One of the most underrated and lesser-known areas of Toronto is the Danforth aka Greek Town. An area that spans for miles that’s filled with many incredible restaurants, bars and people saying ‘eh’ every second word. It’s a really pleasant area that gives you the Toronto feel mixed with a large town feel with more culture than that one really travelled friend who goes on about how cultured they are. The Danforth is also home to a pretty pleasant hostel just around the corner from Donlands subway stop: The Only Backpackers Inn.
A relatively easy hostel to get to but also rather hidden with its front desk being inside the café/bar also called The Only. Checking in via a café, where hipster-looking humans are kicking about with their MacBooks pretending they’re using it for something productive and not playing Happy Wheels, is rather unusual but also sets the laid-back atmosphere of The Only. The laid-back atmosphere continues with the aesthetics of the hallways and the small touches giving you the ‘oh that’s a little quirky’ feeling. All that before you even hit up the outdoor area where you can commonly find humans chilling during the day and smoking a bunch of the Devil’s lettuce at night (and also during the day too). In amongst the busy city of Toronto, you feel a homely vibe from the hostel which helps with there usually being long-term residents staying there and having their own community but also making time to chat to any new person that arrives. For a lot of humans, having a bunch of long-term residents can put them off a place, with them usually being Regina George-like and not allowing you to sit with them regardless if you’re wearing pink on a Wednesday or not, but trust us, at the Only Backpackers Inn it’s not like that.
In the rooms, the beds are pretty standard but rather comfy with you sinking into the mattress and not feeling the bedsprings under you like many hostels. Inside the rooms, there isn’t a huge amount to complain about other than the space and the lack of sidebars for the top bunks. There are some rooms with a great amount of space in them but there are also some where you feel packed in like you’re on a Japanese Bullet Train at rush hour, it’s just the luck of the draw. In every room, there isn’t a safety bar alongside the top bunk which gives you the burning fear that you’ll fall 6ft to your imminent death, or just a big boo-boo, even with you sinking into the mattress pretty deep.
The hostel is rather small but not compacted where you’re suffocating over the lack of space. The largest space is the kitchen situated above the TV room but below the outdoor area. The kitchen is rather large with plenty of space to sit and eat your food whilst having plenty of room to cook your food. Everything about the kitchen is large in hostel size, including the fridge and food storage space. The TV room below is also rather intriguing with a creepy basement feel to it but not a Fritzl basement feel. It’s just rather dimly lit with some artwork and other bits and bobs packed away to the side along with what seems to be a heating system or something that seems very significant to the hostels’ livelihood. The basement TV room is genuinely the best if not one of the best things about this hostel. It’s perfect to watch the cable tv until 4 am but also perfect to chill out and do some work or watch Dora The Explorer on your laptop without people judging you too much.
The Only Backpackers Inn is the hostel to stay at if you want an atmosphere different from the North American city and Toronto atmosphere without having to venture too far out with the downtown vicinity. It boasts many great features such as its free breakfast, the basement tv room that’s open 24 hours, the large kitchen and comfy beds. The only major negatives are the room space being a bit hit or miss and the WiFi is a little hit or miss depending on what room and bed you’re assigned to. It’s Toronto’s best hostel for long-term residents on a working holiday visa but also Toronto’s best hostel for those wanting to experience The Six whilst having the backpacking, not in a city feel. No doubt at all The Only Backpackers Inn receives a Very Nice grade.
OVERALL GRADE: Very Nice
• Very comfy beds
• 24-hour TV room
• Large kitchen
• Great atmosphere
• Free breakfast
• The café attached turns into a bar at night
• Room space is a little hit or miss depending on the room
• WiFi hit or miss depending on room and bed