How to Shop for Hostels in Canada

There are a wide range of hostels right across North America. There are the large multi-national hostels with fully computerized membership programs and special discounts to "Mom and Pop" hostels with a phone and note-pad.

Hostels in Canada and USA can be converted old houses, rooming houses, hotels, warehouses, farms or factories. Travelers can choose what type of hostel experience they want from small and intimate to large and busy.

When shopping for a hostel the first item to look for is the style of rooms.

Hostels can be a series of dormitory style rooms or single rooms or a combination of single rooms and dormitory style rooms. The single or sometimes called private rooms can be for 1 person, a couple, family of 3, 4, 5 or 6 people. The dormitory style rooms are usually from six to 20 beds in a very large shared room.

When shopping for a hostel look for the bathroom and shower facilities. Are they private or shared. Book the hostel room and bathroom facilities that you are confortable with.

When booking a hostel - ask what is supplied with the room - do you have to bring sheets and pillows. Make sure that the hostel supplies what you need for your stay to be comfortable.

The second item to look for is the pricing for the hostel. Some hostels charge per person per night and some charge by the room. Usually the price for a dormitory style room is from $15 to 25 per night per person. Usually private rooms start at $40 for single rooms.

The prices for hostels in busy tourist locations like Whistler BC, Yellowstone, Banff and Jasper Alberta and the larger cities like New York, Miami, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are the most expensive. The smaller locations like Niagara Falls, Orlando, San Diego, Ottawa and Quebec are usually less expensive.

The third item when shopping for hostels are the facilities. Does the hostel have private bathrooms with the private rooms. Are lockers available. Does the hostel supply all the bedding materials and towels. Are pay phones available, internet access, computers, a TV room a shared kitchen. Are any meals supplied. Is laundry available.

The fourth item is location of the hostel. Is the location close to the attractions you wish to visit, on a public transportation route and in a safe neighborhood.

When shopping for Canadian hostels - travelers should make a list - type of room - price range - minimum facilities - location - when choosing hostels.

When choosing hostels try to find someone who has stayed at the hostel or has posted a travel diary and maybe pictures of the hostel. It is good to have many opinions.

Hostels can be excellent meeting places for travelers to exchange tips, short cuts and savings. Experienced travelers who share information can help you see the best attractions and maybe for less. Hostels often have ads and coupons from local travel services and attractions.

Homestay for Students in Canada

Homestay can be a wonderful experience for international students in Canada.

There are some excellent Canadian families that take a genuine interest in the international students and provide a wealth of experience, care and English language learning to the students.

Homestay is accommodation for students with Canadian families while studying ESL English in Canada.

Students can use the registration form for homestay with a Canadian homestay family.


S & R Homestay in Windsor has paused all homestay until 2022 or the Covid 19 Virus has been contained or eliminated and the local public health has granted a phase 3 re-opening.

How to Shop for a HOMESTAY in Canada

Questions to Ask

  • Do I receive a written copy of the rules and responsibilities of the homestay?
  • Is my homestay contract with the family, homestay contractor or the school?
  • If there is a problem who do I complain to or ask for a refund?
  • If my homestay is inadequate is seven days notice enough to change?
  • Where is the homestay located?
  • Is commuting time less than 30 minutes?
  • Is the homestay located on a public transportation route?
  • Is the homestay family Native English speakers?
  • How many family members, pets and other ESL students in the house?
  • Do I get a single room, or a shared room?
  • Do I have access to the TV, radio, telephone, Email, computer?
  • How much time will the family spend with me each day?
  • Do I have a choice of food that is served?
  • Will the family prepare food so I do not gain or lose weight ?
  • Can I buy my own lunch ( and/or dinner) and pay less for homestay?
  • Do I have to do my own laundry outside of the homestay?

For Additional information Go to:

FAQS - Frequently Asked Questions about Canada

2022 Canada Homestay with ESL English Tutors

ESL in Canada recommends private one to one ESL English tutoring for international students. The combination of Canadian homestay and tutoring is an ideal learning opportunity for international students.

Costs for the 2022 homestay and ESL English tutor program:
Rooms are between $500 to $800 per four-week period
Meals are $400 per four-week period
Tutoring costs are:
Plan A : 20 hours per month for $400 or
Plan B : 40 hours per month for $800 or
Plan C : 60 hours per month for $1,200
Books, reading materials, reference materials: $100
Registration fee: $150

Cost to the student is from $1,200 to $ 2,400 per four-week period. The homestay tutoring program will save students $300 to $800 each month and provide 30+ additional hours of individual attention each month.

The language students can also study TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC, or Business English, for 2 hours per day with a specialist or at the local Board of Education continuing education programs or self-study at the Library or they can volunteer at the ESL in Canada Social Club for free language exchanges.

Example Day Program for Homestay Tutor Program
7:30 AM wake up
8 AM Breakfast
9 - 11 AM Study class with tutor
12 Noon Lunch
2 - 5 PM Metro Reference Library - Language listening Laboratory
6 PM Supper
7:30 - 9 PM Continuing Education Classes
9 - 10:30 PM Homework and journals
10:30 PM lights out

Example Listing for Homestay Tutor Issac in Toronto
I have three rooms that are devoted to ESL students. The common areas are open concept, living room, dining room, and kitchen. I have a three-level house located directly across from the subway.

There is also a large backyard for summer bbq parties. I provide all meals for the students + I assist them with English. I also provide introductions into all of the various cultures of Canada.

We take tours into Quebec, Ottawa, and central Ontario. I do a lot of entertaining (huge dinner parties). During these events, the students are able to mingle with artists, academics and just plain folks.

