All posts by Kaitlyn Simpson

Managing Online Editor 2018–2019 Features Editor 2017–2018 Associate News Editor 2016–2017

Letters from us

I was hoping that my second attempt at writing a letter from the editor would be easier — it’s not. It’s still nearly impossible to sum up the number of hours, the amount of effort, and the sum of coffee cups that go into producing a magazine.

Nonetheless, since completing The Varsity’s fall magazine, I’ve worked to ensure the winter magazine’s articles push boundaries and shift perspectives.

The theme ‘physical’ followed a deep ponder sesh I had while making dinner. I liked the multiplicity of it. Turns out, it was appropriate given the timeliness of many of the articles that were inspired by it.

For example, in light of the #MeToo movement and societal discussions of sexual violence, Teodora Pasca wrote a shocking article showcasing the stories of 15 students who have experienced sexual harassment or assault online (page 28).

Additionally, the current state of youth homelessness in the city was explored by Steven Lee — a student who has experienced homelessness — and Ilya Bañares. Both writers worked incredibly hard to ensure that this article became a reality, and the final product is jarring (page 42).

I’m extremely proud of all of the contributors, designers, and those who helped out with the magazine; the stories were inspiring, funny, and important.

I invite you to grab a coffee, find a cozy seat, and enjoy flipping through the Physical Issue.

—Kaitlyn Simpson

After the first Varsity magazine, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about what goes into creating a magazine. Bold. But then I remembered how many times articles changed, how many visuals shifted, and how all the ideas I started out with were nothing like what was eventually executed. I guess that’s part of the fun of it all.

The process of coming up with the cover was a result of a creative back and forth that sounded something like this:

“So this is the physical issue.  Think body, touch, aggressive… maybe texture?”

“That’s not really going anywhere. What are the main colours in it?”

“There’s quite a bit of orange.”

“How about an orange on the cover?”

Plus a number of other changes. The image featured on the back cover is a close-up of Bernini’s “The Rape of Persephone,” with the frame highlighting the hyper-real sense of touch that you would never usually associate with a material like marble.

Alongside the cover, the Physical Issue brings together in-your-face visuals that invite you into stories that often feel out of reach. The designs facilitate these stories to take up the space they deserve. Please enjoy!

—Elham Numan

Letters from the editors

I’ve quickly discovered that writing a letter from the editor is hard. It’s challenging to sum up countless hours of editing, email-sending, and coffee-drinking into a mere couple hundred words. Nonetheless, here’s my two cents on the Futures Issue.

We’re living in an interesting time. We’re experiencing a shifting political climate, evolving social norms, and unprecedented technological innovation. Global customs are being questioned, and seemingly stable institutions are increasingly scrutinized. Our future is murky.

Alongside this, we as students are living in an interesting time. While school is comfortable, what happens post-grad can be foggy – I, for one, don’t know what I’ll be doing five years from now.

When creating this magazine, my goal was to showcase various representations of this uncertainty while simultaneously highlighting the exciting nature of the unknown.

The contributors of this magazine do just that. Teodora Pasca explores how our society is responding to technological advancements, Rachel Chen shares the stories of five students whose mental health struggles make it difficult to move forward, Nathan Chan photographs students and asks them to imagine what their future will entail, and Etiquette Squirrel (from the future) tells us the future of humankind.

Undoubtedly, the future comes in different shapes and sizes. When reading, I encourage you to  ponder the unknown and question what comes next. I know I certainly did.

—Kaitlyn Simpson

I wish I were funny enough to write an interesting letter.  I also wish I could have seen into the future about seven months ago to mentally prepare myself for the process of directing this magazine.

The designs featured through these pages are in response to their respective articles, much like how the future is shaped by the actions taken in the past. For instance, Sonali Gill’s piece on citizenship and immigration incorporates the implied borders of the topic with illustrations dividing the text, while Tom Yun’s article plays on the chance, uncertainty, and fragility that I’m sure many people feel is in store for the expensive fruit of our labour: the illustrious U of T degree.

The amalgamation of the magazine’s articles shape up the cover’s visual, which juxtaposes the journey of the missing key found in Rachel Chen’s piece on seeking help through hardship, except with some directional support provided by the inside pages.

If you were to ask me, the missing key looks like it’s got a great journey ahead.  Who knows? The future is up in the air, after all.

—Elham Numan

The student’s guide to Scarborough

Visit the Scarborough Bluffs


Open year-round, the Scarborough Bluffs are an escarpment of parks definitely worth seeing. The Bluffs stand right beside Lake Ontario, offering excellent views and some fun outside activities. There are 11 different parks spanning the bluffs, many with hiking trails, picnic areas, and lookouts. A few of the parks also offer a lakeshore trail, and Bluffer’s Park includes a sandy beach intended for swimming. 

Distance from UTSC: 20 minutes by car

Cost: Free

See a play by Theatre Scarborough

Theatre Scarborough is made up of three distinct theatre companies, all operating from one location. Scarborough Theatre Guild, Scarborough Music Theatre, and Scarborough Players are offering shows this season from September to July.

Distance from UTSC: 15 minutes by car

Cost: $19–$25 for regular student tickets,

$10 for student rush tickets 

Hang out at the Scarborough Town Centre


With over 250 different stores and a Cineplex movie theatre, the Scarborough Town Centre is one of the province’s largest malls. Inside the mall is the Scarborough Walk of Fame, where notable Scarborough residents of past and present have commemorative stars on the ground. The mall is also right across from the Scarborough Centre subway stop and bus terminal, making your travelling all the less woeful.

Distance from UTSC: 10 minutes by car

Cost: Free — unless you shop

Eat out at multicultural restaurants

Scarborough is renowned for its multiculturalism, making for a variety of great restaurants to enjoy. Some local favourites are Federick Restaurant at 1920 Ellesmere Road, The Roti Hut at 351 Pitfield Road, and Fratelli Village Pizzeria at 384 Old Kingston Road.

Distance from UTSC: Varied

Cost: Usually $10–$30 per person

Take a trip to the Toronto Zoo


There’s no better way to get rid of the stress of finals than a trip to see some fluffy pandas. The Toronto Zoo is open all year and is home to over 5,000 animals from around the world.

Distance from UTSC: 10 minutes by car

Cost: $29 in the summer, $23 in the winter

Dare to explore the haunted Old Finch Bridge

Legend has it a young girl was murdered on her birthday on the Old Finch Bridge. Passersby have previously reported hearing screams coming from the nearby cemetery. Then again, these noises could be explained by the nearby peacock pens of the Toronto Zoo.

Distance from UTSC: 10 minutes by car

Cost: Your livelihood

Letter from the Editor

I never planned on coming to U of T. Originally, I wanted to go somewhere outside of the GTA. All it took was a tour of the St. George campus and I was hooked. From then on out, I spent my weekdays downtown, my weekends studying at UTM, and every once in a while I’d travel to UTSC.

U of T is a big place. Our systems and structures can often be confusing at best. I’m sure you’ll dabble in a few different academic streams, social groups, and extracurricular activities before you find your home-away-from-home. I recommend trying out as much as you can in your first year — don’t be intimidated by how big this school is.

If there‘s one takeaway from this handbook, it would be to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you. In my first year, I had no idea how many opportunities there were and how many people were available to help students succeed. This is the precise time to experiment, explore, and figure stuff out. Whether you’re a commuter student venturing to campus each day (page 20), considering intramural innertube water polo (page 18), or registering with Accessibility Services (page 21), I hope this handbook is a helpful tool in your transition. Oh, and finish the first year bucket list (page 22) — you won’t regret it.

Take photos! Drink coffee! Settle in! The next few years will be great.