Category Archives: Student Handbook 2015

Letter from the Editor

A little while ago, I rode the subway late at night. As I got on at College station, feeling reflective after an evening of indulging in bad wine and good conversation, I found that I was the only passenger on the train. It was simultaneously eerie and empowering to occupy a public space in such solitude. In a strange way, it felt intensely private, and my mind began to wander.

Where do our thoughts go in our most private moments — when we leave behind the baggage of our day-to-day lives and reflect honestly? Much of the time, the product of these intimate moments is not something that we would express freely to a parent, close friend, or anyone at all.

We are constrained, for a whole host of reasons, from breaching taboos.

This issue of The Varsity Magazine is themed “taboo,” but it does not attempt to make any particular judgments or assumptions. Its chief purpose is to make you, the reader, think. Taboos can form mysteriously, define political and social landscapes, and eat away at our individual psyches. Sometimes discussing them produces unease or anger, at others, immense relief or pleasure. The visual aspects of this magazine, overseen by Creative Director Margaux Parker, reference the intensity of these topics through a minimalist approach, and by using bold, contrasting colour schemes.

The contributors of this magazine tap into taboos from varying perspectives. Salvatore Basilone presents a piece on the experiences of students living with mental illnesses (page 38). Malone Mullin explores the emerging push for basic income, a movement inspired by daily hardships (page 26). Jacob Lorinc asks how we should consume art when we know its creator to be morally debased (page 52). Meanwhile, Linh Nguyen assesses the role of pornography in society, particularly among those whose sexual education has been insufficient (page 6).

Wherever you are geographically, temporally, and personally when reading this, I hope that you find yourself provoked, challenged, and inspired by the content of this magazine. For whatever it is worth, I know I have been.

— Alex McKeen
The Varsity Features Editor, 2015–2016

Names to know

Meric Gertler

President of the University of Toronto

Head honcho of U of T since November 1, 2013, Gertler oversees all university affairs. He has a background in geography and urban theory and is keen to establish U of T’s role in the City of Toronto as well as its contribution to the provincial economy.

Nicole Dionisio

Nicole Dionisio, SCSU president. Courtesy of Nicole Dionisio.
Nicole Dionisio, SCSU president. Courtesy of Nicole Dionisio.

President of the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU)

Dionisio has been involved with the SCSU for a number of years, serving as the chair of its Board of Directors, a director, and as the vice-president, university affairs and academics last year. She has emphasized the need for anonymous feedback forums and operational efficiencies at the SCSU.

Ebi Agbeyegbe

Ebi Agbeyegbe, UTMSU president. Courtesy of Ebi Agbeyegbe.
Ebi Agbeyegbe, UTMSU president. Courtesy of Ebi Agbeyegbe.

President of the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU)

Agbeyegbe was the vice-president, external of the UTMSU last year and is starting his second year as the UTM designate at the University of Toronto Students’ Union.

Ben Coleman

Ben Coleman, UTSU president. Mallika Makkar/THE VARSITY
Ben Coleman, UTSU president. Mallika Makkar/THE VARSITY

President of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU)

Coleman brings his experience as a student representative on the Governing Council and as a member of the UTSU’s Board of Directors to the presidential role. He has pledged to hold UTSU “accountability cafés” periodically throughout the year for increased transparency.

Welcome to Toronto


Walking through Kensington Market feels like walking through an urban museum. Brick walls are disguised as canvases with vibrant graffiti. People can be seen displaying their own works of art in the forms of tattoos and attire. Blue Banana provides the funkiest gifts for every person and every occasion; they sell everything from beautiful jewelry and funky socks, to kitchen gadgets, and a wide array of hot sauces. Get your caffeine fix, and get some studying in, at Pamenar with a vanilla latte — stick around on a Wednesday night for weekly trivia. Kensington also offers excellent brunch options like those served at Aunties and Uncles. The classic diner is strewn with vintage knick-knacks and serves up breakfast, brunch, and lunch depending on what time you drag yourself out of bed. The vintage trend continues throughout the market, with numerous vintage shops to rifle through, such as Courage My Love. While you’re there, browse the bikes at Bikes on Wheels, because you may need to hop on one to get to the rest of the places on this list — they’re faster than the TTC, and a lot more fun.

