Toronto is more than just a cosmopolitan city; it is a cultural phenomenon. Its denizens literally have roots across the world. A veritable hub of fine dining, shopping, theater, and arts, Toronto is also one of the world’s greatest epicenters of LGBTQ+ culture. With its vibrant international sensibilities, Toronto is one of the world’s only cities to have more than one gay district. With demand for gay hotels in Toronto outstripping supply, you can only imagine the open-mindedness of this Canadian city.
Most of Toronto’s LGBTQ+ action is concentrated around the iconic gay neighborhood of Church-Wellesley Village. The area plays host to dozens of gay bars/clubs, many of which featured as the backdrop to ‘Queer as Folk,’ the popular 90s American drama series. The gay village is iconic for more than one reason. It is home to the world’s oldest LGBTQ+ bookstore, the Glad Day Bookshop, as well as the indie gay theater, Buddies in Bad Times. Apart from Church-Wellesley, Toronto’s other gayborhoods include the edgier Queen West Village and Old Cabbagetown.
Gay Toronto’s domain extends beyond its neighborhoods. The clothing-optional, gay-friendly Hanlan’s Point, is one of Canada’s best gay beaches. What’s more, it’s also one of North America’s most famous nudist beaches. Apart from Toronto Pride, the city also celebrates the gay circuit music festival Prism, and the Inside Out festival which screens LGBTQ+ films.
One of the world’s most gay-friendly cities, Toronto is undoubtedly the most vibrant sojourn on your Canadian vacation. We’ve dug up a list of the best gay hotels in Toronto for your stay, which ranges from five-star luxury to super-charming Victorian-era cottages.
Old Mill Toronto
Imagine living in a country inn along the river just a 20-minute subway ride from all the popular sights of Toronto. Welcome to the Old Mill, the only country inn within Toronto’s city limits. As far as scenic locations go, the gay-friendly Old Mill has one that cannot be beaten. The inn’s nestled in a five-story, 20th-century Tudor Hotel right along the Humber River in the Humber Valley. The quaint hotel oozes bundles of charm and is surrounded by an arched stone bridge and beautifully manicured verdant gardens.
Those who dig medieval decor will love the traditionally done-up grand and spacious rooms at Old Mill. They feature wrought-iron, four-poster mahogany, and carved sleigh beds, and some even have curtains. Cherrywood and mahogany furniture grace the stately place, and most rooms boast of views of the river. The Old Mill is perfect for gay couples looking to indulge in some old-fashioned romance during their stay in Toronto.
That’s not all that this quaint inn offers. The on-site bar is a jazz hotspot of sorts, while the spa features an array of top-notch treatments. The dining room is akin to that of a manor, complete with a cathedral ceiling and dinner-dancing on weeknights. What’s more, the buffet breakfast is an absolute crowd-pleaser.
McGill Inn B&B
Stay at the lovingly-restored 19th-century Victorian townhouse of McGill Inn B&B in the southern part of Church-Wellesley. The cozy, gay-friendly B&B offers the choice of six beautifully decorated rooms aptly named after subtle, pastel hues from the Victorian era. If you do not mind splurging, do look at the superb Yellow Room, which faces the B&B’s garden deck via a gorgeous French door. This is one of the best hotels in Toronto’s gay village for gay couples looking for an old-world romance.
The B&B lies on the tranquil, eponymous McGill Street, hardly a block away from Church-Wellesley’s fabulous posse of gay saunas and bars. Cabbagetown and Downtown are both within walking distance. McGill Inn B&B is right in the heart of Toronto’s museum district, with as many as six museums within walking distance of it. The metro station a block away from the B&B makes the very best of Toronto’s attractions extremely accessible.
A Seaton Dream
A slice of English country living comes to the streets of Toronto at Seaton Dream B&B in the heart of Cabbagetown. The dreamy, gay-friendly inn features only three rooms with excellent levels of attention and service. The breakfast is a gourmand’s delight and the main draw here. It is whipped up in style using ingredients sourced from the house garden itself. The rooms are beautifully appointed, complete with super-comfy beds, balconies, oversized bathrooms, and lots of natural light. Clearly, Seaton Dream is one heck of a Cabbagetown gem.
Seaton Dream lies just two streets away from the historic Allan Gardens, Church-Wellesley, as well as the Don River. What’s more, streetcar and subway stations are within walking distance, making most of Toronto extremely accessible. Gay travelers looking for a relaxing soak after a day of exploring Toronto will like the gay sauna of Spa Excess is just 10 minutes away.
The Drake Hotel
One of the pioneering boutique gay hotels in Toronto, Drake is extremely popular with young and hip gay travelers. Housed in a structure that was a notorious flophouse, the ultra-cool Drake today retains the original elements from that era. Eclectic art and a mix of modern and vintage furniture pieces grace the hotel.
Gay travelers looking for a steamy getaway in Toronto will find the Drake Hotel irresistible. Rooms are called ‘dens’ or ‘crash pads’ and are innately stylish and sleek. Exposed-brick walls, cool artwork, and glassed-in showers looking out to the bedroom set the sensual tone. However, it is the fabulous pleasure menus that are absolutely sensational. Guests can take their pick of mood-inducing pleasure items, right from sex toys/props to flavored condoms. What’s more, guests can even order aphrodisiacal foods like oysters and chocolate truffles to get into the mood.
