Ryerson Stands with #BlackLivesMatterTO

blmto

http://theeyeopener.com/2016/04/ryerson-students-march-with-blm-to/

Garnering a lot of media attention lately has been Toronto’s very own Black Lives Matter movement. A very pertinent social justice issue of our time, the Black Lives Matter movement holds its roots in our neighbouring country, the United States, where the current racial climate is centred on the persecution of the members of the black community. There have been numerous injustices involving the various police officers in different states of America, wrongly persecuting black individuals, namely, young black men. Unfortunately, for the majority, the result has been death for these wrongly persecuted individuals. This has led to a revolution in the black community; the Black Lives Matter activists used their voices to speak out on such injustices and bring honor to the fallen people of their community. They have protested various streets in the United States, asking government officials and police department officials to end the racial profiling and racial discrimination. The powerful voices of the Black Lives Matter movement in the States has been heard all around the world – including our very own neighbourhood, Toronto.

The Black Lives Matter Toronto – Coalition was is made up of Black Torontonians working in solidarity with various communities in our local streets of Toronto to work towards a common goal: social justice. This group has acknowledged the deep racial discrimination and stigmatization that black communities in the States have been going through, and have noticed similar patterns of behaviour in our very own neighbourhood. Currently, the Black Lives Matter Toronto activists have been fighting for justice for the death of Andrew Loku.

Andrew Loku was a 45 year old man, living in an apartment building on Eglinton Ave. W and Caledonia Ave. On the evening of July 4, 2015, Andrew was disturbed in his sleep by a significantly loud noise from his upstairs neighbours. He asked them continuously to minimize the noise, so that he can be able to sleep, but the noise persisted. Overwhelmed by the loud noise, and being unable to sleep, Loku grabbed a hammer and began banging it against the apartment hallway doors and walls. The police were called to address this particular noise. Within seconds of the police officer’s arrivals, a police officer shot Andrew Loku twice, killing him in the hallway of his apartment building.

Andrew Loku was regarded by all those who knew him as a kind and friendly man. He was a husband and a father to five children, and lived alone in Toronto, while working to bring his family to Canada from where they currently live in South Sudan. He graduated from George Brown College in the construction program, and worked various jobs to make ends meet for himself and for his family back in South Sudan.

The Black Lives Matter Toronto Coalition has challenged the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to release the name of the officer who shot Andrew Loku, having not been in immediate danger or threat himself. The identity of the officer has remained un-released while the SIU investigates logistics of the situation – such as whether or not officers were notified that the building in which they were responding to, the building that Andrew Loku resided in, was leased by the Canadian Mental Health Association. This apartment complex offered affordable housing services for people suffering with a mental illness. The Black Lives Matter Toronto Coalition have worked tirelessly in protest, rain or shine – snow or sun, to plead to government officials, such as Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, to address this serious injustice. As such, the officer who fatally shot Andrew Loku has not yet been charged for this unjust act nearly a year after his untimely death.

I have had the privilege of visiting the hub of the protests on 40 College Street, where I met protestors from BLM-TO. It was an environment unlike any other. While one would imagine a protest to have quite a tense, aggressive, and hostile energy, the BLM-TO exuded nothing but love and hospitality to all those who observed and/or joined the protest. There was food, water, warm blankets, gloves, and hats being passed around to the protestors – not just from amongst one another, but from the on-lookers as well. There were shouts of social justice, peace, and equality. There were cries and pleads of putting an end to racial profiling and discrimination, and a plea to the SIU and the Toronto Police Department to be accountable for their actions. There was music, dancing, motivating speeches, laughter, and deep discussions to honor the valuable black lives lost to racial injustices.

It was a pleasant surprise to see Ryerson students in solidarity with BLM-TO on campus the other day. The march was organized by numerous student groups on campus, in collaboration with BLM-TO, to protest social justice in and around the Ryerson community. With Ryerson being at the very heart of Toronto, it seemed only natural that Ryerson students stand in solidarity with our community. Among the student groups during this march for social justice included the Ryerson East Africans’ Students Association (REASA); Ryerson Student Union (RSU); and the United Black Students at Ryerson (UBSR). During the march, the students in protest used their voices to urge other fellow students to show their support by donating supplies, food, water, warm clothing, etc to the BLM-TO Coalition, to encourage the progression of the protest. Students on campus were eager and receptive to what Ryerson students and BLM-TO had to say, and showed their solidarity with the movement. It was a refreshing and culturally enriching experience to have witnessed – and frankly, it made me even more proud to be a Ram and a Torontonian.