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Leslieville is a modest treasure in the east-end of the city, which has emerged recently as one of Toronto’s hippest neighbourhoods. Leslieville is a tight-knit community that specializes in a slow moving lifestyle. Drinking a perfectly pulled americano in one of the many independent café’s is a common pastime, and the leisurely pace of  Queen St. East allows you to take some time to enjoy the authenticity of the streets and storefronts. If you have ever wanted to star on Degrassi, alongside our best friend from the 6ix, Drake, head to De Grassi Street. While you’re there check out Bonjour Brioche, which serves breakfast, lunch and of course, brunch. There will most likely be a line out the door, but the buttery deliciousness of their flakey croissants is well worth the wait. After brunch, count on Desmond & Beatrice, or Bobbette & Belle, to whip up scrumptious baked goods and cupcakes that you’ll want to devour after documenting their cuteness with an Instagram post. With a full stomach and a happy heart, you can visit one of the many café’s that serve the locals. Te Aro is a modern coffeehouse lodged in a converted garage with a beautiful patio. The coffee beans they use are roasted on site, so your velvety smooth latte is sure to be fresh. Of course, Leslieville has more to offer than delicious food, including many vintage clothing shops and antique stores. Gadabout sells unique oddities, accessories, clothing and textiles. If you decide to visit Leslieville at night, they have loads of restaurants and bars that are sure to serve a good cocktail or local brew, including Hitch and Goods and Provisions.

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St. Lawrence Market

Wake up buttercup, there’s no better cure for last night’s shenanigans than to get up and explore an area of the city that is made for the morning — the Market Block. Established in 1803 at Front and Jarvis, St. Lawrence market is Toronto’s largest indoor market. It houses 120 vendors, merchants, and artisans who are passionate about the goods they are selling. Produce and meat are brought in fresh from Ontario farms, while the south market houses permanent meat, seafood, produce and restaurant stalls. The north market is open on Saturdays, and on Sundays for boutique selling. The south is open from Tuesday to Saturday. You’re going to work up an appetite fighting the crowds and practicing your restraint, so be sure to grab a peameal bacon sandwich at Carousel Bakery — a necessity now that you’re in Hogtown. If you’re up for an adventure, search out Anton Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard and giant pickles. The market block is also home to an antiques market that is only open on Sundays starting at dawn, so be sure to visit on a couple different occasions to experience it all.

Queen St. West

I’m talking way west. Queen St. West lost its edge when its storefronts became a copy of what you can see in the Eaton Center. The big box retailers took over and pushed the small guys out. But, if you work your way west of Bathurst, Queen West’s character has been retained with independent boutiques, unique restaurants, art galleries, and concert venues making Queen St. West the second hippest district in the world, according to  Vogue magazine. Trinity Bellwoods Park — which extends from Queen St. West to College St.  — welcomes hippies, hipster dog owners, and everyone in between. When you work up an appetite, Chippy’s Fish and Chips across the street serves up one badass Halibut. Keep heading west and you’ll find legendary boutique hotels, like The Drake and The Gladstone. The Drake is a one-stop culture haven that provides food during the day at multiple in-house restaurants, as well as nightlife and concerts after the sun goes down. Similarly, yet still uniquely, The Gladstone is adorned with art installations and hosts art exhibitions and small concerts. If shopping is your thing, set aside a whole day to wander the area (be sure to check out Philistine), and keep an eye on the time because it’s easy to lose track.

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Article and photos by Victoria Banderob.

Welcome to Scarborough

After a day of lectures and labs, University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) students are willing to bus or drive to just about anywhere in the GTA to unwind.  Though some of their favorite hang-out spots are in or near UTSC, the majority are spread out across the city.

Bubble tea shops are some of the most popular hang-outs for UTSC students. Many are willing to take three buses in order to down a sugary tapioca-filled drink at Go for Tea at Midland and McNicoll. With its homey decor and soft lighting, Go for Tea is generally considered to be one of Scarborough’s best bubble tea venues.


