Our story 

We have the passion
of a rookie

Illustration d'une femme faisant du patin à roulettes

and the wisdom
of 85-year

Do you have questions about the origins of Saintlo and its history? This is where you’ll find your answers. 



The year that the incredible Mary Barclay of the Youth Hostel Association of Canada (HI Canada today) created the St. Lawrence Youth Hostel Association.  

Photo d'époque de Catherine et Mary Barley

Mary’s mandate was to develop the youth hostel movement in Quebec and to affiliate it with the HI network.


Our association opens the Montreal Youth Hostel. It operates under the HI banner. It is the nation’s very first hostel in an urban area!


The Quebec Youth Hostel Federation, responsible for the development of the youth hostel movement in Quebec since the 1970s, merges with the Quebec Student Tourism Organization to become the Regroupement pour le Tourisme Jeunesse. We will to come back to this later. 


Our association acquires the Mont-Tremblant International Youth Hostel, which quickly establishes itself as the Laurentians’ premier après-ski destination!


We become owners of the Niagara Falls and Toronto youth hostels, which operate under the HI Canada banner.


The task of representing the Hostelling International movement in Quebec and a portion of Ontario has been delegated to our association. 

This role was held for almost 20 years in Quebec by the Regroupement pour le Tourisme Jeunesse.  


St. Lawrence Youth Hostels Association now holds the keys to the legendary Ottawa Jail. At the same time, our association takes over the reins of HI Canada, Eastern Ontario Region, which represented HI Canada in this section of the Ontario territory. 

Our organization now represents HI Canada throughout Québec and Ontario, and from this point forward, the public will refer to us as the HI Canada Quebec and Ontario Region.  

It manages its 5 owned hostels (Montreal, Mont-Tremblant, Toronto, Niagara Falls and Ottawa) in addition to being responsible for the affiliation of several other independent awesome establishments in Quebec and Ontario.  


St. Lawrence Youth Hostels Association refocuses its efforts on the Ottawa and Toronto destinations, and divests HI Niagara Falls. 

That same year, our association takes over the management of the Youth Tourism Foundation, founded in 1993 by Regroupement pour le Tourisme jeunesse (Tourisme Jeunesse). The latter having been transferred in 2009 to the International Social Tourism Organization – Americas (ISTO). The Foundation facilitates access to travel for youth in vulnerable situations and enables them to thrive. 


In order to focus on urban destinations, we sell the Mont-Tremblant Youth Hostel. Bye bye Après-ski! 


The pandemic hits the travel industry hard. We close the doors of the Montreal hostel for a few months until the summer of 2021.  The Toronto and Ottawa hostels temporarily change their vocation and are rented to their respective municipalities in order to accommodate a more vulnerable clientele in these special times.


Our association is going through a pivotal period in November 2021. 

After much thought and deliberation, in order to achieve greater operational flexibility, the Board of Directors of St. Lawrence Youth Hostels Association, chooses to form an independent collective and resign from its role as the HI network’s representative in Quebec and Ontario. 


On April 1, 2022, the association leaves the HI Canada banner and introduces to the public its new banner Saintlo. HI Canada members in Quebec and Ontario are then invited to join St. Lawrence Youth Hostels Association.

The hostels of La Malbaie, Griffon Aventure, Sea-Shack and Rivière-du-Loup join our collective. 

Deux voyageuses sur la bord du belvédère Kondiaronk à Montréal

Saintlo is made up of three association-owned hostels located in major centres – Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto – and independent hostels that are part of our extended family.

We are a social economy business, a not-for-profit association. 

Saintlo Logo

Saintlo is the nickname that refers to the name of the organization Auberges de jeunesse du Saint-Laurent and to its playground, which follows the St. Lawrence River. 

The young travellers are always at the centre of all our efforts.

Our mission is to create positive encounters between people from here and around the world and to promote the discovery of our territory. 

Traveler who checks in at the reception

That has been our story so far.
The adventure continues.


Silhouette d'une femme au bord de l'eau lors du couché de soleil

Where ya wanna go?

Our territory follows the Saint Lawrence, a seriously endless and not always gentle river. From the Gaspé Peninsula through Ontario and the Great Lakes, we love hosting you at our youth hostels so that you can see the country. We want you to experience our big cities and epic nature like a local.

Explore our destinations