I’m one of the many students who’s “lucky” enough to have family that lives close to the city. So around this time every year I start getting messages from my parents asking if they can come and visit.
This year I decided to make my Mom’s visit to campus a memorable one. I planned out an entire day of activities for us that included everything from a yummy meal to some gorgeous views. Opting out of the traditional locations I got to show my mom a combination of unique places on campus, as well as places where I really spend time in my day-to-day life.
Here’s what we did;
Stop #1: Coffee at Diabolo’s Cafe
Diabolo’s is a coffee shop in the University College JCR that started our day with some caffeine and gave us a central starting point on campus. My mom loved that everything was student run and it was more appealing then just picking up something like Tim Hortons that she could get at home.
Destination #1 – UC Quad/ Secret UC Office
While we were at UC we took the time to check out the picturesque UC quad. I also pointed out to her one of the “secret” offices that may have fully convinced her she is sending her daughter to Hogwarts.
Destination #2 – Isabel Bader Theatre
I think that this was one of my mom’s favourite locations. Considering class sizes have changed dramatically since she went to school, she was fascinated by Isabel Bader Theatre. She also liked to clearly point out that we were very spoiled for having such comfortable seats in a lecture hall.
Lunch – Sammy’s Student Exchange
Time for some lunch! There are hundreds of great places to take your parents for food on campus! If you’re in residence, you may even want to utilize your meal plan and let them come to the dining hall for a very “authentic” student meal. My mom and I hit up Sammy’s Student Exchange at Hart House for a mid-day pick-me-up and a seat on the patio where we could catch up and people watch.
Destination #3 – East Asian Library (follow the book shelves to your left until you reach the large windows looking out over St. George St.)
Destination number three was Robarts Library, and specifically, the 8th floor East Asian Library. It gave my mom a look at where I spend most of my time on campus, but it also has stunning views of St. George Street and the entire campus at large. It’s the highest floor you can take someone who doesn’t have a TCard, so make sure to bring your parents by for the best birds-eye view of campus.
Destination #4 – Philosophers Walk
We ended our day with the most stereotypical location on the tour – Philosophers Walk. Despite being a very traditional U of T location, it’s absolutely stunning this time of year with the changing fall colours. We grabbed a park bench and sat for a little while catching up and talking about the day.
It was surprisingly fun to plan out a day for my mom and feel like I was the one with all the knowledge for once! She loved that she got a glimpse into my life, while ultimately just getting to spend some time together. If you have your parents down to campus for an annual fall visit feel free to use my suggestions, or plan your own adventure and share it with me on twitter at @Rachael_UofT.