If you would like to donate and show your support and solidarity, BLM-TO can be found here:

Black Lives Matter Toronto Coalition Facebook

Black Lives Matter Toronto Coalition Twitter

blacklivesmatterTO@gmail.com

40 College Street, Toronto, ON

Resources:

http://news.nationalpost.com/toronto/the-life-and-bloody-death-of-andrew-loku

http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2015/07/07/andrew-lokus-death-by-a-police-bullet-came-quickly-witness-says.html

3 New Year’s Resolutions for Ryerson Students

It’s that exciting time of the year… the official last day of 2015! Tomorrow, not only do we welcome a new day, but a new year – the first day of 2016! 2015 has been such a big year for so many of us, and with the near year staring us straight square in the face, we look forward to making 2016 even better than 2015.

During this time of the year is when the infamous “New Year’s Resolutions” begin to be concocted. These New Year’s Resolutions are meant to outline our goals for the upcoming year, with the intent to stick by them no matter what. These resolutions are generally goals towards self-improvement. Some popular ones are include:

“Get healthier.”
“Save more money.”
“Stop procrastinating.”
“Cut down on coffee.”
“Sleep earlier.”

While the above-mentioned resolutions are wonderful resolutions, they are typically difficult to maintain unless you have discipline made of steel. Many of us are mere humans who make mistakes here and there that veer us off-track from our resolutions, and we find ourselves just neglecting and forgetting them altogether. In my opinion, New Year’s Resolutions should be two things: Specific and Realistic. They should be specific enough to fit your personal goals and aspirations, and it helps to really narrow your focus on what you can do to really achieve these goals. They should be realistic enough so that you’re not asking too much of yourself and you won’t be overly-stressed out or feel overly-pressured if unable to achieve them.

Therefore, with these criteria in mind, I have created for you a list of New Year’s Resolutions that hopefully resonate with you more and you are able to hopefully stick to in 2016:

3 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR RYERSON STUDENTS

1. DO NOT BE SO TRUSTING OF THE TTC OR GO TRANSIT
Think you can wake up at 7:00am because it only takes you 15 minutes to get ready, takes you 10 minutes to get to the station, and the train/subway/bus comes at exactly 7:30am every morning? Think again. If you’re a first year student who is still learning the ropes when it comes to commuting, and you currently have this mentality, you’re in for a rude awakening. The TTC or GO TRANSIT, although extremely helpful and necessary, have a knack for being quite unreliable when it comes to being on time. Don’t assume that you will have a smooth commute, free of delays or late arrivals each day. Do yourself a favour and wake up earlier in order to arrive at your station earlier so you don’t miss that 8am exam worth 40% of your grade. It may suck but you know what else sucks? Missing an 8am exam worth 40% of your grade because your subway was experiencing delays.

2. TRY TO AVOID THE TEMPTATION OF THE EATON CENTRE ASKING YOU TO BLOW YOUR MONEY THERE RATHER THAN GO TO CLASS
Going to school in Downtown Toronto is all kinds of fantastic – and also forces you to face all kinds of temptation. That being said, Ryerson University’s prime location gives you access to absolutely everything, including one of Canada’s largest and most popular malls, The Eaton Centre. There’s nothing more tempting than it finally being pay day, but you’ve got a class that day, and walking past Eaton Centre with “SALE” signs on the window. This kind of excitement is enough to get your blood pumping. But if you knew what was good for you, you’d repeat this mantra: “You don’t need another Roots sweater. You do need to pass this class. You don’t need another Roots sweater. You do need to pass this class. You don’t need another Roots sweater. You do need to pass this class.

3. GET OFF YOUR PHONE WHEN YOU’RE WALKING DOWN YONGE ST, YONGE & DUNDAS SQ – OR ANY STREET FOR THAT MATTER
It’s 2016 and communication and human interaction is at it’s highest. Unfortunately, the form of communication that 99.9% of the population resorts to nowadays any form that our cellphones allow us – SMS, iMessage, WhatsApp, etc. It’s hard not to have our phones in our hands, heads down, eyes on the screen, and responding to everyone and everything 24/7. When you’re a Ryerson student, this is especially difficult when you’re trying to get to class and having to weave through the hundreds and thousands of people in Downtown Toronto each day. You’re risk for running into things is already increased by going to school in Canada’s major city alone – you’re only increasing your own risk by texting while walking. Do yourself and others around you a favour – wait until you get to the SLC to reply to that text or check that email. Keep your head up when you’re crossing the Yonge & Dundas Sq intersection. Let’s start a new campaign this 2016: Ryerson Students Against Text-Walking. Let’s make it happen, people.

