Ever since my trip to the University of Toronto Art Centre last semester, I’ve fallen in love with the space. I don’t find many things more relaxing than a trip to an art gallery, and having one on campus, and a beautifully curated one as well, has been wonderful.
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 UniversityHub.ca (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.
I recently became aware of the fact that quite a number of students don’t know that their T-Card gives them access to the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC), located at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC).
This facility is heaven on earth, my friends. It’s a magical utopia of athletics, fitness and recreation. And it has a Booster Juice! Seriously, this is my favourite place to train. During the summer (I had a membership because I was enrolled in summer courses) I would often go three to four days in a row.
Once finals are over, I fully intend to be back at it and I can’t wait.
If you live in the GTA, I highly recommend checking it out. Holidays are just around the corner and there’s no better way to spend free time and stay active FOR FREE at UTSC.
It’s located just south of the 401 Morningside exit. If you’re driving, not to worry, you can enjoy two hours of complimentary parking. Just drive up to the gate and take a ticket. As long as you feed the ticket to the gate on your way out within two hours, you’re home free! Pun not intended, but thoroughly enjoyed.
Most visitors to TPASC (pronounced: Tee-pask) scan membership cards to get in. St. George T-Cards — as far as I know — still don’t scan as we aren’t in the system. When you arrive at the turnstiles, just show someone at the desk your T-Card and say you’re a St. George student. Most of them will know to let you in. If they don’t, you’ll have to explain your card doesn’t scan.
This facility is massive and expensive. It was a $205 million investment, the largest amount ever spent on amateur sport in Canadian history (according to the National Post). So what did we get for that $205 million? A LOT. TPASC offers a variety of fitness and aquatics classes and the membership is designed so that they’re all free. So is swimming, use of the track, field house and fitness centre, and the CLIMBING WALL.
Yes, TPASC has a climbing wall (41 feet!). There are introductory classes and drop-in hours you can take advantage of once the staff are comfortable letting you climb on your own — for safety reasons, of course. I actually haven’t checked this off my to-do list yet and I’m excited to take it on next summer.
For now, I’ll be enjoying this new facility by using the fitness centre. The place has everything I could possibly need, including things I have no idea what to do with! Which reminds me…check this out! It’s not something we have in any of the athletic centres at St. George, and it’s super cool! May I present Jacob’s Ladder:
It’s essentially an inclined treadmill, but instead of running, you climb. It’s actually really challenging and can feel really silly, but I like to use it to change up my routine and do something a little more interesting now and then. You will feel the burn, my friends.
And I’ll feel a very different burn if I don’t get back to studying soon…
This is my last post before the holidays, so I’m wishing you all the best of luck on your finals and a very happy, very restful holiday! Check back in January for the 4-1-1 on new active classes, events and opportunities on campus to help you beat the winter blues.
So much cool stuff happens on campus all day every day. It breaks my heart that I literally don’t have the time to go do and see and hear everything.
On Tuesday, I went to a free seminar that was held at Hart House called, “The Barbell Prescription”.
You know it’s going to be a good one when you’re already taking notes and salivating over the guest’s credentials.
Dr. J Sullivan joined us from Michigan. A former US marine, 3rd degree black belt in Karate, 3rd level Krav Maga practitioner, doctor, researcher… The guy received a $2 million research grant from the NIH… that’s the National Institutes of Health. It’s a big deal. On top of all that, he owns, manages and trains clients at a gym called Grey Steel, for aging adults.
We started off talking about what we considered an “athlete”, how we’d define the word. I learned a little bit about Greek athletes (the word athlete comes from the Greek “athlos” which means contest or feat). Apparently there was an athletic event in the Greek games, “Hoplitodromos”, which was a race in full battle armour. Competitors in the games had to swear an oath to Zeus that they trained for a minimum of 10 months. Awfully specific for so many years ago! Continue reading
For this week’s post I interviewed David London, the founder of the University College (UC) Yoga Club. David is a 3rd year undergraduate student studying computer science. He says he founded the club because he had a lot of friends who were interested in doing yoga but couldn’t afford to take a class. Knowing it was something David practised, it was his friends who brought up the idea of starting a club. David says he loved the idea because he wanted to teach but couldn’t do it full time.
Halloween is over, so we’re officially allowed to countdown to Christmas right?
I LOVE holidays, especially Christmas. I can’t wait to see the city all dressed up and to go gift shopping and skating in Nathan Phillips square.
