Navigating the 65 hectares of St. George campus can be daunting, and in the first week of classes you’ll doubtlessly find yourself standing on a street corner or in a maze-like building wondering where your tutorial room is. The campus is home to many libraries and student spaces for studying and socializing, and provides options for quick meals and coffee to grab during the 10-minute break (or, likely, jog) between classes. Here is a sampling of where to study, eat, caffeinate, and socialize on campus — but there are countless more options for you to explore downtown.
Where to Study
Shaped like a giant peacock — or turkey, some might say — Robarts library is where you (and hoards of your peers) will undoubtedly spend time cramming for finals and writing term papers. Offering 24-hour study space during the busiest times of the year, the 13 floors provide ample space and privacy to do your work.
Gerstein Library is a spot for very serious studying — make a sound in the quiet study area at your own risk. Also known as the Science Information Center, Gerstein is usually frequented by life sciences students. Located on King’s College Circle, Gerstein is a convenient study space across from your first-year Convocation Hall classes.
Shore & Moffat Library
Located on the second floor of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, the Shore & Moffat Library is the perfect place to find the motivation to finish a project or put the last touches on your ARC221 schematic. Flooded with natural light and overlooking College Street, the environment of this study spot will make you feel creative and inspired.
Earth Sciences Library
On the second floor of the Earth Sciences Centre, you’ll find Noranda, the Earth Sciences Library. You can enjoy the high ceilings of the round room from the ground floor or climb up to the individual desks on the overhanging second floor. It’s a quiet haven to review your PowerPoint slides and try to decipher your scribbled lecture notes.
Indoor Bamboo Gardens
Located in the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, the indoor bamboo gardens are a mellow place to hit the books. The atrium is the ideal spot to meditate and try to pretend that you don’t have a final essay due the next day.
Where to Relax
The Cat’s Eye
Although difficult to locate, the Cat’s Eye in the Goldring Student Centre at Victoria College is a good spot to relax between lectures. In addition to having two pool tables, a foosball table, and plently of comfortable seating, it is also prime real estate for club events.
The Philosopher’s Walk is a quiet, tree-lined path connecting Bloor Street West and Hoskin Avenue, ideal for the deep thinkers among us. Use the outdoor space to ponder your latest existential crisis or to get some fresh air and squirrel-watch.
Junior Common Room (JCR)
The JCR is University College’s prime student space. Lined with comfy chairs and couches, the JCR is the place to grab a fair trade coffee and meet some of the most eclectic students and faculty at U of T.
The atmosphere of Kruger Hall combines the diversity and creativity of Woodsworth College with the modern aesthetic of Rotman Commerce. The lounge acts as a refuge for commuters to socialize with friends and provides a quiet setting for residents to crack open their textbooks and begin highlighting.
Munk School of Global Affairs
The Munk School gardens are a lesser-known place to relax and refocus on campus or to contemplate avoiding the real world for a few more years at grad school. This hidden gem is situated in the heart of the Munk School of Global Affairs and is complete with a covered courtyard and plenty of greenery.
Where to Caffeinate
Campus is home to two Tim Hortons, six Second Cups, and three Starbucks locations, ensuring that you’ll never be more than a short walk away from a double-double or vanilla bean latte. On select days during exam season, dedicated baristas keep the Robarts Starbucks open 24 hours a day, though the line of sleep-deprived students is often terrifying.
Victoria College’s Caffiends is the go-to spot for eco-friendly caffeination on campus. The coffee shop doesn’t use disposable cups and instead allows you to borrow one of their ceramic mugs or bring your own. Selling only organic, fair trade coffee is Caffiends’ standard, and it seems to resonate with students and customers who keep coming back. Their Red Heart latte should definitely be on your to-try list, and brewed coffee is a sustainable steal at just $1 per mug.
Diabolos’ Coffee Bar
If its popularity among students is any indication, this student-run café has got it right. The quirky, charming staff understands the starving student reality most of us face and has a menu priced accordingly with most options not exceeding $10. The best part: everything you buy is sustainable and locally sourced.
Located in Morrison Hall, this café offers somewhat pricey baked goods and fair trade coffee, but it’s the perfect spot to grab a bag of candy for lecture fuel. Reznikoff is spacious and brightly lit, making it a good place for a study group or lunch with friends.
Where to Eat
Innis Café, located in Innis College, serves a little bit of everything. Feeling like jerk chicken but your friend’s a vegan? Have no fear; with a menu that spans four chalkboards and includes daily specials and great freshly squeezed juice, this café has something for everyone.
The Gallery Grill, located on the second floor of Hart House, is one of the best gourmet dining experiences you’ll have on campus — particularly if your parents are visiting and it’s their treat. The grill includes menu items such as flat-iron steak and house-made ice cream.
Located in the Goldring Student Centre, Victoria College’s Ned’s Café boasts some of the best snacks and sandwiches on campus. A gas fireplace and comfy chairs make it a cozy place to hide during the frigid winter semester.
Think eating vegan means quinoa and tofu? Hot Yam doesn’t think so. Located at the Cumberland House, Hot Yam aspires to make eating vegan accessible and enjoyable for students. With menu items like red lentil soup and peanut ginger sesame cookies, you won’t miss meat and dairy. Their hours are limited — they are only open Wednesdays from 12:00 pm–2:00 pm — so schedule your visit accordingly.
The food cooperative Harvest Noon does more than just fill your stomach. The café nourishes your brain as well as your body by giving students information on how to cook and live sustainably and organically. With an ever-evolving menu that uses seasonal produce, you’ll know you’re getting the freshest and finest food our campus has to offer.