AYCE (All You Can Eat) restaurants remain a perennial favorite among students who try to get the most out of each dollar. Since sushi can cost as much as a dollar a piece in UTSC’s marketplace, many students prefer driving or taking transit  to AYCE sushi restaurants, such as Tatami Sushi at Eglinton and Lebovic, or Nichiban Sushi at Steeles and Kennedy, which offer unlimited sushi for a set price. Located east of McCowan on Shepphard, Ten-Ichi Japanese Cuisine is a popular AYCE restaurants among UTSC students. Ten-Ichi chefs cook meals right in front of their guests, and often entertain them with tricks like the juggling of spatulas or turning a mound of sliced onions into a tiny flaming volcano.

During the winter months, the thought of a warm bowl of Vietnamese Pho leads a large number of students to take a couple of buses and trudge through snow to the doors of either Pho Dai Nam at Birchmount and Danforth or Pho Metro at Taunton and Salem.  Korean Barbecues, like Chako at Midland and McNicoll, are also popular winter destinations for protein lovers who crave grilled meat.   

UTSC students also flock to the many sports bars and wing joints surrounding the Scarborough Town Centre for televised sporting events. Just one TTC ride away from UTSC, AllStar Wings & Ribs, and St. Louis Bar & Grill are the most frequented locations for a pint of beer and a pound of wings.

An LRT arrives at Scarborough Centre station. ROBERT TAYLOR/FLICKR CC
An LRT arrives at Scarborough Centre station. ROBERT TAYLOR/FLICKR CC


Weather permitting, Pickering Playing Fields is a well-known hang-out spot for UTSC students in the spring and summer.  A ten minute car ride from campus, Pickering Playing Fields has batting cages, a 18 hole mini putt golf course, two beach volleyball courts, and a driving range.

Archery Tag is rapidly gaining popularity among UTSC students. Most students jump at the opportunity of firing non-lethal projectiles at their best friends. Kennedy Bowl and ESC-It (Escape It) are two common alternatives for those who prefer less physically exerting activities.    

Project A, U of T’s largest anime club, hosts several of the most popular events at UTSC. The club has a tradition of turning lecture halls into makeshift movie theatres for the viewing of Studio Ghibli films and other renowned anime classics. Project A also hosts a cultural festival once a year known as Bunkasai, which turns UTSC’s meeting place into the Japanese version of Chuck-E-Cheese, complete with tickets and anime themed prizes.        

With celebrated Writers in Residence like Nino Ricci and Miriam Toews, UTSC is also becoming well-known for its creative writing program.  Young student writers of various ethnicities and backgrounds meet at UTSC every Wednesday to write about their various experiences in the diverse community they call Scarborough.

Welcome to Mississauga

Perhaps you are a new addition to the 13,300 UTM undergraduate students, or a St. George student interested in a course or two offered west of the 416. Here is a quick guide to help you navigate the city and vibrant student life in and around Mississauga.

In Transit

If you’re scheduled for class at Sheridan’s Trafalgar Campus, or at St. George, your TCard is your ticket to the free shuttle bus service to both of these locations. St. George and Scarborough students can purchase one-way shuttle bus tickets from the Info Booth in the Student Centre and at Hart House at St. George. As a registered full-time or part-time UTM student, your Mississauga UPASS offers unlimited travel within Mississauga from September to April. Commuting outside of Mississauga? UTM’s Mississauga Transit stop also provides access to Clarkson GO Station and TTC connected Islington Station.

Square One Shopping Centre. BASTIAN/FLICKR CC
Square One Shopping Centre. BASTIAN/FLICKR CC

Around Town

When you’re not admiring UTM’s charming natural landscape and state of the art facilities, discover the many hangout spots around Mississauga — indulge in a selection of over 330 stores at Square One Shopping Centre and taste an array of flavours at nearby restaurants. Gather a group of buddies for a game at Classic Bowl 15 minutes from campus, or Playdium one bus ride away. Looking for a more mellow evening? Redeem your discounted Cineplex tickets which can be purchased at the Info Desk for a movie with friends. If you’d rather not leave UTM’s tranquility, trek through Culham Trail, which branches off The Collegeway and you’ll find yourself at the breathtaking Erindale Park — Mississauga’s largest park.


