Beating School Stress this Week…Kapow!

For those of you taking Summer courses, you know ALL TOO WELL how quickly the course materials go by and before you know it finals are here (…then again, it feels like that during the Fall/Winter courses but y’all know what I mean!). One of my favourite things to do on-campus is to hit the gym, stressed or not.

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The Start of a Great Journey!

Picture of yours truly with my archaeological finding!

Oh, the excitement of our first discovery at the Drawsko site in Poland! Credit: Danielle Donnelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey there! My name is Meimei and I’m excited to join this AWESOME group of Life @ U of T bloggers for the upcoming school year. I am SUPER EXCITED to blog about our awesome university and events that take place on-campus! And of course share my experiences at U of T with you!  Yay! As this is my first blog post of the year, a brief introduction is in order! You can learn more about me and my fellow bloggers if you click on the Crew tab – go ahead, you won’t regret it!

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U of T: Then and Now

As a longtime history enthusiast, I’m always curious about what used to be.

And every so often, while I’m walking across the tiled corridors of University College or peering up at the latest whimsical pattern on the ever-changing UTSU dome, I’ll stop to wonder what stood there before.

Last week, I reconciled the flashbacks of my imagination with actual old photographs from a bit of research I did about U of T buildings. I came across some very interesting tidbits of architectural history during my browsings too- which I found was such a great way to feel more connected to campus, knowing little facts that I could point out as I walked around.

So , in honour of U of T’s 189th birthday yesterday, here’s a major St. George #throwbacktuesday (if only I posted on Thursdays, sigh)

First up…..University College!

our beloved University College building under construction, 1857. Source: Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Archives, http://ao.minisisinc.com/scripts/mwimain.dll/144/IMAGES_FACT/FACTSIMAG/IMAGEFILE+I0021812?SESSIONSEARCH

our beloved University College building under construction, 1857.
Source: Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services Archives, http://ao.minisisinc.com/scripts/mwimain.dll/144/IMAGES_FACT/FACTSIMAG/IMAGEFILE+I0021812?SESSIONSEARCH

another shot of the iconic University College building in construction, circa 1857. source: Toronto Public Library Records http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDMDC-PICTURES-R-2968&R=DC-PICTURES-R-2968

another shot of the iconic UC building under construction, circa 1857.
source: Toronto Public Library Records
http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDMDC-PICTURES-R-2968&R=DC-PICTURES-R-2968

smiles and laughter on the King's College Circle lawn in 1928. Source: City of Toronto Archives http://www.blogto.com/city/2015/09/what_university_campuses_used_to_look_like_in_toronto/

smiles and laughter on the King’s College Circle lawn in 1928.
Source: City of Toronto Archives
http://www.blogto.com/city/2015/09/what_university_campuses_used_to_look_like_in_toronto/

Looking down from the turrets of University College during an Open House, 1974. (not accessible to students anymore from what I'm told, unfortunately!) Source: http://archives.library.utoronto.ca/dbtw-wpd/textbase/lansdale_online/index.htm Robert Lansdale Photographic Collection

Looking down from the turrets of University College during an Open House, 1974.
(not accessible to students anymore from what I’m told, unfortunately!)
Source: http://archives.library.utoronto.ca/dbtw-wpd/textbase/lansdale_online/index.htm

St. Michael’s College!

A sketch of St. Mike's as it was, back in 1855. Source: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?R=DC-PICTURES-R-3192

A sketch of St. Mike’s as it was, back in 1855.
Source: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?R=DC-PICTURES-R-3192

The magnificent Soldier’s Tower being put together:

The Soldier's Tower under construction, 1923. Source: University of Toronto Archives, Image Bank, A1965-0004 [2A.3]

Soldier’s Tower under construction, 1923.
Source: University of Toronto Archives

The completed Soldier's Tower memorial building in June 1924. source: http://heritage.utoronto.ca/chronology

The completed Soldier’s Tower, June 1924.
source: http://heritage.utoronto.ca/chronology

Inside University College…

The university had a small museum located in what is now West Hall, University College back in the late 1880s. If this looks familiar, you've probably written an exam in the Hall at some point! Photo Source: http://heritage.utoronto.ca/chronology

