Canadiana Backpackers Inn



Hostelz.com's Review

Canadiana Backpacker is an excellent place to stay, whether for a couple of nights or for long term. It's a great place to meet people, as it's quite huge (six houses -- sleeps about two hundred people), but it does still have a friendly atmosphere. When you first arrive in Toronto and you have a lot of questions the staff will always help you out. But since the hostel is so huge they have quite a lot of staff and so it can be that you will not see the person that checked you in.

The Location

The hostel is located in a good area, only about five minutes from the streetcar (King Street) or a fifteen-minute walk from St. Andrews metro station. It's very easy to find and the metro as the streetcar is very efficient and easy to use. It's set on a quiet street next to the "party-area" in Toronto. There are restaurants, the IMAX, shops, bars, and clubs in the neighborhood.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The dorms are ok -- clean and tidy, but with not so much storage space but you get linen and towels for free during your stay. Security seems fine as well, with locking doors. About four rooms do share a bathroom and a toilet so to get a shower in the morning can take a while. The showers are good and everything is clean but the showers as well as the toilets are a bit rundown and would need an investment.

Common Spaces

The common area is next to the office, which is open at all times. It's got chairs as well as couches so you can meet other guests and can read a book as well as can chat with others. They do have a bookshelf and there are as well games which you can use. As well there is a huge outside area in the back where you can use the BBQ or have a game of table tennis. The kitchen is in the basement and is big and clean, with everything you need (there are three big fridges and coolers and as well as foot lockers). They provide free tea the whole day and there is free coffee and pancakes in the morning. There is also a big room downstairs where you can watch TV and movies. There is free wireless internet (which can be very slow if many people do use it) but you have to pay if you want the internet on a computer from the hostel.


Overall, the hostel is quite ok for a big city and for this size. You can have fun in the hostel and the staff will also organize events outside the hostel every day. It is clean, tidy, secure, and in a great location -- everything you need in a hostel really. But since it has been rated the best hostel in North America quite a while ago you have to call them and book in advance since they are mostly booked out -- even early in the season.
by Stefan Franke
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
May 2009


(Location is approximate. You may need to pan/move to find "Canadiana Backpackers Inn" at 42 Widmer Street.)


42 Widmer Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
43.648014, -79.391789
None (if you know the URL of their website, tell us and we'll add it)
+1 (877) 215-1225
+1 (416) 598-8940
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Not listed on HostelBookers.
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Hostelz.com Guest Reviews

  all good.
Age 54, English
Perfect Hostel
Location is great, good vibe, well organized, friendly staff. Very, very good hostel!!
Age 26, Germany
Decent, but not the best
I had a really nice stay at Canadiana. The staff were really helpful finding me a room during the busiest time in Toronto as soon as one became available and then switched my reservation around so I wouldn't have to move rooms at all during my stay. Breakfast is a joke (one stale bagel with 2 spreads available until 11 if there are any left) but the room I stayed in was massive. The lockers were huge, the beds really comfy, the bathrooms reasonably clean and there were mirrors galore. Location wise, you're in an excellent position to walk up to yonge/dundas (20mins), down to the CN tower, or head up to queen street/china town (5-10mims). It was a bit annoying having to leave a $15 deposit for keys and linen, but other than that I have no complaints.
Age 22, Australia
Acceptable but not preferred
Decent enough but many of the guests were young loud types who were making noise until 1am. The breakfast is pretty lame, so I found a cafe in PATH instead and got more than enough to eat for about $5. I'd skip this place in favor of the place around the corner.
Age 22, California
Best Hostel
Stayed for just over a week while visiting Toronto. The staff is super friendly, the common areas are huge, and they have something going on pretty much every night. It's a great place to stay and definitely the best hostel I've been to.
Age 25, USA
Amazing, awesome, wonderful front desk service!!!
I just want to say that the front desk service is so nice! I arrived during the snow storm recently to find out that the hostel did not have my reservation. Apparently, I had accidentally booked the hostel for the next day and the day after, not that night. So, the front desk employee was nice enough to check if there are any free beds and she found one and set me up! That was so nice of her. She moved my reservation to be for that night and for the next night without any extra charge. I even paid the same price that I would have paid for those other days. So because she went to extra mile, I go to settle down my things and not walk in a snow storm towards the rat-infested Backpackers hostel. So this hostel gets A+ for service. Plus, the hostel was super clean, and what helps is that everybody gets free clean sheets. There's a nice theatre in the basement, there's a fun common area, it is not too noisy in the rooms on the third floor where I was staying, and all in all it was a nice hostel. Close to the club district if that's what you want to do! Awesome location, on a quiet side street, very nice. Highly recommended.
Control deficiency at its finest
I wish I could love this place, but I had an unpleasant experience. Last month, I booked for a spot in a female dorm, 5 days in advance over the phone and even got a confirmation email. When I arrived, they gave me a mixed dorm, even though I had booked for a female dorm. But I think it might have been a male dorm because everyone there was male, and the receptionist kept switching between "male" and "mixed" when he described the room to me. I asked the receptionist if there was any other room available, but he said no and to take that one last available spot, otherwise I'll have to sleep "outside", referring to the street. He appeared to be annoyed with me and went off to cleaning, leaving me hanging there. As it was late into the night, I had no choice but to accept to sleep in the "mixed" dorm. In the morning, I complained to another receptionist and got a 50% refund. It seems like a control deficiency to me and I'd recommend against anyone from staying here. Also, to comment on the cleanness -- they give you a clean bed sheet and a pillow cover. But I saw a blood stain on the bed itself.

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