With that being said, I’m sure you can think of tons more. I sincerely hope you’ll take these three into consideration when coming up with your own New Year’s resolutions. Let us know how you get on throughout the year. If you stick to them and achieve your resolutions – fantastic! You’re on the road to success. If you slip up a little bit and veer off track – it’s never too late to get back on track! You, too, are on the road to success.

Most of all, I hope you have a wonderful 2016 filled with health, happiness, success, and love. Stay safe this New Year’s Eve and enjoy yourselves!

Happy New Year and let’s make 2016 a great one!

Good bye, Fall 2015 Semester – Hello, Relaxation!

Today is the big day – the final day of exams and the official last day of the Fall 2015 semester! Congratulations to all students – and staff – who have made it this far and put in their hard work and effort throughout the semester. Hopefully all of the stress was worth it and you’re able to rest easy knowing you gave this semester your best shot. With all of the struggles we all went through this semester, I’d say that we’re more than ready for a well-deserved break. Lucky for us, this day marks the first day of this well-deserved break and we can finally put the stresses of this past semester behind us. This Holiday season is a time of rest and relaxation for a lot of students – and maybe even a little bit of fun! If you’re in the Toronto area this term break, here are a few things you and some family and friends can do to make your Holiday break a little bit more festive!

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TORONTO CHRISTMAS MARKET

Where: The Distillery Historic District; Mill Street

When: Tuesdays – Sundays; November 20th, 2015 –December 20th, 2015

What: Christmas street festival and market with Christmas related entertainment, shopping and food vendors, activities, etc.

Why: With activities from music, dance, a Caroling challenge, meeting Santa, special Christmas cocktails and food, there’s sure to be something for someone who loves Christmas or just simply enjoys having a good time! Also, the Christmas Market is free of Admission from Tuesdays to Fridays! Otherwise, admission is only $5 (including tax!) on Saturdays and Sundays.

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SKATING AT NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE, HARBOURFRONT RINK, AND EVEN RYERSON’S OWN LAKE DEVO!

Where:
Nathan Phillips Square = 100 Queen St W; Near the historic Old City Hall!
Harbourfront Centre = 235 Queens Quay W; near the beautiful Lake Ontario with a gorgeous view of the Lake and the city skyline!
Ryerson “Lake Devo” = 350 Victoria St; near the heart of the city – Yonge & Dundas Square!

When: All open 7 days a week, 10am – 10pm! (With the exception of Ryerson’s Lake Devo, which is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day!)

What: The city’s best outdoor skating spots in the most iconic parts of the city!

Why: Outdoor skating has been a typical Christmas tradition and there’s nothing better than doing it in the most iconic parts of Toronto!

newinteriorAir-Canada-Centre-goes-Carbon-Neutral

RAPTORS OR LEAFS GAME AT AIR CANADA CENTRE

Where: 40 Bay St

When: Check game schedules for Raptors (http://www.nba.com/raptors/schedule) and Leafs (http://mapleleafs.nhl.com/club/schedule.htm)

What: Toronto’s two beloved home teams in Canada’s most loved sports face off other competitors in exciting court and ice action! Catch these widely-loved sports by Canadians across the country with family and/or friends!

Why: Hockey and basketball are Canadian-invented sports – with the Raptors and Leafs having the best fans in the world, seeing these games live is sure to not only add excitement to your Holiday season, but ignite your Canadian spirit as well!

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THE CHRISTMAS WINDOW DISPLAYS AT HUDSON’S THE BAY

Where: 401 Bay St

When: Monday – Saturday, 9:00am to 9:30pm; Sundays, 10:00am to 7:00pm

What: Each year, The Hudson’s Bay in downtown Toronto (connected to CF Eaton Centre) arranges its window displays during the Holiday season to display magnificent scenes that depict a Christmas-related theme!

Why: These beautiful window displays make for stunning pictures and can even spark some Christmas decoration inspiration! These inspirational and elaborate displays make for Instagram-worthy posts!

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HOLIDAY SHOPPING (and for us students, Retail Therapy) AT CF EATON CENTRE

Where: 220 Yonge St

When: Monday – Saturday, 9:00am to 9:30pm; Sundays, 10:00am to 7:00pm

What: CF Toronto Eaton Centre is Toronto’s largest shopping centre that is located at the heart of the city!

Why: The Holiday season calls for Holiday shopping and the best place to get your entire Christmas list checked off is at Toronto’s most popular shopping centre! It’s three floors of great stores, great deals, and even better finds!