Staying Connected

Looking to fill extra time after hitting the books? During the first week of classes in September, Welcome Week invites you to explore a wide variety of UTM services, student groups, academic societies, and student clubs related to your interests and field of study. Join group fitness classes facilitated by the Recreation, Athletic, and Wellness Centre like zumba, aquafit, or indoor cycling. If you’re planning on staying in late, don’t miss out on a fun night at the Blind Duck Pub — the centre for the popular Halloween Pub, Movember Pub, and UTM’s Got Talent.

Tri-campus round-up

Whether you’re kicking off your first year of university (and its restless all-nighters) at the St. George, Mississauga, or Scarborough campus, one thing is for sure: you will need to stay adequately caffeinated and well nourished.

While I am not your mother, I am a student who’s shared in, and made it through, that first year gamut of novel experiences, much thanks to the resources offered at U of T. With this in mind, here is one senior U of T student’s guide to make it through everyday life on campus -— from restaurants, to coffee shops, to study spots and overlooked student spaces.

St. George

The St. George campus, in all its neo-Gothic glory, can be an intimidating labyrinth for newcomers. Welcoming nearly 8,000 new students a year, St. George is home to the infamous Robarts Library, as well as E.J. Pratt, Gerstein, and Graham. One of Trinity College’s best-kept secrets, Graham Library, is ideal for those students looking for a charming, quiet, and more private study environment. If it happens that you decide to leave the library before the sun goes down, head over to either Knox or University College and check out their manicured gardens.


For non-academic endeavours, get to know Hart House. The historic cultural hub is dedicated to all things recreational; it not only hosts the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, where Group of Seven paintings come to life, but also offers a $5 lunch on alternate Wednesdays, as well as a liquor-licensed Jazz Night every Friday at 9 pm at Sammy’s Student Exchange. From Victoria College’s fair trade, organic coffee retailer Caffiends, to the highly anticipated Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, the St. George campus makes for a  diverse and inclusive home.

Inside Sid Smith, UTSG Campus. Elena Iourtaeva/THE VARSITY
Inside Sid Smith, UTSG Campus. Elena Iourtaeva/THE VARSITY


Among the many offerings on the Scarborough campus, one of the best known is the Athletics and Recreation Centre, home to an Interhouse Quidditch team, and a 41-foot climbing wall. A proud host of the 2015 Pan Am Games, the campus houses a rich array of indoor athletic facilities and active running routes. 

Outside the Scarborough Campus Students' Union. MAISHA ISLAM/THE VARSITY
Outside the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union. MAISHA ISLAM/THE VARSITY

Healthy living and eating practices go hand-in-hand. Focused on sustainable consumption, various university-run coffee shops such as Beechgrove Market are fair trade and operate in support of non-profit programs like Coffee Kids. The H-Wing Market Place -— the go-to food service houses various eateries such as Spring Rolls, Lettuce Eat, Bento Sushi, and the timeless Subway. For those seeking a refined pastime, make sure to drop by the Doris McCarthy gallery. UTSC, with all its on-campus resources, is an archetypical undergraduate experience at the centre of Scarborough.

University of Toronto Scarborough library. CAROLYN LEVETT/THE VARSITY
University of Toronto Scarborough library. CAROLYN LEVETT/THE VARSITY


Word is that Tuesday is the new Friday. With this in mind, many will find themselves longing for a cup of Joe in order to keep their eyes peeled for six hours of class on Wednesday. Unless you are an early bird in need of a kick-start conversation (head to Second Cup or Starbucks for that), the Mississauga campus’ Tim Hortons self-serve kiosk in the William G. Davis Building is ideal for a quiet, people-dodging morning person.