The university had a small museum located in what is now West Hall, University College back in the late 1880s.
If this looks familiar, you’ve probably written an exam in the Hall at some point!
Photo Source: http://heritage.utoronto.ca/chronology

A beautiful West Hall as we know it today. Photo Credit: Richard Wintle https://www.flickr.com/photos/ricardipus/3571089449

A beautifully taken shot of West Hall as we know it today.
Photo Credit: Richard Wintle
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ricardipus/3571089449

Cumberland House….aka the Centre for International Experience…

A horse-drawn carriage waiting outside Cumberland House (now the Centre for International Experience), 33 St. George Street, circa 1886. Source: http://heritage.utoronto.ca/fedora/repository/default%3A23809

A horse-drawn carriage waiting outside Cumberland House, circa 1886.
Source: http://heritage.utoronto.ca/fedora/repository/default%3A23809

Cumberland House today. Photo Source: http://www.osm.utoronto.ca/map/f?p=110:4:889784336631501::::P4_BLDG_KEY:26

Cumberland House today.
Photo Source: http://www.osm.utoronto.ca/map/f?p=110:4:889784336631501::::P4_BLDG_KEY:26

The Toronto Magnetic and Meteorological Observatory, or as we know it now, the UTSU Building

What we fondly call the ‘UTSU building’ is actually the oldest scientific institution in the country! The Observatory was built in the 1840s to facilitate a global research project on ‘fluctuations in magnetic declination.’ After the project ended in 1853, the Observatory was used by the Canadian government as the ‘country’s primary meteorological station and official timekeeper for over fifty years.’

one of the earliest depictions of the Toronto Magnetic and Meterological Observatory, now the UTSU building- in a painting by William Armstrong, 1852. U of T Archives Image Bank, http://heritage.utoronto.ca/fedora/repository/default%3A22028

The Toronto Magnetic and Meterological Observatory, what some call the birthplace of Canadian astronomy. William Armstrong, 1852.
U of T Archives Image Bank,

 

Taken from the top of University College, looking south to the Magnetic Observatory, now the UTSU building, with its distinctive dome! You can observe just how much the landscape around the building has changed since 1859- see how far rural land stretches to what is now bustling, busy Queen's Park. Photo taken by William Notman, 1859. Photo Source: http://oldtorontomaps.blogspot.ca/2013/08/1859-university-of-toronto-campus.html

Taken from the top of University College, looking south to the Magnetic Observatory, now the UTSU building, with its distinctive dome!
You can observe just how much the landscape around the building has changed since 1859- see how far rural land stretches to what is now bustling, busy Queen’s Park.
Photo by William Notman, 1859.
Source: http://oldtorontomaps.blogspot.ca/2013/08/1859-university-of-toronto-campus.html

A lost creek under Hart House Circle…..

The highs and lows of Hart House Circle, where McCaul s Pond once lay. Photo Source: Gary Winchester, http://www.cultureaddicthistorynerd.com/2015/11/university-torontos-abridged-history-photo-tour/

The highs and lows of Hart House Circle, where McCaul
s Pond once lay.
Photo Source: Gary Winchester, http://www.cultureaddicthistorynerd.com/2015/11/university-torontos-abridged-history-photo-tour/

Where the waters of the Taddle Creek once flowed, amidst trees at Philosopher's Walk. Photo Credit: Photo: Ingrid Stefanovic

Where the waters of the Taddle Creek once flowed, amidst trees at Philosopher’s Walk.
Photo Credit: Photo: Ingrid Stefanovic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That uneven patch of grass you cross from Hart House to get to King’s College Circle?

One hundred years ago, that used to be a pond.

McCaul's Pond. Painting by Lucius O'Brien, 1876. Source: http://heritage.utoronto.ca/chronology

McCaul’s Pond. Painting by Lucius O’Brien, 1876.
Source: http://heritage.utoronto.ca/chronology

McCaul's Pond, late 1870s source: http://heritage.utoronto.ca/chronology

McCaul’s Pond, late 1870s
source: http://heritage.utoronto.ca/chronology

The once bubbling Taddle Creek ran from what are now the winding paths in Philosopher’s Walk all the way up to Hart House Circle, where a dam emptied water into a large pond called McCaul Pond, named after the second president of U of T.