If you spend a little time in Toronto this Holiday break, feel free to go through this list and see how many you can go through. Holiday season in Toronto is sure to be a fun, festive, and lively one!

I wish all Ryerson staff and students a very Happy Holiday! Rest, relax, and enjoy yourselves – we all certainly deserve it!

4 Tips To Tackle Stress This Exam Season

Happy end of the term classes to all Ryerson students! Today marks the final day of classes for all students across campus, which unfortunately also marks the beginning of finals week for this semester. Stress levels are high and the campus is filled with scrambling student, all attempting to gather all necessary notes for all of their exams. Professors are finalizing exams and answering a million emails a minute, answering questions from stressed and nervous students. It is that time of the year when everyone is eager to delve into the holiday festivities, but also trying to find the best way to cope with and manage all the stress that comes with finals week and being a university student in general. It’s a happy but tough time of the year. Lucky for you, I have some tips that can maybe help you get through the stress, have you motivated for your exams, and ready for the holiday season!

TIP #1: COFFEE IN MODERATION

We all need our daily fix of Tim Hortons or Starbucks and when you’re a university student, it’s almost necessary. Coffee contains the magic C (CAFFEINE) that helps keep us alert for the day and focused for the lectures/labs/tutorials ahead. It’s especially helpful after an all-nighter spent studying, working on a project, or doing a paper (or perhaps simply getting lost in the world of Netflix…). Coffee is great – in moderation. Students tend to turn this “daily fix” during exam season to a “multiple times a day fix.” This can get dangerous and really impact your health negatively – it’ll send your heart rate through the roof, your blood pressure can be through the roof, your diet will be compromised – a lot can go wrong. Don’t over-do it with the coffee. It’s not something that you need to depend on to do well on your exams – your hard work and effort determines that for you. Limit yourself whenever possible and find other ways to stay away (i.e a cold shower in the morning, exercise, breakfast, etc).

Coffee1

TIP #2: FIND A DESIGNATED STUDY SPOT

Finding a place to study and actually be productive is difficult. This is especially difficult in the middle of the busiest city in Canada – Toronto – where Ryerson is so centrally located. Luckily, we have the Student Learning Centre (SLC) to cater to our Study Spot Needs. First, it’s important that your study spot include a desk or a table of some sort to support whatever your study materials are. Avoid anything too small – the more space, the more room to support laptop, textbooks, notebooks, phone, etc. Second, try to find a bright space, perhaps anything with a big window or light coloured walls. Studying in a bright space with lots of light does a lot for your visual senses and makes it easier for you to sit somewhere for a prolonged period of time, staring at a bunch of words and/or numbers. It definitely lessens the load. Lastly, make sure your study spot is not confining. This means to make sure that the spot you choose allows you to get up once in awhile and move around. Not only does this gives you a break from sitting in a chair in front of your computer for hours, it also prevents any sores or muscle aches from happening, which comes with sitting still for hours. If you’re looking for the perfect study spot on campus, I definitely suggest the SLC (specifically floor 5! Not too eerie and quiet, but also quiet enough to give you some peace).

Rendering

TIP #3: DON’T FORGET YOUR DIET

Stress-eating can manifest in two ways: over-eating or under-eating. Some people can binge on junk food and resort to comfort food during such a stressful time. Some people can be so pre-occupied and busy that they may forget to eat and incorporate proper nutrition into their diet. It is important to find some sort of balance in your diet during exam season. Take comfort in moderation – have a donut here and there, get a Frappucino instead of your regular cup of coffee, get some ice cream. Also, it’s not the end of the world if you miss breakfast or have a late dinner. It is expected that your diet will not be at its healthiest during exam season, but it is important to keep in mind that proper nutrition is the best way to keep the mind and body focused and ready to face the day. An improper diet can actually lead to increased levels of fatigue and stress – which is something none of us need any more of during finals weeks. What we do need is increased brain power, which is something fruits and vegetables offer ample amounts of.

brain-healthy-food

TIP #4: SLEEP – TRY IT

Sleep deprivation – we all have it. Many students have grown accustomed to functioning on a lack of sleep but this tends to get worse during exam season, when we stay up and spend the night cramming and/or getting last minute things done. As a result, the lack of sleep can lead to even more fatigue, an increased dependence on caffeine, and even worse – the chance of sleeping in and maybe even sleeping through an exam. Yikes! The best way to avoid this is simple, but hard at the same time – get as much sleep as you can. Whether that means sleeping earlier and waking up earlier or taking short naps throughout the day, do what you need to do to get some rest and relax your brain. An overworked brain will only lead to more stress and sleep revives the mind, making it easier to study and tackle exams. Sleep is important and most importantly, it’s so relaxing!