If you do manage to get out of the room, Drake also has three culinary offerings for you to dig into some good food. Church-Wellesley is a 30-minute streetcar ride. Some of the top things to see in Toronto, including the Entertainment District, the iconic CN Tower, and the historic Distillery District are all just a 20-minute streetcar ride away.
Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square
Gay travelers wishing to explore Toronto thoroughly will find Hotel Le Germain in the Entertainment District perfect. The gay-friendly hotel is very well-connected indeed. Firstly, it’s steps away from the iconic Air Canada Center. The historic Distillery District and the Harborfront at Lake Ontario are a five-minute walk. What’s more, the hotel connects to the underground pedestrian network, and there are further connections to the subway and streetcar systems. If that wasn’t enough, the ferries to Toronto’s Islands are just 10 minutes away. In fact, staying at Hotel Le Germain even leaves you time to go on this lovely sightseeing cruise of Toronto’s harbor and islands.
Rooms at Le Germain are subtly-frisky, as massive, mid-workout poses of muscled athletes grace each room. Bathrooms feature sultry glass rainfall showers directly facing the bedroom. Apart from all mod-cons, the rooms also feature blackout blinds and openable windows for fresh air. An included continental breakfast is much-welcomed, as is the free filtered water and green apples in the hotel corridors.
If you’re looking to enjoy an evening of frivolities at one of the many great gay bars of Toronto, then Church-Wellesley is a mere 20-minute subway ride.
Holiday Inn Express Toronto Downtown
The Holiday Inn is undeniably one of the best value-for-money gay hotels in Toronto’s gay village. For a no-frills place, Holiday Inn’s services are quite impressive. The hotel features private limos for hire, a small fitness center, and even an on-site spa. However, the hotel’s most inviting facet is the indoor pool with an attached lounge area and rooftop patio. They make for the perfect relaxation space, especially when you’re taking a laid-back day. Also, the daily breakfast is a nice touch.
Rooms at the Holiday Inn might be less on the foot space, but the cons end there. The rooms feature vibrant wallpaper, large and comfy beds, and even mini-fridges and flat-screen TVs.
The Holiday Inn does particularly great on location in the heart of Church-Wellesley, especially for the LGBTQ set. Some of the best gay bars of Toronto are right down the block, including Crews & Tangos and Woody’s. There’s even two of the city’s best gay saunas nearby.
If you like hotels with meaningful bits of history attached to them, then you will love the gay-friendly Hotel Ocho in Downtown Toronto. The fetching hotel lies in a heritage structure that was a 20th-century textile factory. Today, the hotel retains withs brick-and-beam industrial charm. In fact, even the hotel’s name is meaningful. Its a nod to the owner’s South American-Chinese heritage, since Ocho (the number eight in Spanish) is considered lucky in the Chinese culture.
The loftlike, sun-kissed rooms feature exposed-brick walls, tall ceilings, classic furnishings, and gorgeous views over Chinatown. The service is utterly personalized with just 12 rooms. The upmarket restaurant on-site is an extremely popular spot for weddings. So while the setting is romantic, do make sure that there are no weddings booked during your stay here.
Hotel Ocho is serviced by two streetcar lines and is a 30-minute subway-streetcar ride to Church-Wellesley’s gay bars. What’s more, Toronto’s best attractions like the CN Tower and the Harborfront are within walking distance of the hotel.
The Gladstone Hotel
Step back in time at the Gladstone Hotel, Toronto’s oldest hotel today and nothing short of a legend. The gay-friendly hotel is housed in a beautifully restored late-19th-century red-brick Victorian building on Queen Street West. The lobby pays homage to the structure’s historic past and even features the 1904-built wrought-iron electric elevator.
Each of the hotel’s 37 rooms is a different artist’s vision. No two rooms are alike, and each of them is decked out in unique furnishings. Room decor themes range from teen queen bedrooms and Victorian dollhouses to 70s-era rec rooms. Heck, there’s even a room celebrating queer culture in the form of vintage matchbook covers. While bathrooms are a bit of a squeeze, the tall ceilings and huge, arched windows make staying here extremely comfy. What’s more, the rooms even provide earplugs and Samsung Galaxy tablets. One of the most eclectic gay hotels in Toronto, the Gladstone makes for an extremely interesting stay.
The main-floor Café is bustling all day long with patrons ordering everything from cocktails to brunch to dinner. Exploring the surrounding areas is a breeze with the hotel’s bike-borrowing system, complete with helmets. What’s more, Church-Wellesley, Distillery District, Downtown, and the Entertainment District are all less than a half-hour streetcar ride.
Budget-conscious gay travelers will appreciate the laidback, gay-friendly vibe at the HI-Toronto Hostel. Straddling Downtown and Old Toronto, the hostel radiates a classic hostel charm.
