Introduction

Commuting from St. George Campus to U of T Scarborough!

Commuting from St. George Campus to U of T Scarborough!

When I first started undergrad at U of T’s downtown campus, I never thought there could be a day when I’d have to commute all the way to the Scarborough campus (UTSC) for, well, anything. School is stressful enough as it is–who needs the additional burden of having to be acquainted with a second campus when the first is already too much to handle?

But halfway throughout this past fall semester, I finally realized what I should be doing after undergrad, and for the first time since high school, I was committed enough to one definite goal that nothing was going to stop me from reaching it, not even the graduate school admission requirement of a course in introductory statistics. After a few days’ despair (St. George does not offer any Level I Statistics course in the Winter semester), I discovered the one and only alternative that would give me the credit by May–taking Statistics twice a week at U of T Scarborough campus.

So I am now officially a Commuter. Despite the tedious weekly schedule and incessant traveling this title entails, I’m actually rather proud of this tiny leveling up of statuses. In addition to an increased privilege to complain about my terribly difficult life via Facebook status updates, I have also gained the benefit of Strictly-for-Napping hours on the TTC that could also be used for completing last-minute readings, provided that the ride doesn’t make me too nauseous.

Below is some stuff I’ve learned that should some of you find yourself in my position–God bless your soul–you might find helpful. Huzzah!

1. How to get to U of T Scarborough (UTSC) from St. George (downtown) campus:

Obviously, there are many ways to go about doing this. The existence of a “UTSC-St. George Shuttle Bus” is one highly contested topic–I have personally never witnessed such a ghostly thing in my entire academic career. So here is what I do: I take the subway along the Bloor-Danforth line east-bound until the last station, Kennedy, where I switch to the 116 bus that drops me within steps of the UTSC campus (for campus map click here). Before noon on weekdays, the 116E bus travels directly from Kennedy Station to UTSC campus, making at most two to three stops in between. This is by far the fastest way, except the 116E bus is rather elusive and difficult to catch. The 116/116A bus is only slower by about 15 minutes. It might take a bit longer if you are caught during high school traffic hours: so far I’ve only encountered the after-school human traffic, at which time the bus is so densely packed with high school kids that getting off the bus becomes an impossible task. The whole process takes about an hour and a half, give or take. It really depends on how frequently the bus makes its stop.

2. When in doubt, follow the blue arrows (or just ask):

I don’t understand how people can find St. George campus confusing. Maybe it’s because I’ve been here for almost four years now and can sleep-walk my way through most of the campus, but I really do feel like the campus has a very simple structure. You basically need to know a couple main roads that cross each other at perpendicular angles, remember a few defining structures (like Robarts) and all buildings have rectangular blue signs in front of them detailing the exact building name and address. Scarborough campus isn’t quite like this. It’s not even as big, but still so confusing since everything–buildings, sidewalks/paths, basements–seems to be somehow connected. And there are wings, a terrifying term that essentially implies “Good luck not getting lost”.

The good thing is, whenever you are at an intersection or a place where several paths converge, there are blue road signs telling you which street is which, and which building is in which direction. If this still doesn’t help, just ask–Scarborough students are very approachable (A big “Thank you” to everyone who was kind enough to help me find my way who I also advertised this blog to).

3. One Registrar to rule them all, one Registrar to find them, one Registrar to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In case you didn’t get the idea from my awesome LOTR parody, there is only one Office of the Registrar. This is terrific news, because it basically makes it impossible for the school administration to transfer responsibilities to some other administrative office that you’ll have to find time in your busy schedule to visit. Here is its contact information. If you need to speak to someone over the phone, don’t worry if the other end is initially a series of automated messages. Just listen to the options presented to you, punch the right key, and I promise you’ll get to speak with someone very soon. Keep in mind that if you are actually registered at the St. George campus, you’ll have to go to your own college registrar for administrative issues (e.g., manually adding a course).

4. Variations of a theme

Much to my dismay, UTSC, unlike the St. George campus, operates on a slightly different schedule. For example:

  • Term test dates might not actually be set by the time you have your first lecture for a course
  • Term tests might actually take place on Saturdays
  • There are actually tutorials from 9-10pm at night (I know because I am enrolled in one. No joke.)
  • Course enrollment on ROSI ends at a slightly later date than it does for St. George students (differs about a week). So if you are a St. George student enrolled in an UTSC course and need to add a tutorial, for example, you may have trouble doing this on ROSI. In this case, consult your own college registrar, and they’ll have it done for you in a snap.
  • Course code deciphering: Have you ever wondered what’s the significance of the “H1” and “Y1” in our course codes (e.g. BIO150Y1, CHM138H1)? Well, it turns out, each of the three U of T campuses employs a different H/Y code: all St. George campus courses end in “1” (CHM247H1), all UTSC courses end in “3” (e.g. STAB22H3), and all UTM courses end in “5” (e.g. BIO206H5). Therefore, by simply looking at the last number of a course code, you can tell which campus this course is offered from.