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I wish all fellow students at Ryerson and all other schools all the best of luck during this semester’s finals week! Study hard, study well, and do your best! Surround yourself with positive vibes and do what you need to do to stay focused and motivated. We are so close to a well-deserved holiday break so we’re almost there! Hang in there. I’m rooting for you!

youll-be-fine

Cat-Calling in Toronto

It’s interesting… After reading a link someone had shared on facebook regarding sexual harassment towards women on the street (i.e. mainly cat-calling and lewd verbal comments), I decided to see how women of Toronto felt about the issue. A reddit feed had circulated approximately three months ago with the following title: “Women of r/Toronto, how bad is sexual harassment in public places in this city?” With over 200 comments by women from various areas of the city, a common theme overall was shared; Many women of Toronto have experienced sexual harassment in public which results in feelings of discomfort and/or anger.images-1

It is apparent that many women, especially at night, cannot walk the street alone without having to constantly check their surroundings. Not only this, but also many women refrain from wearing particular clothing that may come across as “provocative” or “sexy” due to past experiences with cat calling. Women have commented that many of the men that approach them are under the influence, and I’m sure we can all agree that this is no excuse. Women should be able to walk the streets in a shorter dress, a plunging neckline or sweatpants for that matter without having to fear potential male commentary or even worse, their own safety.

So why? Why do men (not all men of course, I’m generalizing here) continue to call out “Hey sexy!”, “Nice ass”, “I want some of that” or worse? I can honestly say I don’t know the answer to the question. It still baffles me why men do this, as it certainly doesn’t appear to work. Cat calling does not lead to dates, or sexual encounters. Cat calling leads to situations where women are afraid to wear apparel that may arouse too much attention and situations where women are afraid to walk alone in public.

After reading these posts and thinking about why men cat-call, I decided to ask some of my male friends about female cat-calling. I asked them the following questions:

  1. Have you ever cat-called a female on the street/in public?
  2. Would you ever cat-call a female on the street/in public?
  3. What are your feelings towards cat-calling females on the street/in public?
  4. Why do you think men cat-call females in the street/in public?

The responses were very similar. The overall shared belief was that no, they hadn’t engaged in cat-calling and no they would never engage in cat-calling, however, many know individuals who have. When asked about their feelings towards it, the men I spoke to touched on ideas suggesting that the men that do engage in this behaviour “have no idea how to talk to women civilly” and they questioned why any woman would enjoy it. When asked about why men do it, themes of dominance arose, as it is the males’ way of suggesting who is in charge and where the power lies. It was also suggest that for some men, it is a way to get a rise out of women and one male who had engaged in cat calling stated that it was “usually as a joke”. Having considered the male perspective (keep in the sample of males I questioned was a very small sample and thus these responses are simply to be viewed as opinions and not as factual data) in addition to my own experiences with cat-calling, I would agree that there is a level of dominance that is involved and I would take this a bit further and suggest that it may also involve a level of peer pressure. Many men who cat-call are in the presence of a group of males and thus their own feelings of inclusion and acceptance may be a factor in why this occurs.

At the end of the day I think most of us can agree that women don’t enjoy cat calling. It makes us feel belittled, womanized and sometimes even disgusted and ashamed. When we wear clothing that flatters our figure, we do it because we want to and because we can, not because we want to be called at from across the street. In most cases, cat calling DOES NOT make us feel sexy. It DOES NOT make us want to give you our number. So please, take your thumb off the horn, roll up that window and refrain from cat calling.

Visit original reddit post at: http://www.reddit.com/r/toronto/comments/1y32qx/women_of_rtoronto_how_bad_is_sexual_harassment_in/

Image from: http://meninsider.com/2012/09/the-hipster-cat-calling/

Fun things Toronto has to Offer [Part II]

As mentioned in Part I, Toronto has a lot to offer especially during the beautiful and warm summer months. You can experience the speed and altitude of Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland, take a ride on the wild side by doing the Edge Walk of the CN Tower, experience the shark tunnel at the Ripley’s Aquarium or enjoy a foot-long hot dog at a Blue Jay’s baseball game. With that said, what else is there to do and see in Toronto? Scroll down and find out!