UTM Shuttle Bus arrives at Instructional Centre. CAROLYN LEVETT/THE VARSITY
UTM Shuttle Bus arrives at Instructional Centre. CAROLYN LEVETT/THE VARSITY

If you are seeking solace away from the hustle and bustle of university life, you can find tranquility amid UTM’s natural landscape. Over the Wilson Pond Bridge, you can almost smell the serenity. Have yet to learn how to cook for yourself? You are not alone. The Blind Duck Pub serves half-price wings on Tuesdays and a daily breakfast of champions for under $6. Additionally, the new and well-equipped UTM student centre is home to many student groups and clubs on campus. Drop by to get involved, or start your own.

Hazel McCallion Library, UTM Campus. CAROLYN LEVETT/THE VARSITY
Hazel McCallion Library, UTM Campus. CAROLYN LEVETT/THE VARSITY

Last, but not least, check out ULife to stay informed on upcoming events, opportunities, and the latest tri-campus news.

The transition

Write things down

It’s very easy to get overwhelmed when you have a lot going on at once, so try to get things down on paper. To-do lists, charts, alarms, notes, whatever method you have to make some of the planning process tangible. In other words, try to turn the tasks that are stressing you out into something manageable that you can touch, refer to, and check off or shuffle around.

Join things

The real way to meet people at U of T is to  join things! Recognize that you’ve been handed a rare opportunity to just try stuff, that everyone else is also just trying stuff, and that it’s OK to be a beginner because so is everyone else. Join a student newspaper (like The Varsity, perhaps), join a religious club, join a crafting club, go to a commuter student centre (sometimes they have free food), see a play, meet someone for coffee. Try to take the first steps, and don’t be afraid to have a bit of a rough time at first.

Do your readings

This seems self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised. It’s easy to fall behind if you miss the first few weeks, so make the effort to read and annotate at least one reading per week. Even if you couldn’t get to all of them, power through and make sure you understand the main concepts. Side note: it can be helpful to print readings and go through them with a pen and highlighter rather than reading PDFs off a screen — the library printers are cheaper when you print four-on-one-page and double sided.

Develop your own tricks for studying

Everyone has their own study routine that works best for them. For example, I’m easily distracted, so I use a browser extension to block social media for half-hour intervals and 5-minute breaks. I also like to get myself tea or coffee or something to reach for besides my phone when I get bored. Colour coding is an effective strategy — sticky tabs, highlighters, and pens are your friends.

High school is over

I am 100 per cent serious. There are no popular kids, everyone is a nerd, and if anyone has time to be cliquey, that’s because they’re not doing their homework. Friendships will naturally form, so just try to be pleasant and open-minded.


Time is not an infinite resource, and while the options are endless, focus your energy on the things that matter to you the most — it’s a strategy that usually helps keep the big picture in sight.

Staying active

This past summer has been a particularly busy and exciting time for sport in the GTA with the Pan American games setting up camp. This means brand new, world-class facilities have recently been built at UTSC and UTSG and have been tried and tested by some of the best athletes in the world. Whether you’re new to the world of sport and athletics, or a well-seasoned gym-goer, U of T is like a buffet — you can try a bit of everything before you decide on your favourite activity. So lace up, grab a water bottle, and get out there. 


For those living in residence, you’ll come to realise that — as convenient as residence food is there aren’t always healthy options available. Eating a balanced diet often falls to the wayside in university, but getting enough of the right food to make it through not only class, but a post-class workout doesn’t need to be rocket science.

Making sure that you’re getting enough protein and carbohydrates is important to monitor. You can check these levels via an appointment at Health Services or with the Athletic Centre. Free dietician counselling is also offered to students at UTM, which can help you to plan nutritious meals. Residence dining halls usually post their menus online a few days in advance, so plan your meals accordingly. 



The 2014–2015 school year saw several substantial changes to the facilities on U of T’s three campuses. The turf-war over back campus came to a climactic close as astro-turf was finally installed, allowing for more teams to practice even during the muddy spring months. The Goldring Center for High Performance Sport also had its official grand opening, and is now home to new weightlifting facilities, basketball and volleyball courts, and a multitude of drop-in and registered fitness programs for students to partake. 

