline or Hotwire to find a good deal. Myself, I am picky, preferring downtown-west over downtown-east. In that former category, really only the Howard Johnson and the Super 8 in Chinatown are decent and budget-friendly (by Toronto standards.)
Of course its cheaper to stay outside of downtown but dealing with Toronto traffic is not my idea of a good time. (Yes you save $20 on hotel price but add in the price of parking, frustration with traffic, knowing that you are polluting our city, etc and it might not appear so much cheaper any more.) Unfortunately, I can't think of any hotels that are outside of downtown but still on a subway line. Unless you plan on spending most of your time outside of downtown then I'd leave the rental car for later; hotel parking is $20/day. Perhaps you could give an indication of what you want to see in Toronto?
Montreal is much the same. Most hotels are downtown, though I think downtown is one of the least interesting parts of the city. However, most of the interesting parts will be accessible by Metro from there. Again, I wouldn't want to drive in Montreal; coming in from outside the city via Hwy 15 or over the South Shore bridges is a nightmare!
Jan 15, 2013 5:27 PM
2The chain hotels/motels are as expensive in small towns as big cities, sometimes more so because of the lack of competition. I use Priceline bidding for downtown Toronto regularly. My area is Downtown North, roughly Dundas north to Bloor and centered on Yonge Street. At 2 1/2 stars the hotels are mid-range and I usually can find a room for $70-$80 including the Priceline fee. I've probably stayed at all that are available in that selection and all the rooms are quite acceptable, if sometimes rather small or a little out-of-date.
Priceline deals with Montreal but not for the area I prefer, the Plateau on the east side. However, you can Google for bnb's in that area or check out the city's guide to accommodations on http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/ The prices are only a little lower than for hotels but the hosts can add personality.
For Niagara Falls, get up early in Toronto and drive over for the day. Traffic can be terrible but the drive around the west end of Lake Ontario is fairly interesting.
Jan 16, 2013 1:56 AM
3Your "cheap accommodation" might be my expensive, or vice versa.
However in Montréal we have found very affordable accommodation (about $100 per night) using the apartment website www.airbnb.com. We have found a great place very close to the city, and there are a lot to choose from on the website.
No - I do not work for airbnb.com ... it is simply a good resource.
Jan 16, 2013 4:09 AM
Jan 16, 2013 7:00 PM
5You could also have a look at student's residencies. Solin Hall , for example, there are others. However, those being popular because they are relatively cheap, well located and offer cooking facilities, your chances of getting an appartment or a studio there with no reservations are slim.
Jan 16, 2013 11:53 PM
Jan 17, 2013 4:34 AM
Jan 19, 2013 7:40 PM
Jan 29, 2013 5:15 AM
9You asked for ideas on what to do with teens. In Montreal, cycle the Lachine canal. Watch the buskers on Place St Jean. Biodome, not your standard zoo. July is peak festival season -- Just for Laughs, Completement Cirque, the Jazz Festival, international fireworks competition Tuesdays and Saturdays. All the more reason to book your accommodation now. Second the motion on student residences and air bnb.
Jan 29, 2013 2:33 PM
10Thanks for all the answers so far! More tips are welcome. My lodging budget per night for the 3 of us should be under $70. I managed to find cabin rentals on a camping site in the Hardangerfjord, Norway. And Norway must be one of the more expensive countries to travel. I'm renting a car, so we don't have to rely on public transport to get there. We'll be able to stay with friends for some time too, so that helps to reduce my budget a bit.
We'll be spending a few days in Port Hope (with a friend, so I'll get plenty of tips on what to do there), near Milton (visit Niagara from there I guess). I think I want to rent a place in Toronto to visit the city, because driving in and out sounds tiring and time consuming. Tips for great hangout places (restaurants, bars, music) with teenagers welcome. Good and "cheap" restaurant in China town. I'm shocked by the Wizard of Oz show prices ($164) for the cheapest ticket. Are all shows this expensive these days??? Can you get 50% off tickets of the day of the show?
Jan 29, 2013 4:37 PM
11For our accommodation (using airbnb) in Montréal, Québec City, and Halifax ... we selected the filter for free onsite parking, which was useful for the rental car. We still found places close to Downtown with their own parking spots. Not a lot at less than 70.00 CAD per night however.
Jan 30, 2013 5:22 AM
12Yes, I don't think you can find anything for $70 in downtown Toronto, though I haven't looked at air b'n'b. However, commuter rail - the GO train - connects Milton to downtown Toronto so you might want to just extend your stay there if $$ is a big concern. (Milton is basically a suburb of Toronto. Port Hope is a bit too far.)
Your best resources for learning about bars and music are the free weekly papers Now and The Grid. Blog TO can give you a sense of the different neighbourhoods. My favourite cheap Chinatown restaurant - for dim sum - is Rol San at 323 Spadina. I also like the dumplings at Beijing dumplings at Bay and Edward, kitty-corner to the Toronto Coach Terminal.
For general food advice in Toronto and Montreal, check out Chowhound. For bar and music information in Montreal, check out Cult MTL.
Generally, though, you have to be 19 to go to bars in Ontario and 18 in Québec.
Feb 11, 2013 12:15 PM
13Thanks for the answers! I forgot about age limits for bars... Here in Europe (the continent at least) you can even take your kids to a bar, you just can't give them alcohol!
Feb 11, 2013 3:48 PM
(4 star Hotel)
From US$169.26 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$21.84 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$197.42 per night