Ingrid Stefanovic, a professor at the University of Toronto, wrote about the buried pond:

“Throughout the 19th century, the creek was revered for its beauty, lending itself to the poetic renderings particularly of students, who actively interacted with Taddle Creek and McCaul’s Pond, fishing for trout, sailing toy boats, tobogganing on the creek’s banks and immersing first year colleagues into the waters as part of a hazing ritual.

“Thy classic flow,” mused one student writer in the Varsity magazine, “thy poetic surroundings, are an education in themselves!”

The pond and creek were later buried over by 1884 after concerns about public health, leaving only the curvatures of landscape to remember them by.

U of T and Amelia Earhart’s inspiration….

Not many people know this, but world-famous aviator Amelia Earhart arrived in Toronto in 1917, visiting her sister and working as a nurse’s aide to soldiers at the Spadina Military Hospital at 1 Spadina Crescent- now owned by U of T.  In her free time, she attended air shows held nearby by the Canadian National Exhibition- it is said that this experience aroused her interest in aviation, a career that she would later pursue to reach global fame.

Children pictured outside Knox College (part of U of T) at 1 Spadina Crescent, 1882. Source: Toronto Public Library records http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDMDC-PICTURES-R-3206&R=DC-PICTURES-R-3206

Children pictured outside Knox College (part of U of T) at 1 Spadina Crescent, 1882.
Source: Toronto Public Library records

#HappyBirthdayUofT! You were fascinating then and you’re fascinating now.

 

Velut arbor ævo/ ‘Like a tree through the ages’

 

Thinking About My Future (Briefcase)

This week I stepped out of my comfort zone.

After receiving an invitation to an Arts & Science Backpack to Briefcase (b2B) event, I found myself shimmying into business casual work attire after a seven-hour school day. Having plans on a Thursday night is pretty unusual for me, considering my average Thursday night routine consists of pajamas, a couple hours of reading, tea and probably frozen pizza. 

The Backpacks to Briefcase event I attended was for students interested in fields relating to the Health Sciences. If you have been following the blog for a while, you may know that I am constantly waiting to have that *Eureka!* moment where I suddenly know what I want to do with my life. I figured that maybe the b2B might show me some job opportunities I could create for myself using my degree.

A photo of Soldier's Tower near Hart House at dusk.

The event took place at Hart House, and as I was walking I couldn’t help but notice and appreciate the beauty of Soldier’s Tower. #JoyAtUofT

The event itself was extremely educational, and it was really nice to have a reason to connect with students who, like me, were also concerned that they wouldn’t find a “dream” job with the degree they had chosen. Being a second year student, I was one of the youngest attendees however, I think my youth might have improved the event for me because I wasn’t just learning from the alumni but also my fellow upper years. Continue reading

Clubs to Get You Moving in 2016

Welcome back! I hope everyone’s well on their way to settling into a new semester. I can’t say I started it particularly enthusiastically; however, I feel I’m very much back in the groove. I start a circus silks class at the Athletic Centre soon (can’t wait to report back!) and Jiu Jitsu officially resumed today. I’ve dedicated this term to myself and my well-being above all else. I’ll let you know how that goes. So far… pretty good.

Tuesday was the annual winter Clubs and Summer Job Fair hosted by the UTSU at the Varsity Centre. I’ve never missed it — and for good reason. The fair isn’t a particularly popular event, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to chat with people (club executives and employers). It’s a very different environment compared to the fall Clubs Day at Hart House Circle. Even if you’ve never been, you must know what I mean…

How it looks... Source: UTSU Facebook Page

How it looks…
Source: UTSU Facebook Page

How it feels... (Also: name that movie!) Source: blogs.disney.com

How it feels…
(Also: name that movie!)
Source: blogs.disney.com

I seized the opportunity presented by the lack of stampede to interview a couple of sports/athletics-related clubs that were represented at the fair today. Without further ado…

The University of Toronto Ski & Snowboard Club (UTSSC)

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UTSSC offers affordable ski and snowboard trips for students. The club welcomes skiers and boarders of all skill levels. Never tried your hand at either of these winter sports? No problem! Absolute beginners are 100 per cent welcome, and the club offers free lessons over the course of their first two weeks.

One club executive I spoke to explained that a large part of their membership consists of international students hitting the slopes for the first time (no doubt to find something to redeem this dreadfully cold, harsh season that is Canada’s winter). The club executive describes the club as a place where anyone who wants to ski and snowboard can come together, meet and make friends — within a totally non-competitive, recreational environment.

