Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 19, 2017
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Toronto's Best Take a bit of B&Bs

Take a bit of the urban edge off
your next visit to the big city

In my travelling experience, you basically get what you pay for in a B&B. Sure, you're entitled to be treated with respect and to have your expectations met as in any hotel. But I'd always assumed that even the quaintest B&B wouldn't meet the expectations of the well-heeled customer. Until I went to Toronto, that is.

The next time you're in a pinch for a place to stay in Toronto, there just may be a B&B that will satisfy your needs and expectations, however high.

The following cover the gamut of today's B&Bs whether it's luxury you're after or just plain comfort and cleanliness.

Robin's Nest Bed & Breakfast.
Smack in the enclave of Canada's elite, in the finest neighbourhood close to downtown Toronto, is one of the classiest B&B's I've ever seen. Back in 1892, when much of Rosedale was a rambling golf course, Robin's Nest was the original clubhouse. Consider yourself lucky to nab the suite overlooking the traditional English garden in Robin Wilson's meticulously-restored home. Filled with antiques and charming memorabilia, this B&B features one two-room suite with a library, working fireplace, a bedroom with a balcony and en suite bath with Jacuzzi; another bedroom with a working fireplace, sitting area, private bath and shower; and a third one-bedroom suite whose private bathroom has a lion's foot soaking tub plus shower. Amenities include in-room snifters of sherry, tea service and fluffy bathrobes. Robin serves full-course gourmet breakfasts to order whatever you please, from scrumptious home-baked breads to waffles to eggs benedict wherever you please, in a sunny dining room, in the garden or in your room. 13 Binscarth Road, Toronto, ON M4W 1Y2; tel: (416) 926-9464; fax: (416) 926-3730; e-mail: <nest@pathcom.com>; website: <www.toronto.com/robinsnest>; rates: $95-225 per couple.

Clarence Square.
Susan Walker caters to a business clientele in her elegantly-restored, antique-filled Victorian B&B located within walking distance of Toronto's downtown business and theatre district, as well as the SkyDome and the Metro Convention Centre. Clarence Square is not exactly your typical B&B; it has a salon with a fireplace and cushy furnishings for guests plus a dining area with three intimate tables for two. Each of the three bedrooms comes with private en suites with whirlpool baths and showers. One room, with a fireplace, faces the park and CN Tower. Walker is well-versed in Toronto's arts and culture scene and can suggest a spectrum of informed advice for an evening on the town. Gourmet breakfasts are also available. 13 Clarence Square, Toronto, ON M5V 1H1; tel: (416) 598-0616; fax: (416) 598-4200; website: <clarencesquare.com>; rates: double $130-150.

1871 Historic House.
Legend goes that Buffalo Bill Cody, Calamity Jane and Sitting Bull once stayed at Historic House, a beautiful Victorian-style B&B located on a quiet corner at Bloor and Jarvis. These days, guests have access to its spacious parlour brimming with antiques, chintz and blue and white Chinoiserie. Co-owner John McHugh, who supplies other B&Bs with delicious homemade breads, pastries and quiches, serves full gourmet breakfasts in the adjoining dining room. Two pretty bedrooms on the second floor share a bathroom with twin sinks. I'd try to book the coach house, which was once used as a musicians' recording studio. It's a cheery doll's house of a place, all sunny yellow and wedgewood blue, with white wicker furniture and an en suite whirlpool bath. 65 Huntley Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 2L2; tel: (416) 923-6950; fax: (416) 923-1065; e-mail: <1871hist@interlog.com>; rates: $85 double rooms, $105 coach house, includes breakfast.

Daniel's Musical Hideaway B&B.
Daniel Eby's B&B, located just east of Jarvis and south of Bloor, has become so popular that he's expanding into the building next door. Success seems to be synonymous with many of Daniel's undertakings he is also known for holding a Guinness Book record for producing the world's youngest adult cast in a staging of Don Giovanni. Daniel's modern, light-filled B&B has 12 rooms (eight with private baths, four share two baths) plus a coach house with private bath. He serves full gourmet breakfasts in a sunken dining room. Guests have access to an adjoining lounge and two outdoor terraces. Note: There is a cat. 118 Isabella Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 1P1; tel: (800) 509-9070 or (416) 929-2715; fax: (416) 929-5632; e-mail: <dmhbb@home.com>; website: <www.datatrav.com/daniels>; rates: from $65 for single room with shared bath to $125 for a suite with Jacuzzi, kitchenette and fireplace, includes parking.

The Mulberry Tree.
Owners Carol and Paul Buer instantly make you feel at ease in the homey clutter of their lovingly-restored heritage home. Each morning guests are treated with a hearty breakfast buffet of fruits, muffins, bagels and hot entrées like strata of asparagus and mushrooms or mulberry crèpes made with fruit from their tree. The cozy accommodations, decorated in muted hues of the mulberry tree from green leaves to berry include four rooms (which share two bathrooms). Each room has a desk and data port. Guests share a lounge with a TV, small balcony and can help themselves to tea, coffee and hot chocolate. 122 Isabella Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 1P1; tel: (800) 606-5444 or (416) 960-5249; fax: (416) 960-3853; e-mail: <mulberry@aracnet. net>; website: <www.aracnet.net\ tildamulberry>; rates: $65 single, $80 per couple.

 

The Annex Guest House.
Karyn Hoffmitz provides guests staying in her Victorian-style B&B with lots of useful information and details on Toronto. Located at the edge of the Annex, it's within walking distance of the University of Toronto, Markham Village, fringe theatres and a multi-cultural hub of shops and eateries. The Annex is a serviceable B&B: guests have access to a lounge, common room or the library. The sunny kitchen has a walk-out deck that looks down toward the CN Tower. Second floor bedrooms share a bathroom. The third floor studio room, which features a tiny kitchenette (toaster oven and bar fridge), en suite bathroom (small bathtub) and walkout to a private deck, is apparently popular for extended stays by visiting doctors, professors and people interested in the nearby historic shules (synagogues) of Toronto. Buffet breakfasts which strictly comply with Kosher, Hallal and vegetarian rules consist of fruit salad, breads, muffins, cereals, yogurt and eggs. Note: There is a cat and a dog. 241 Lippincott Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2P4; tel: (416) 588-0560; rates: $65 single, $130 per couple.

For more information contact the Downtown Toronto Bed and Breakfast Registry:Linda Lippa; tel: (888) 559-5515 or (416) 410-3938; fax: (416) 368-1653; e-mail: <bnbtoronto@ globalserve.net>.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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