NOW Magazine - - CONTENTS - BY OLIVIA BEDNAR [email protected] | @Olivi­aaBed­nar

Since Toronto is a grow­ing city with a (usu­ally) ef­fi­cient and con­nected tran­sit sys­tem, many univer­sity and col­lege stu­dents who live in or around the GTA com­mute to avoid res­i­dence or rent costs.

A big is­sue for com­mut­ing stu­dents is find­ing enough space to study on cam­pus. Even if you just want to get out of your dorm or shared apart­ment, it can be hard to find some­where to go in busy pe­ri­ods that doesn’t re­quire buy­ing a cof­fee.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Fi­nance pro­jec­tions, three mil­lion peo­ple are ex­pected to come into the GTA in the next 25 years. Many uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges have seen in­creases in en­rol­ment, es­pe­cially of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents. Last year, many Cana­dian uni­ver­si­ties re­ported a jump of 25 per cent or more in ad­mis­sions from stu­dents abroad. Some schools have re­sponded to over­pop­u­la­tion is­sues, like the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Ry­er­son’s Stu­dent Learn­ing Cen­tre and York’s new Stu­dent Cen­tre, but is it enough?

If you are still de­cid­ing where to en­roll next year, here are how four uni­ver­si­ties and four col­leges in Toronto stack up in terms of how much space there is to study on (and off) cam­pus.


Lo­cated in the heart of down­town, Ry­er­son has a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion that cur­rently sits at around 38,000 un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents. In 2015, the Stu­dent Learn­ing Cen­tre (re­cently re­named the Shel­don and Tracy Levy Learn­ing Cen­tre) was added, ac­count­ing for 2,300 more study spa­ces. The 155-square­foot build­ing is of­ten still packed and only cer­tain floors are ded­i­cated to study­ing while many are meant for re­lax­ing. Ry­er­son has one li­brary build­ing, as well, but many stu­dents can be found with text­books and lap­tops at nearby cafés like Balzac’s and Page One. Other cam­pus build­ings like the Rogers Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Cen­tre and even Mat­tamy Ath­letic Cen­tre dou­ble as study spa­ces dur­ing busy pe­ri­ods. ry­er­son.ca


U of T is home to 44 li­braries across three cam­puses. With around 88,000 stu­dents, the amount of space is nec­es­sary. Ac­cord­ing to the Globe and Mail’s Cana­dian Univer­sity Re­port – with data from the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Univer­sity Busi­ness Of­fi­cers – the school spends more than 50 per cent more than the na­tional av­er­age on li­brary re­sources. Many of the li­braries stay open all night, in­clud­ing Ro­barts (129,000 square feet). It is un­der­go­ing an ex­pan­sion and will be adding 1,200 new work and study spa­ces to the ex­ist­ing li­brary. utoronto.ca


York is lo­cated in North York, mean­ing it needs a lot of on-cam­pus space for com­muter stu­dents to study. In Septem­ber, York opened a new stu­dent cen­tre that’s 126,000 square feet. The build­ing was a re­sponse to York’s rapidly in­creas­ing stu­dent pop­u­la­tion and in­cludes a prayer room, meet­ing room, lounges and study spa­ces. In ad­di­tion, York has a to­tal of seven li­braries across two cam­puses as well as al­ter­na­tive study spa­ces on cam­pus like cafés and green space out­side. York also scored above av­er­age on the Globe and Mail’s Cana­dian Univer­sity Re­port, spend­ing more than 50 per cent than the na­tional av­er­age on li­brary re­sources. yorku.ca


On­tario’s only des­ig­nated arts univer­sity – lo­cated right be­side the Art Gallery of On­tario – is in an ideal lo­ca­tion, but no­to­ri­ous for its lack of study space. Cur­rently, OCAD’s li­brary has a seat­ing ca­pac­ity of 231 for a school of about 6,000 stu­dents. OCAD is cur­rently un­der­go­ing an ex­pan­sion project and by 2020, is pro­jected to have 50,000 more square feet of re­sources in­clud­ing more study spa­ces and artist stu­dios. In the mean­time, there are many cafés to study in nearby like Art Square and Jimmy’s Cof­fee, as well as the scenic Grange Park in warmer months. ocadu.ca


Ge­orge Brown has three cam­puses across the city, each with li­brary learn­ing com­mons that in­clude in­de­pen­dent and group study rooms. The water­front cam­pus is lo­cated right by Sugar Beach, so if the li­brary is full and the weather’s nice, there’s plenty of out­door seat­ing by the wa­ter. A new spa­cious Star­bucks just opened nearby as well as var­i­ous other cafés. If you want to get out of the li­brary at the Casa Loma cam­pus, there’s lots of green and gar­den space. In ad­di­tion to the St. James cam­pus’s li­brary, they also have the de­sign build­ing, which houses a lot of study space. george­brown.ca


In 2015, the Hum­ber Col­lege North cam­pus fin­ished build­ing the new Learn­ing Re­source Com­mons Project. At 260,000 square feet, it has space for more than 2,2000 stu­dents and in­cludes a new li­brary with group and in­de­pen­dent study spa­ces as well as an atrium where stu­dents can hang out. It is also has a green roof. Hum­ber’s Lakeshore cam­pus, lo­cated in Eto­bi­coke, has a com­mons build­ing with open ar­eas, group workspaces and a com­puter lab. It’s also si­t­u­ated right on Lake On­tario and has plenty of out­door seat­ing and ar­eas that make for serene read­ings spots if you head down some of the walk­ing trails. hum­ber.ca


Seneca has four main cam­puses, three of which are Toronto. The King cam­pus has var­i­ous labs where spe­cific dis­ci­plines can study in ad­di­tion to its li­brary, and a green­house build­ing that makes a nice back­drop when study­ing in warmer months. The Jane cam­pus doesn’t have a spec­i­fied li­brary, but has var­i­ous labs and class­room spa­ces suitable for work­ing. The Newn­ham Cam­pus lo­cated at Finch is one of the largest cam­puses. Be­sides var­i­ous labs for ma­jors, it has a large com­mons area where stu­dents can use the com­put­ers. The col­lege also has an Indige­nous-spe­cific study space. seneca­col­lege.ca


Cen­ten­nial Col­lege has five cam­puses, each with li­braries as well as al­ter­na­tive study spa­ces. The Ash­ton­bee li­brary is an award-win­ning li­brary that added 40,000 square feet in 2014. In ad­di­tion, the cam­pus build­ing’s mez­za­nine level has lots of quiet study spots as well as a com­puter lab. The Stu­dent As­so­ci­a­tion build­ing at the Progress Cam­pus is an al­ter­na­tive to the li­brary with lots of study space. The Morn­ing­side Cam­pus has a spa­cious com­mons area be­sides the li­brary to study. The Story Arts Cen­tre is the smaller of the cam­puses, but still has a roomy li­brary. Cen­ten­nial is also adding a new cam­pus at Downsview in 2019. cen­ten­ni­al­col­lege.ca

Ry­er­son’s Stu­dent Learn­ing Cen­tre added 2,300 study spa­ces to ac­com­mo­date a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion.

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