UTSSC runs weekly trips to local hill Mount St. Louis Moonstone. They also host a Quebec trip over reading week — this year to Mont Sainte Anne, which I’ve enjoyed more than once! Anyone interested in joining UTSSC should check out their Facebook group (if it motivates you: I found a rather unflattering photo myself conducting this very interview, yikes!) and/or their website for additional information and sign-up options.  I HIGHLY recommend seizing such an opportunity to anyone who hates winter (wait, isn’t that everyone?). I find solace in the fact that while it may be freezing… I CAN FINALLY GO SKIING AT LAST!

University of Toronto Dance Club

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The main function of the University of Toronto Dance Club is to offer dance classes to U of T students and alumni. The club offers classes in a variety of styles, though the executive member I spoke to explained he personally got involved because he wanted to dance Salsa. Good choice, amigo. Latin dance makes me weak in the knees, it’s so, so impressive and, in my experience, a lot of fun. The club is a great place for anyone who wants to dance, try something new and meet some new people! My informant tells me lots of people find many friends within the community and greatly expand their social circles. The best part? Students pay only $40 for 10 hours of classes! Does this sound as awesome to you as it does to me?  Check out http://utdanceclub.com/ or join their Facebook group to start (or continue!) your dance education.

University of Toronto Jiu Jitsu Club

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Confession: I’m President. Consolation confession: I did NOT interview myself.

The University of Toronto Jiu Jitsu Club is a Japanese Jiu Jitsu club (many, many styles of Jiu Jitsu exist, even within “Japanese”), which trains at Hart House. It is a registered club at U of T, but it’s also part of the Jitsu Canada and the Jitsu Foundation, which are national and international organizations respectively (friends all over the world — can’t beat that!). Someone who wants to get involved would either visit http://www.jitsucanada.com/ or the Facebook group and get in touch with one of the fantastic instructors. Why someone might want to try it? According to Arlo it’s good fitness, good self-defense and what’s most important for him is “it’s a lot of fun!” I swear, he said it. Direct quote, not a shameless plug.

Naturally, I’ll insert my two cents ever so subtly…

IT’S AWESOME. No, but seriously… for those who might want a little more info on what exactly Japanese Jiu Jitsu entails:

Japanese Jiu Jitsu dates back to the samurai. It’s a system of unarmed combat the samurai developed for use if ever they lost possession of their sword (this is my favourite thing to say). Our style involves striking, locking, throwing, groundwork and weapons defense. It’s very self-defense oriented and it’s rather comprehensive!

While I think they’re fabulous, these are just three of many athletic clubs on campus, so don’t be discouraged if they aren’t quite what you’re looking for. That’s okay! Check here for a full list of our campus clubs, which will allow you to browse by category and find your perfect fit!

Fitness Instructions

It’s a New Year!

A fun fact about me: I am a fitness instructor on campus.

IMG_1986

No, but seriously. I love being a fitness instructor:

  1. I find group fitness motivating. It keeps me active, because I know that at least once a week I have to smile while I’m working out. That takes training. In our industry, we are often reminded that when we are instructing, our focus is on the participants getting a great workout. So I try to attend multiple group fitness classes a week to get a good workout myself.

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The Barbell Prescription: The What, Why and How of Weight Training

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.

Dr. Jonathon Sullivan

Dr. Jonathon Sullivan Source: greysteel.org

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

You Never Know What You’ll Discover – A Testament to Fitness and Athletics on Campus

Anyone who knows even a little bit about me probably knows that I do Jiu Jitsu. I started practising Shorinji Kan Japanese Jiu Jitsu in September of 2013, when I began my undergraduate degree. I joined the Jiu Jitsu Club at UofT and I’ve now been the president of for about two years.

That decision was the best I’ve made over the course of my undergraduate career. Let me tell you why.

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Sometimes You Need a Break

I was sitting in the lower lounge of  E.J. Pratt library last week when I looked outside and realized that there was waterfall just outside the glass, and that somehow I had been completely oblivious of it despite having sat right beside it for four days in a row.

photo of the pearson garden behind EJ Pratt library, featuring the elusive waterfall

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