The most impressive facility, however, has to be the Toronto Pan Am Sports Center located at UTSC, which boasts an Olympic size swimming pool, world-class diving platforms, and an indoor running track. Now that the games are over, students and members will have free reign over the facilities — go wild, U of T. Not to be outdone, UTM has a host of its own athletic centres with unique programs and classes for Mississauga students. UTM’s high performance center is stocked with enough cardio equipment to go around — no more waiting in line for a treadmill.


As an undergraduate, you’re probably paying ancillary fees — meaning memberships to different athletic facilities are already included in your tuition. U of T won’t let you drop these fees, you might as well make use of your golden ticket — aka your TCard — and try out as many different activities, at as many different facilities, as you can.

The Goldring Center offers group classes for the popular phone app Nike Training Club, UTSC’s Pan Am Sports Center has a 41-foot climbing wall, which can be rented for groups or can be tried out in a drop-in class, and UTM has multiple outdoor beach volleyball courts for those channelling their inner Misty May Treanor.

Play and cheer


If you are looking for a way to get involved in campus athletics, but drop-in classes aren’t intense enough, and varsity athletics is too much of a commitment, look no further than the intramural options U of T has to offer. Intramurals are organized on each of the three U of T campuses — some colleges even have their own teams — and are open to students of all ages, abilities, and faculties.

The benefit of intramural sports is that they require less commitment than being a member of a varsity team, and the emphasis is on fun as much as competition. Intramurals can also be a perfect fit for the student looking to try non-traditional team sports — like ultimate frisbee and dragon boat. For UTM students, campus recreation services offers intramural co-ed ultimate Frisbee, cricket, and ball hockey. UTSC students won the intramural jackpot when the Pan Am Sports Center was built on their campus — Scarborough students not only have access to the elite-level facility but the intramurals and programs which can now be housed within, including innertube water polo, triathlon training, and for muggles in denial: Quidditch.



Although varsity coaches stress the importance of schoolwork, your varsity team will take a very close second place. The student-athletes who make up the 46 teams we have at our university are as close to superhuman as you can get — juggling hours of practice, therapy, workouts, and game-recaps every week is exhausting enough, even without the hours required for class, exams, assignments, and, occasionally, sleeping.

If you think you’ve got the skills and dedication that it takes to become a member of one of Canada’s oldest and most prestigious university athletics programs, many varsity teams hold open-tryouts for walk on students during pre-season. UTM students have a unique opportunity to join the UTM Eagles — the university’s sports team, which competes in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association. Although the team doesn’t offer as many sports as the Varsity Blues, the Eagles are worth a try if intramurals can’t quite quench your competitive drive.


David L. MacIntosh Sports Medicine Clinic: Physiotherapy, athletic therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and Chiropractic treatments.

Health Services (UTSG), Health and Counselling Center (UTM), Health and Wellness Center (UTSC): Nutritional services, general health inquiries, vaccines, and health and wellness information.

The Sports Clinic at UTM: Homeopathy, sports nutrition, arthritis, and sports medicine. All services are made by appointment.

September checklist

✓ Survive frosh (if you choose to partake)

✓ Exchange contact info with new people — at least one residence dweller, and one commuter

✓ Eventually locate all of your classes

✓ On a nice day, find a beautiful spot on your campus to relax

✓ Try some off-campus cuisine that you’ve never had before

✓ Patronize a school dining hall

✓ Make a contribution both in class and in tutorial

✓ Read the news

✓ Specifically, read The Varsity

✓ Join a club/association/team/group on campus

✓ Take public transit

✓ Audit a friend’s class

✓ Learn ten new words, and use them in conversation

✓ Go use athletic facilities, or participate in a drop-in class that is new to you

✓ Visit one of the other two campuses

✓ Discover a neighbourhood in Mississauga, Toronto, and Scarborough

✓ Attend a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (say “ARR!” when the anti-pirating message comes on screen)

✓ Go to a U of T sporting event, having researched the name of our mascot beforehand

✓ Have at least one debate with a fellow student

✓ Become accustomed to squirrels jumping out of garbage cans (and other concealed areas)

✓ Try something new, and then call an out-of-town friend or relative to tell them about it

✓ Write your own checklist of goals, and get cracking