The Docks Driving Range and Drive-In Movie Theatre

A perfect weekend activity is to head down to Cherry Street and check out Toronto’s driving range or drive-in movie theatre located at The Docks. Enjoy hitting some balls off the two deck teeing stations or even take a lesson from their C.P.G.A. certified instructors. Not too fond of golf but still want to hit some balls? Pick up a putter and enjoy their mini putt facility which was designed by golf enthusiasts and is not your average animated mini putt course for only $9 on weekends. In addition to their golf facilities, the docks also houses Toronto’s only drive-in theatre where you can park your car and watch a double feature (one new release and one current release) for only $15.

http://thedocks.com/WELCOME

Christie Pits Park

Christie Pits is a great downtown public park located across from Christie station on Bloor. This park contains three baseball diamonds, basketball and volleyball courts, a community garden and the Alex Duff Memorial Pool. Once Toronto hits the temperatures it did last year (as high as 35 degrees!), you’ll be craving a refreshing dip in this pool. The pool features a shallow area for children, a deep pool for diving, a warm conservation pool and a waterslide. Don’t forget to check out this hot spot this summer!

http://www1.toronto.ca/parks/prd/facilities/complex/196/

High Park

High Park is definitely a sight to see in Toronto. Enjoy a stroll down one of their many walking trails or explore the many gardens hidden within the park. Grab your bike and take a tour by Grenadier Pond or check out the mini zoo that contain different animals such as llamas, goats and peacocks. Buy a ticket on the trackless train to see the depths of this authentic park and see the beautiful sights of the Japanese Cherry Blossoms.

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http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=c6d8dada600f0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextfmt=default

Toronto Zoo

In addition to the Ripley’s Aquarium, Toronto also offers the sights of many land roaming species at the Toronto Zoo. The most recent feature of this zoo is the Giant Pandas. You can also check out the Tundra Trek, Gorilla rainforest or Great Barrier Reef exhibits. Enjoy the sights of the seven zoographic regions of Indo-Malaya, Africa, America, Australasia, Eurasia, Canadian Domain and Tundra Trek.

http://www.torontozoo.com/ExploreTheZoo/

St. Lawrence Market

Head East to St. Lawrence Market on Front Street and check out the various market vendors. Enjoy versatile food options from artisan cheeses, to fish, to fresh meat to baked goods. Not only is there a wide variety of produce to choose from, downstairs you can also find vintage jewellery, hand made accessories and an assortment of fresh loose leaf teas. Keep in mind St. Lawrence Market is closed on Sundays however, across the street lies the ageless Antique Market where you can go back in time to experience house hold items, paintings, furniture and other furnishings from the 18-1900’s.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/canada/toronto/sights/markets-bazaars/st-lawrence-market

Toronto Islands

Last but not least is the beautiful Toronto Islands. Take a ferry over to the Toronto islands to enjoy an afternoon biking through the islands, wading in the lake or relaxing on the sand. This is the perfect spot for a low key and relaxing weekend away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. With that said, the islands can also get quite busy and in this case, you can always check out the Western beaches to avoid large crowds. This is the perfect spot for a picnic in the park or on the beach! So grab your friends and head to the Island for some summer fun in the sun!

http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=34e9dada600f0410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

Images from:

http://www.blogto.com/city/2010/04/high_park_cherry_blossoms_are_in_full_bloom/

Fun things Toronto has to Offer [Part I]

As an international student, a student raised outside of the city or even a student who lives in Toronto, it’s always good to know your options when it comes to summer fun. Toronto is a gorgeous city in the summer when the sun is shining and people are out and about going on walks, bike rides and finding the best possible way to enjoy the nice weather. With that said, below I have listed a few options of how to get the most out of a summer in Toronto.

 Canada’s Wonderland

Just outside of Toronto in King City lies the infamous theme park, Canada’s Wonderland which holds over 200 attractions and 69 rides! This theme park contains some of the worlds largest, steepest and fastest roller coasters like Behemoth and Leviathan to name a few. With more tame rides like the merry go round, the log ride or the spinning barrels, this theme park is great for even those afraid of heights! With the huge Splash Works water park and endless rides, this is a great way to spend the afternoon. Not a fan of lines? You can also purchase a fast pass which will allow you the bypass the lines. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford a fast pass, go during the week or in the evening to avoid lines!

CN Tower and Edge walk

You can’t visit Toronto without having experienced the CN Tower, which at one point not too long ago was the worlds tallest free standing structure. Take a walk up the endless staircase or ride the glass elevators to the top where you can experience the glass floor. Want an even bigger thrill? Check out the CN Tower’s Edge Walk which takes place on the outer rim of the 360 Restaurant at the top of the tower 1,168 feet above the ground! You’ll walk the outer edge of this free standing building while harnessed in and your ticket will include pictures and video feed of your walk!