If you’re like me, a big barrier to trying something new is being that person that’s standing in the middle of the hallway with no idea where they’re going or what they’re supposed to be doing. If you’re like me, you’ll pull out your cellphone and pretend to be super-engaged in text messaging. I’m operating under the assumption that I’m not the only one who feels like this and responds to new situations and environments this way. Please don’t let me be wrong!
I’ve often been held back by an aversion to those awkward situations. I’m hoping to prevent such “fish-out-of-water” feelings from stopping you from exploring our campus athletic centres (that you’re paying part of your tuition towards) by presenting to you: The Newbie’s Guide to Being New Part 1: The Athletic Centre
Also known as the AC, this is the rather aesthetically unappealing building on the corner of Huron and Harbord. It’s a lot more interesting inside. You may have had an exam here in the past and probably didn’t enjoy that experience, so why not replace it with a more positive one?
When you enter the Athletic Centre from Harbord St. you’re going to walk past the pool gallery (did you know we have the only Olympic-size pool in the city?!) and the swag-shop and make your way to the turnstiles. This is a great opportunity to be anti-social since all you need to do is swipe your TCard and walk on through. No human interaction necessary.
Ok, you’ve made it. You are INSIDE the Athletic Centre and even PAST the turnstiles. What now? From here, your basic options are the Strength and Conditioning Centre (SCC) which you’ll find straight ahead, or the field house which is up the stairs.
The SCC is the room full of medieval-looking contraptions and is usually also full of people. Look out for a follow-up post on surviving the SCC in the near future. Anyhow, that’s where you’re going to go if you want to lift heavy things and “make gains” (read as: build muscle).
The field house, on the other hand, is a big open space with a track, multi-function courts and fitness equipment that is scattered throughout the room (it’s a really big room). The openness of the space makes this a great place to start if the congestion in the gym makes you anxious. You’ll find cardio machines, mats, a pull-up bar and other fun surprises.
NOTE: Rules in both these spaces are NO photography (which is why you’re forced to endure my memes and stick figures) and NO bags or personal belongings.
Need a change room? Take the stairs to the bottom. You’ll find these and lockers. Don’t forget a lock!
Still not eager to give it a try? Bring a friend! I love to get in some extra training with friends in the field house. Or, another great way to get acquainted with any athletic centre is taking a class –like me! You’d be surprised how many different classes are offered, they have everything from circus silks to synchronized swimming. You can find the full list here:
Girls, if you want to take advantage of the SCC while it’s less populated, why not visit during women-only hours? You can find those here:
Why do you want to go to the Athletic Centre?
- To take advantage of a membership non-U of T folks pay a lot of money for! To explore one of the many facilities and services U of T has to offer
- To do something active
- To meet new people!
- Because it’s a great, dynamic space
- …There’s a Starbucks if worst comes to worst?
I hope that makes the whole experience of exploring the AC a little less daunting and encourages some of you to go check out the facility. J
In the meantime…
On October 30th, I encourage you to pay the Varsity Centre a visit! MoveU is hosting a “Scary Skate” from 7:30-9PM and it’s FREE. Having said that, if you bring a non-perishable food item, you get a surprise gift! Costumes are encouraged and some skates are available for rent. Hope to see you there!
As students, I’m sure we’re all too familiar with the dreaded term…’budget’
I’m still acquainting myself with it.
A trip to Eaton Centre, as well-intentioned as it may be (“I just need to visit Fido and sort out my phone plan!”) usually ends up with my wallet feeling lighter and tiny pools of regret curdling up in my stomach.
(Becky Bloomwood from the Shopaholic series is basically my spirit animal)
Which, when on a student budget, is probably not the wisest thing to be.
Anyway, the point is- with all the $$$ we spend on fees, textbooks, metro passes and/or bus passes (#commuterprobs), FOOD, it can all start to pile up and not leave room for much else.
WHICH IS WHY I decided to put together this list, to help all of us budgeting students make life a little more fun. I hope it’ll be of some comfort to you during this particularly stress-prone month.