5. Beautiful residences; same old furniture.

One of my new UTSC friends had taken the liberty to show me around the places of residence at UTSC, and they are gorgeous! Many of them are rows of townhouses along these small, serene paths, which is a huge contrast from the noise and traffic of downtown Toronto (instead of townhouses, we have lots of Harry Potter-styled dorms). From the outside, the facilities look quite new, and the residence-provided furniture look almost exactly the same as the ones students get in the downtown campus! There is a building reminiscent of Innis residence, except the windows are much larger.

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And that’s it for now, guys! I will be updating this post as the semester goes by as I discover more notable differences between the two campuses. But for now, I hope you find this post helpful. Take care, have a great semester, and study hard!

–Lucy the Commuter (YEAH!)

9 comments on “Commuting from St. George Campus to U of T Scarborough!

  1. Hey Lucy,

    Great post. It is interesting, I found my experience at Scarborough and St.George to be totally different from yours. For example, I found going around Scarborough to be very clear – there were so few buildings, it was impossible to get lost!

    And unlike St.George campus, which has the ridiculous conception you can name the same building “Galbraith” on one side, and “Sanford Flemming” on the other, Scarborough campus keeps it straight – Science Wing, Humanities Wing, etc.

    And contrary to your understandable confusion about connected buildings, I found that to be the best part – you’d never have to go out in the cold during winter. Just use the underground path! Brilliant!

    Lol – great post – its nice to read the experience of someone who does both campuses in one semester.

    Cheers,

    Fariya

  2. Hey Lucy,

    Thanks for this awesome post. It helped me so much!!! I am currently a high school senior and am so confused about choosing my university ->U of T st. George or Mississauga. I am really interested in the Forensic and psychology course. and i know that St.George doesn’t offer forensic, but i like the campuses there. And I don’t think i can travel to Mississauga every single day. Now i know that St. George does allow you to take some courses in Scarborough campus so i was wondering if they allow you to take courses in Mississauga as well. And did u like had to go through all the hassle to get the courses????

    It would be so much helpful if you replied me asap!
    Thank you 🙂

    Bee

  3. Amazing article, very helpful and well written. Thank you so much for this. The commute was one of the most difficult aspects to do research on… Well, not anymore.

  4. Hi Bee:

    I can see why you like the downtown campus more 🙂 The problem with taking Forensic/psych courses at UTM while being a St. George student is that these two departments/programs you mentioned are extremely popular at UTM, so they might have restrictions for course selection. In that sense, if you’re not in their program or on the UTM campus and still want to take the course, it might be extremely difficult or even unlikely to get in. You should check with the departments and program coordinators to make sure that it is actually possible for you to take these courses. I know the forensic science program is unique to UTM so the restrictions might apply extensively to their courses. But again, double check to make sure! If you do have a chance to enrol and the likelihood is not too low, then it’s not a hassle. You just go onto ROSI and input the course code like you normally do with St. George courses, and pick it! Same process as if you were to pick any course downtown.

    @Hank: You’re welcome!

  5. Hi Lucy: I need to travel from UofT St. George campus to UTSc. I found your article very helpful! One question – what is the fare for the subway and the bus? and (I guess two questions :)), what is the total time it takes to get from the one campus to the other?

  6. Hi Patti: Lucy has graduated, so I’m answering on her behalf. The one-way fare is $3 unless you buy tokens, in which case it’s $2.50. I think it’s a 1.5-hour trip by TTC from one campus to the other.

    Chris

  7. Hi Lucy—or anyone who can answer. I’m a soon-to-be student at U of T St. George, but have realized that there are a few courses that really interest me that are offered at Scarborough and not at St George. Is it definitely possible to take courses at UT Scarborough even though I’m registered in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at St. George? That would be amazing!

  8. I got a Bungalow right at the Scarborough GO Station (Midways from both), Do you guys know the best way to advertise it for students that need to commute both ways? The advantage is that the GO takes 17min downtown, and I bet the same time up to Scarborough, the problem is that TTC buses will still be needed for the last 5 min commute…
    From the Rouge Hill GO Train station, take TTC bus 38. 
    From the Guildwood GO Train station, take TTC bus 86A/116.

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