As we drove into Parkdale High Park one of Toronto’s historic neighborhoods and pulled in front of Bonnevue Manor, it was like pulling into a friend’s driveway. There was no large name board, just a typical address sign like other houses in the neighborhood.
Glenn Dodds, the owner of the house had started this bed and breakfast as a way to provide visitors a home during their stay in Toronto. He says he enjoys meeting people of different backgrounds and finds meaningful ways like cooking a familiar dish or learning to greet them in their native language to make his guests feel welcome.
Staying at a historic bed and breakfast like Bonnevue Manor was a lovely way to experience the city with comforts of a home and learn a bit about Toronto’s colonial past.
What Works for Families:
The hospitality of Glenn Dodds and his staff made us feel very comfortable from the moment we met. Though the bed and breakfast is not typically geared towards little kids, my 2-year-old was heartily welcomed.
Upon seeing my son notice the piano in the landing Glenn invited him to “Go make some noise” without any hesitation.
The location is convenient for reaching Toronto’s attractions with a short drive to downtown and close proximity to the tram line. The Toronto harbor front area and High Park, one of Toronto’s largest parks, is only a few minutes walk away. Despite its proximity to downtown the house is located in a quiet, residential area.
What Doesn’t Work for Families:
If you’re looking for portable cribs or high chairs you won’t find them at Bonnevue Manor but if you bring your own, the rooms and the dining hall can certainly accommodate them.
The building was completed in 1891 in a gentrified village that was not a part of Toronto at that time. The house got its name “Bonnevue” for the beautiful view of Lake Ontario it offers from its front door. The area has been built up since then, but a trip to the water front is only a few minutes by foot.
The 6000 square feet house was renovated in 1984 while maintaining the original design. The high ceiling, the hardwood floors and wooden staircase have been well preserved.
Though the exterior is of an old Victorian house, the interior is outfitted with eclectic furniture, beautiful paintings and modern amenities.
We stayed in a deluxe room with two double beds. The room was large and we had enough floor space to store our luggage and for the toddler to walk about exploring.
An antique dresser and a rocking chair completed the room. There was also plenty of storage space with a built-in closet and a chest of drawers.
The bathroom was spacious and several extra towels and bath products were provided. It was convenient to have an extra sink outside the bathroom as well.
For a larger family (4-6 persons), a family suit with a king bed and two double beds is available.
Free parking, free wifi and hot breakfast, my three must-haves for any hotel, are included in the price of the
room. There are several common areas such as the living room, dining room, TV room on the second floor and patio. Since there was no garden attached to the property, having this common area helped our family to have some space to ourselves when needed.
The rooms have air conditioning which we needed on the hot summer nights. Hair dryer and ironing board were available in a common utilities room.
Glenn Dodds who is a nutritionist by training, cooks hot breakfast every morning. To accommodate any dietary restrictions, guests are asked to fill in a breakfast form the night before.
“Art with a little flare” is how he describes his cooking and the joy he gets from feeding his guests is evident. On all three mornings we were there, breakfast felt like a three course meal.
Cereal, bread and spreads are available buffet style with cheese and fruit platters. Hot breakfasts of eggs, bacon and sausages are served in a variety of ways. There was a fruit tart, cake or dessert like item to end the meal. To take advantage of the hot breakfast guests are asked to be at the dining room between 8.30-9am.
Bottled water, milk, tea and coffee are freely available in the dining room all day.
Though summer is the peak season, Bonnevue Manor has a loyal customer base year around. The typical price of a deluxe room is $189.
As an immigrant to Toronto from the island of Trinidad Glenn Dobbs is no stranger to the hospitality trade. He has learned from his mother who ran a guest house for US marines during the Second World War.
Having lived in Toronto for the past 40 years he loves to share his local knowledge and help visitors with their itineraries.
When you stay at Bonnevue Manor, you will truly feel like you are staying with a friend.