Sports and Recreation at UofT: A Second Look

Like most U of T students, I’m proud to be one. People like to call us pretentious and I like to argue there’s a big difference between being pretentious and being justifiably proud. We boast top 20 spots on lists of the world’s best universities and I’m “sorry I’m not sorry” that gives me the warm fuzzies. While we excel as an institution overall, according to (contributor to the Huffington Post), our sports and recreation programs are less well known. Clearly something’s wrong here. We have a wealth of sport and recreational facilities, services, activities — there’s a lot going on here! We have FOUR athletic centres (if you count Varsity Centre), FOURTY-FOUR men’s and women’s varsity teams, the ONLY Olympic-sized pool in the city, a wide variety of registered and free classes, drop-in recreation, a FANTASTIC, SUPER-AFFORDABLE sports clinic open to students, more playing fields than I’m aware of and SO, SO MUCH MORE.
Photos from the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, our newest athletic facility!   Source:
Now of course quality is of importance here. We may have a lot of this and that, but is it any good? As someone who’s visited and taken advantage of facilities and services at schools including Ryerson, York and even Carleton University in Ottawa, I can tell you that we boast BOTH quality and quantity. While you may be unaware of U of T’s amazing offerings, when you discover all of your options you’ll be overwhelmed by all that you might be missing out on.  And you’ll have no doubt that sport and recreation is another facet of the University of Toronto that you can take pride in.
So, here are my top 10 reasons U of T athletics ROCK (I wanted to use some clever sports allusion, after careful contemplation I concluded I’m not clever enough):
  1. Did I mention four athletic centres? You can pick the one that suits you best, your needs, your architectural preferences, your water-fountain-to-square-foot ratio, your distance from [insert origin here]. Or, why pick one at all? You can change scenery constantly!
  2. The David L. Macintosh Sport Clinic: For $60 a year I get physiotherapy that would have cost me thousands of dollars elsewhere AND it’s right on campus. If you’re someone as prone to aches and pains as I am, you’ll understand how valuable this is.
  3. The Varsity Skating Rink. Nathan Phillips Square isn’t far, but why pay for skate rentals and TTC fare when we have our very own skating rink with free drop-in hours and themed skate events throughout the term?
  4. The Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport gets its own bullet. This facility is stunning! Have you ever admired the city lights from your treadmill? Or watched a varsity game while stretching out? Goldring makes it possible (when the Dome isn’t in the way, of course).
  5. Here at U of T we make sure everyone can access our incredible facilities and activities. From women’s only hours to the Change Room Project, we value and support an inclusive environment where everyone and anyone can feel comfortable and welcome.
  6. Registered and drop-in classes galore! Circus silks, Olympic lifting, parkour, fencing, tennis, synchronized swimming, Zumba, yoga, diving, ballet… the list is endless. If you haven’t flipped through it, click here and see which active break might fit your schedule.
  7. Intramurals: One of the largest programs in Canada! 10,000 students participate each year, are you one of them? The list of sports is impressive and you’d be hard pressed not to find something!
  8. Jobs! If you’re a coach like me, or a lifeguard like my mother wanted me to be, or perhaps you’re really good with a camera or possess great leadership skills, U of T wants to hire you! What a great way to get involved in sport and recreation on campus! Active work is the best work (trust me, my uniform was sweatpants)! You can look up job opportunities here or on the individual department pages.
  9. 98 “Athletics and Recreation” Clubs at UTSG: If you want something cost-efficient or a little less demanding of your time, maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for in a club! I can’t even list 98 sports/similar so I’m certainly impressed by that number. Find them here.
  10. The staff! The staff that make all the above possible tend to be — in my opinion — fantastic! Shout out to Warren at the Hart House Fitness Centre who’s always a pleasure to check in with. It’s no surprise he was quoted saying “If it’s a job worth keeping, it’s a job worth doing right.” I wish I could find where that was, but it stuck with me.

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