The exposed bare-brick walls, exposed pipes, concrete flooring, and black/whiteboards scrawled with drink specials add to the hostel’s hip-industrial feeling. Window frames are stacked to the hilt with books, while rental bikes rest casually against the walls. The common kitchen swarms with a bunch of interesting fellow travelers whipping up meals. The TV room makes for a great place to strike up a conversation. Mornings are dedicated to free, freshly-prepared breakfasts, which are a huge draw. Live music floats on a daily basis from the on-site rooftop cafe and bar, Furthermore, the hostel organizes free group activities every day, making for a great place for socializing.
Guests can choose between dorms and private rooms, which are small but modern. While most dorms have their own bathroom, others require guests to use larger, shared bathrooms.
Most of Toronto’s attractions are within walking distance. In fact, this budget 2-hour Downtown walking tour is a fantastic way to see its top attractions. These include the likes of CN Tower, Yonge-Dundas Square, Mackenzie House, City Hall, and so much more.
The lovely Victoria’s Mansion is in the thick of all the gay action in Toronto. Located in the heart of Church-Wellesley, the quaint, gay-friendly guesthouse is right next to fabulous gay establishments like Pegasus and Black Eagle. Some of Toronto’s steamiest gay saunas lie close to the guesthouse too. Even the Buddies in Bad Times LGBTQ theater is just a street away. All-in-all, Victoria’s Mansion makes for one of the best hotels in Toronto’s gay village to stay at.
Housed in a 19th-century Victorian home, the charming guesthouse features cozy rooms with all mod-cons plus ensuite bathrooms. Budget group travelers can opt for the kitchenette-apartments, which also offer more space. French doors opening onto balconies in some rooms make for a pretty picture. The place has some lovely, Victorian-era touches in the form of stained-glass windows, a red-brick exterior, and a garden with a fountain.
Victoria’s Mansion is a leisurely stroll from popular Toronto sights such as Queen’s Park and the Royal Ontario Museum. Two subway lines and a streetcar line in the vicinity make most of Toronto easily accessible.
The Anndore House
The gay-friendly Anndore House in Church-Wellesley is love at first sight for Instagrammers. The stylish, retro-chic retreat is easily one of the most photo-op-worthy hotels in Toronto’s gay village. Dark, British colors, muted lighting, and dark-wood furniture are everywhere the minute you enter the Anndore House. Gold accents everywhere take the glam quotient up a notch, complete with gold-framed art.
The industrial-loft-style rooms are similarly decked out. Patterned rugs, leather chairs, and white wooden window shutters are shot against brick walls. The nifty hotel app can be used to not only check-in and open the door, but also control temperature and lights, watch TV, and order rooms service. Old-world touches like a record player and a vintage vinyl record selection are charming additions indeed.
Gay travelers looking to explore Toronto will find the hotel app all the more useful. It offers a host of tips, including guidebook must-dos, restaurant recommendations, weekly events lists, and even tips on living like a local. What’s more, Anndore is right in the heart of gay nightlife in Toronto.
Just So You Know:
- Toronto’s first Pride Parade was a result of the February 1981’s Operation Soap, when four gay bathhouses were raided by the Toronto Police. After the arrest of nearly 300 men, demonstrators marched down the street in a massive show of protest. This evolved into what is now Toronto’s Pride Parade.
- Toronto is home to the only ‘gay department store’ of Canada. Known as ‘Out on the Street‘, the store has everything from pride jewelry to sex toys and more.
Get Some Culture in Toronto:
- Toronto Pride – Toronto’s annual Pride Festival is one of the largest pride festivals in the world. Some of the highlights include a Trans March, a huge Dyke March, and tons of live performances by DJs and other performers. It all ends with a spectacular Pride Parade, which is one of the largest in the world.
- Drag Bar Crawl in Toronto’s Gay Village: Toronto is particularly known for its Drag culture. Dive into Toronto’s Drag scene on this fun-filled tour guided by a local performer. Enjoy a fantastic night out in the city, coupled with some amazing entertainment.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Toronto:
- Northbound Leather – This place literally fulfills all and any gay leather fetish fantasies that you might have.
- Woody’s – This multi-level venue is somewhat of a Church-Wellesley landmark. It has five bars, fun competitions about best legs, chests, and more, and a thoroughly diverse crowd.
- Pegasus Bar Toronto – Entertainment-central gay sports bar with games like ping-pong and darts, trivia nights, and vivid martinis. Also, there are lots of friendly bears.
- Remington’s – This steamy, only-male establishment sees completely nude men strut their stuff. Good-looking dancers show off their moves in this place, which promises plenty of raucous fun.
- Crews And Tangos – This is Toronto’s most popular drag bar and an LGBTQ community staple. Located in Church-Wellesley gay village, this is ‘the’ party destination to be at.
Best Gay Saunas in Toronto:
- Steamworks – This popular private gay sauna in Church-Wellesley features fun hot tubs and a modern gym. Weekends see tons of cruising action, and it also has glory holes and private spaces.
- Spa Excess – This is Toronto’s largest bathhouse and is located in the Church-Wellesley gay village. It features one of the city’s best rooftop patios, a bar, and a great mix of men.
- Eagle Toronto – This is Toronto’s original leather cruising bar, complete with erotic art. darkrooms, and tons of admirers of leather daddies and cubs.