So, without further ado, here’s what I hope is a comprehensive list of free stuff for us students that won’t break the bank, or even cause a dent:
Where: Multi-Faith Center, 569 Spadina Avenue
When: Wednesdays at 4pm
Where: Hart House Reading Room
When: Tuesdays, 11-1
UC Tea and Cookies
Where: Commuter Student Centre
Pancake Brunch i
Where: UC Commuter Student Centre
Pancake Brunch ii
Where: Cat’s Eye Student Pub and Lounge, Victoria College
When: Wednesdays, 10-2
Pancake Brunch iii
When: Woodsworth College
Where: Hart House Reading Room
When: Thursdays, 11-1
Where: Innis Town Hall
When: Fridays at 7pm
Free Concerts: Jazz at Oscar’s
Where: Arbor Room, Hart House
When: Fridays at 9 pm
Where: Walter Hall, Faculty of Music
When: Thursdays at noon
Where: Canadian Opera Company
When: Check website for dates!
University of Toronto Art Centre
Where: 15 King’s College Circle
When: Monday-Friday, 12-5
Free Museum Visits:
Royal Ontario Museum, free on Tuesdays with TCard
Aga Khan Museum: Free on Wednesdays, 4-8 pm
Toronto Police Museum: free Monday-Friday, 8:30-4 (PWYC – pay what you can donations appreciated)
CBC Museum: Free, Weekdays, 9-5
Bata Shoe Museum: Thursdays after 5 (PWYC)
Textile Museum: Wednesdays, 5-8 (PWYC)
The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
Where: 231 Queens Quay West
Harbourfront Centre Visual Art Exhibitinons
Where: 235 Queens Quay W
When: September 26-December 24
Ryerson Image Centre, free admission
Where: 33 Gould Street
When: Varied hours
Free City Walking Tours (ROM)
Where: Check website for meeting spots
Drop-In Yoga Classes
Where: Goldring Centre/Athletic Centre/Hart House
Where: Hart House Chapel
When: Mondays, 12-3
Where: UofT Peer Tutoring Club
Free Online Courses:
Past Tests and Exams
Where: ASSU Past Test Library
Where: UTSU Building
(Accessible with UTORid)
Where: Sid Smith entrance, UC building, pretty much every major building on campus!
Planetarium Shows/ Telescope Viewings/UofT Astronomy Public Tour
Where: UofT Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 80 St George Street
When: Date varies but the next one is November 5th! See here for details.
Microsoft Office Suite, available for free for U of T students
Where: Online, here’s the how-to
Bonus: If your birthday is coming up, you might just be able to score a free coffee and ice-cream in stores around the city!
What a time to be alive, eh?
I hope I haven’t missed anything out! If I have, let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at Life @ UofT!
Over the last few months, I have been helping to plan a Commuter Appreciation Week. This is the first time all the commuter Heads from all 7 colleges have come together to make a university-wide event. We united to become the Off-Campus Students’ Association. So, yeah, we’re pretty much trailblazers. Where’s our Nobel Prize?
Nah, I’m just playing.
Nevertheless, it’s been a lot of work. Although, we had an awesome team, so, it was easy to joke about Jersey Shore and be productive at the same time.
I’ve literally had more meetings scheduled than class hours last week! I take that as a good sign that I’m properly easing my way into my 20s.
But it was all worth it because Commuter Appreciation Week starts this week! We have lots of events planned, and more importantly, each event will have food and refreshments. A commuter’s second occupation is pretty much being a professional free food scavenger. Or is that just me? Who knows?
Anyway, here’s a brief breakdown of our events!
MONDAY: Pancake Brunch at Victoria College!
TUESDAY: Off-Campus Workshops at Trinity College
AND a Ginga Fitness class at Trinity College!
WEDNESDAY: Food galore at New College!
AND an Open Mic Night at St. Michael’s College!
THURSDAY: Salsa and Waltz tutorial with the UCLit at University College!
FRIDAY: Movie Day at Innis College!
Come out guys! If not for the free food, come to see my beautiful (just go with it) face!
On Thursday Api and I dropped by Hart House Get Crafty to take a little break from essay writing and make some bath bombs and lip balms! Get Crafty runs every Thursday from 11-1 in the Hart House Reading Room and although it’s over for the semester I’m pretty sure they’ll be doing it again next semester! The event is totally free and provides all the materials plus tea and coffee.
It was the first time either me or Api went to Get Crafty and we had a lot of fun decorating our lip balms and attempting to wrap and decorate the bath bombs. Check out some pictures from the event below!
All in all it was a really fun event and I’ll definitely be going to more next semester! Anyone else up to Get Crafty?