TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hostelling in Canada
THE CANADIAN YOUTH HOSTEL ASSOCIATION
For those who feel the urge to wander, cycle, or canoe over the countryside, hostelling may be the answer. In 1988, more than 40,000 Canadians travelled around the countryside and enjoyed the privileges of the Canadian Youth Hostel Association. By 2010, 1 million Canadians are expected to take advantage of and enjoy the privileges of membership in the Canadian Youth Hostel Association.
The Canadian Youth Hostel Association is an international organization initiated in Altena, Germany, by a school teacher who felt his students needed to know and understand the beauties of the country. There are now more than 5,000 youth hostels in virtually every country in the world.
In 2004, over thirty million nights were used in hostels, and of these, 500,000 were used by Canadians.
HOSTELLING IN CANADA
Hostelling came to Canada in 1936 and was first established in Alberta in the Rockies. There are now six regular hostels in the Banff and Jasper areas – fourteen during the summer. There are 46 across Canada. A comprehensive guide to all youth hostels throughout the world is published annually and is available from all CYHA offices.
Membership in the CYHA is not just for the young at heart. There is no age limit, and families are encouraged to take out memberships and travel together. A membership care is valid from January to December inclusive, and can be used at any youth hostel in Canada or abroad.
Fees vary with the type of membership. Junior (under 18 years of age) fees are $35. Seniors pay $50, and a family membership is $75. You may also purchase a life membership for $50.
Charges for overnight at hostels vary with the type of accommodation, but the usual charge is $10 for adults and $5 for juniors at mountain hostels. In cities like Montreal and Vancouver, the charges may be slightly higher.
There are hostels in Japan, Europe, and even Canada t=which provide many of the comforts of a hotel: hot showers, cafeterias, and rest and recreation rooms. A few are in old castles and manor houses, but in the mountains, hostels are simple huts with an outdoor john. Each hut consists of a dormitory for men, one for women, and a common room for cooking.
Most hostels have insulated walls, and all of them have wood-burning stoves and propane heaters. There are beds with mattresses and blankets, but it is advisable to bring your own sleeping bag. In the winter, it is essential.
The bulletin boards in CYHA offices are crammed with requests for people for canoe trips, mountaineering, cycling, and just plain hikes into some beautiful wilderness.
For those who lack equipment and are not sure they want to take up hostelling, more information is available from CYHA offices in all provinces in Canada.
Travelling on a Budget, By Jacquie Grand and Lillian Hammer, Appleton-Century Inc., New York 2001.
“Hostelling Throughout the World.” The Travel Guide, Vol. 12, No. 15, by Jim R. Brack, August 2008.
“The Costs of Hostelling”, Toronto Star, 21(16), January 2007.
Standard Travel Guide, By Susan Latch, Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, 2005
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