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Ripley’s Aquarium

Everyone is talking about Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada located next to the CN Tower. This aquarium features a large touch tank where you an interact with various sea life, Ray Bay where you can check out the smiling sting rays and Planet Jellies where you can observe the beauty of the jelly fish. Explore the moving tunnel where sharks, sea horses and other creatures of the deep roam free overhead. This aquarium is the first of it’s kind in Canada, so plan a trip, bring your buddies and your camera and experience what the deep blue sea is really like.

Toronto Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre

Another great way to spend an afternoon or evening is to grab a foot long and a beer while enjoying the sights and sounds of the Toronto Blue Jays. Even if you’re not a fan of baseball, it’s all about the baseball atmosphere. Grab a nosebleed seat for under $15, join in in the 7th inning stretch and sing along to the traditional “Take me out to the Ballgame”. With home games happening frequently throughout the summer on weekday evenings and weekend afternoons, you’re bound to find the perfect day to head to the formally known Sky Dome for a day of baseball fun.

Check in next week for Part II!

Image from:

http://www.edgewalkcntower.ca/

Sources:

https://www.canadaswonderland.com/things-to-do

http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/

http://www.edgewalkcntower.ca/more.html

Check out some of the Top Patios in Toronto!

Unfortunately, Toronto’s spring weather seems to be taking an extra long vacation this year.  We are still waiting for the beautiful and warm spring/summer weather we experienced last year. While we wait, why not start looking into the best patios in Toronto to spend your beautiful weekend afternoons.

img_6058The Watermark Irish Pub (which I’ve just happened to work at) is located on the gorgeous Harbourfront (Queens Quay West). You will get to enjoy the beautiful view of Lake Ontario as you watch sailboats coast by and small cruise ships dock. You get to enjoy some delicious pub food like nachos or their lobster club sandwich, while sipping a drink of your choice. Another option is to join The Watermark crew for a tasty weekend brunch for as little as 10$. Just make sure to get there at a reasonable time as the patio is usually full and you can be waiting a while to get a seat outside; Well worth the wait!

Java house may not have the best reputation for outstanding food, however you can’t go wrong with their cheap drink prices. Their side patio is great for a casual night out on a budget and is conveniently located at Queen and Augusta. Enjoy the casual atmosphere with some pre or post dinner drinks or even a quaint Sunday brunch while absorbing the summer sun.

Across the street is the infamous bar known for their 3$ tequila shots; Tortilla Flats. Don’t let the tacky interior décor fool you for beyond the back doors lies a quaint and cosy patio with wood tables, chairs and benches. Enjoy an evening sipping a cactus cola and enjoying some Tex Mex under the twinkling white lights. Nothing says a great night like tequila shots and jalapeno poppers!

Another great Queen Street patio is The Black Bull located at the corner of Soho. This small bar offers a large patio space with bike storage! It’s rare to walk by this bar and not see the entire patio full, but it is worth the wait. With a great atmosphere and a pool table inside for when the rays get too hot, what’s not to like?

Moving a bit south is a great post work bar called Bar Wellington. With their vast list of draught beer and a great selection of menu items, you will get a chance to unwind after a long day on this cozy side patio. This old Victorian house bar is located at Portland and Wellington, right on the edges of the financial district. Give your friends a call a pop over to the “Welly”, you won’t regret you did!

Moving into a slightly different direction with a more posh and sophisticated atmosphere is Oasis rooftop patio. Located on top of Wayne Gretzky’s on Blue Jays Way, enjoy the romantic and chic rooftop patio while lounging in their gorgeous patio lounge chairs and even beds! Listen to the rolling sounds of the nearby waterfalls while sipping some sangria; the perfect way to end a night after a dinner date downtown.

Whether you are in for some casual cheap drinks or want to enjoy the high-end feel of a suave rooftop patio, your choices in Toronto are endless! So grab a friend and check it out!