During the warmer months, I encourage the students to bike and walk. We take cycling tours of Toronto's parks and we often pack a picnic lunch. In the evenings and weekends I take them with me (walking tours) as I do my shopping. This is an important tool of learning the basics in English and also how to mingle with Canadians ( I talk with strangers as I go through my daily duties). Most students don't know how to start a conversation with a stranger in public. I try to devote a large percentage of my time to the students. I enjoy helping the students to learn about Canada and Canadians.

Students Benefit with Homestay Tutors

The Homestay Tutor Program is designed for the Canadian homestay family to add real value to the " Homestay Experience" of international students who travel to Canada to study English as a second language.

Homestay in Canada can be a wonderful experience for students to receive real one-on-one tutoring in English pronunciation, language rhythm, tone and timing. The student can hear oral demonstrations and practice their basic conversation skills in a positive nurturing environment that no mass language class in Canada can duplicate.

Homestay students have stated that they have learned between 0% and 90% of all English during their stay in Canada at the Homestay. ESL in Canada is interested in developing the positive aspects of individual tutoring for students and help homestay families be properly compensated for the true value of their contributions.

The typical language student traveling to Canada pays from $600 to $1500 for 100 hours of ESL classes, pays $600 to $900 for homestay and a variety of registration fees from $200 to $500. With travel expenses the first month for the typical language student costs from $3000. to $4500. Canadian dollars.

Because of the high costs most language students stay in homestay for one month then move to an apartment with other students where the native language is spoken most of the time. Most international language students have been forced to a totally negative English language-learning living situation because of basic economics.

The typical language student sits in a class with 10 to 25 other students and receives from 0 to 10% teacher help. If we use the 10% and 100 hours formula - the typical language student pays $60 to $150 per hour for their individual teacher attention.

ESL in Canada wants to change the economics for language students to help them learn more for less. The basic economics for homestay tutoring is very simple. Costs of a room range between $200 to $400 per four week period, the price for Meals is $300 per four week period and the price for 30 hours of tutoring is $450 per 4 week period. The Total Cost to the student is $950 to $1150 Canadian dollars per four week period.

The combination program will provide 30 additional hours of individual attention each month. This combination will allow language students to stay in the homestay and remain in the 100% positive language learning environment for the entire study period in Canada.

How to Shop for
Student Residence Real Estate

(Original post 2002) Smart international parents purchased property for their sons or daughters while they studied in Canada. These real estate purchases in good locations provided a convenient and safe student residence for their children.

North American Real Estate has price cycles that last 5 to 10 years. The secret to smart investing is to buy during a low price cycle and sell during the high peaks. Many parents have enjoyed the North American price rises from 1989 to 1997, from 1999 to 2006, from 2012 to 2018 and most recently from 2019 to 2022. Most of the last 3 year cycle price increases have been in the 50 to 200 percent range.

Many of the parents who enjoyed good timing had their $200,000 condo or townhouse rise to $400,000 over the entire cycle period. When the parents calculate the cost of tuition, food, clothes, books and expenses over the usual four years of university many still made a profit or they can just count the education cost for their children as free.

This type of longer-term intelligent investing keeps the rich families rich and enables them to grow richer every year.

The only secret to renting is to rent (for self use) when the prices slide and you are waiting for the prices to bottom before purchasing or rent (to tenants) if you have a property are waiting for prices to rise to maximize your capital gain before selling.

(fall 2006) Recent real estate commentators have stated that some Canada local real estate markets have either slowed, topped or cooled and require careful analysis before making any purchase decisions. If the lessons of the last two real estate cycles are to be used then renting can be an excellent option if prices are sliding but not yet at the bottom.

(2009 Update) Many real estate analysts say the absolute bottom was October 2008 - and the bottom may last another year or two. If you have cash this may be the time to look for bagains. You will have to wait 5 to 10 years for the up cycle to mature.

(2010 Update) This looks like a two bottom recession - yes the prices are still moving lower and will stay this way for another year or so. The only good thing is that if you do buy now there are mortgages available if you have an established cash flow.

(2013 spring update) Florida real estate reports a 6% increase in prices - first uptick since 2008. This may be a fuzzy signal that the double-bottom has ended. We just have to see when there is a real raise.

There are two Canadian real estate bubbles - Toronto and Vancouver - which did not crash and burn in 2008. They did slow down and cooled but did not crash. Parents looking for student residences in these two locations may have to use a different strategy as properties may not show a huge rise from a crash as in many USA locations.

(2014 spring update) Unemployement is keeping prices from rising. Lower wages and less jobs equals a slower growth for real estate prices. The Toronto bubble is still in place with prices too high for normal middle class purchasers.

There are many Homestay education services and AirBnB that real estate investors can utilize to earn money. Homestay projects require the correct form of real estate and a zoning category that allows for this business activity.

All homestay businesses are service and cash flow based and require day to day management and supervision. The earnings tend to average about $500 to $1,000 a month per dedicated bedroom and are an excellent part-time business and investment.

(2018 update) Prices rose 15% during 2016 and about 25% during 2017 and with the mortgage rule changes and 15% foreign owners penalty tax the peak may be be finished by mid 2018.

The year 2020 started with a 6% rise then the COVID 19 hit with a serious impact. As of August 2020 the market of less listings, with unsure rental income and low interest rates is whipping the market in both directions.

We used cash to buy property in July 2020 and hoped that demand continues for good value residential property.

(2022 Update) House prices rose 30% from July 2020 to 2021 and we happily collected an excellent profit with the sale. Our new house bought with the new proceed has risen from July 2021 to now May 2022. We will keep this one.

We did 3 buy and sells in Toronto, Niagara Falls and Windsor doing exactly what we recommended.

We can recommend the best real estate agents and mortgage services.

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