Sources:

http://www.dine.to/watermarkirish

http://www.blogto.com/toronto/the_best_patios_in_toronto/

http://www.torontolife.com/daily-dish/restaurants-dish/2010/06/07/torontos-best-patios/11/

Image from:

http://www.torontolife.com/daily-dish/restaurants-dish/2010/06/07/torontos-best-patios/11/

Great Deals for Students through Discount Sites

For those of you that are unaware of the amazing discount sites that are accessible with the click of a mouse, continue reading! Having discovered Groupon and Living Social (among other similar sites) I have had the opportunity to purchase gifts such as photo books, pamper myself with discounted massages, attend great broadway shows such as The Wizard of OZ and go for a lovely Italian meal. With these sites so readily accessible, you can get coupons on just about anything under the sun, which is what most (if not all) students need! Students are so busy with school and working through school that many cannot afford to splurge on oneself. I was a student not too long ago and I remember how difficult it was to afford the simple things such as dinner out with my girlfriends, gifts for mother’s day or father’s day (which is coming up mind you!) and just a night of fun. With sites like Groupon and Living Social (wish I wish I had known about when I was a student), spending less money is a lot easier and I am left feeling guilt free!

With these coupon sites, you can plan getaways for a weekend or week, purchase aesthetic packages such as manicures, massages and wax or facial treatments, plan tours in your own city or a nearby city, engage in various classes such as cooking classes, yoga classes or dance classes… the list goes on! The beauty of these sites is that once you’ve created an account, the GPS linked to the site will identify your current location and can find deals close to where you are at that moment whether it is at work, school, at home etc. or you can put in a particular address. Also, if you have something in mind you are looking for, let’s say a discounted hotel stay in Niagara Falls, you can use the “search” box to type in “Niagara Falls Hotel” and a list of what is available will come up. Who knew it could be so easy to save money! Cell phone Apps are also available for most if not all of these sites which makes life even easier! After purchasing your discount, you can either print the bar code provided or present your stored discount on your phone when you choose to use your coupon.

Here is a list of discount sites to browse getaway deals, food and drink deals, beauty and spa deals, local service deals and health and fitness deals:

http://www.groupon.com/local/toronto

https://www.livingsocial.com/

http://yipit.com/

http://www.teambuy.ca/toronto/all-buys

 

Image from: http://www.canadiandailydeals.com/2013/03/groupon-toronto-cruise-lines-save-59.html

 

Fun Happenings at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Toronto-convention-center

Toronto Vintage Clothing Show Sunday March 23, 2014

Want something fun to do on a Sunday afternoon? Check out the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show at the MTCC for some fashion finds! This show is great for men and women looking for vintage clothing and accessories that go beyond that of the traditional Queen Street or Kensington vintage shopping. Vendors from all over Canada will be presenting their authentic and chic apparel in every price range. Love name brands?  You got it! Love flapper dresses from the 20s? This is just for you! Spend a day travelling back in time and be a witness to the fashion modeled in the 20s, 30s, 40s and right up until the 90s for only $10.00.

Below you will find a $2.00 discount coupon to the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show.

http://www.torontovintageclothingshow.ca/pages/6821–2-00-off-discount-coupon

http://www.torontovintageclothingshow.ca/

 

The Yoga ConferenceFriday March 28th-Sunday March 30th 2014

For a minimal 15$, you can spend all three days of this conference gaining more knowledge on yoga practice, stress relief, deep breathing and all things yoga. There will be over 250 exhibitors and 80 master yoga teachers present within the three-day conference. There will also be over 70 classes offered during the conference. In the Yoga Garden Area, there will be classes on various yoga topics such as yoga secrets for releasing stress, Bollywood and Bhangra dance and Yin Yang infusion. In the Cultural Arts Area, there will be classes on yoga for addictions, Kundalini Trance Dance and Mantra Chants and a Kids Mandala Workshop. In addition to classes, various exhibitors will be selling yoga gear such as yoga “jellies”, yoga towels, yoga mats, yoga apparel etc. Feeling Zen? Then this is the show for you!

http://www.theyogaconference.com/toronto/index.php

 

The National Job Fair and Training Expo Wednesday April 2nd-Thursday April 3rd 2014

Are you in the midst of graduating and contemplating potential employment opportunities? This expo might be for you! This career fair will provide you the opportunity to meet with various recruiters, career service agents and admissions officers from a variety of different fields all over Canada. This expo will provide knowledgeable information of the career possibilities that are out there today in addition to personal encounters with important personnel that could lead to potential employment. In addition to learning about various companies and what they have to offer, you can also have your resume critiqued and undergo a career development assessment at no cost.  So what are you waiting for?

http://www.thenationaljobfair.com/n/en/home/

Address: The Metro Toronto Convention Centre

255 Front Street West

Toronto ON, M5V 2W6

Union Station subway stop

 

Sources:

http://www.mtccc.com/?m=0&t=0&c=1

Image from: http://gethiredca.blogspot.ca/2013/03/torontos-biggest-job-fair.html