York University 411: Where to find the best cheap lunch and more

A York University insider’s perspective on campus life

York University student

Unofficial school motto:

‘If you can hold a fork, you can go to York’

York University student Hajer Mirwali.

Best place for a nap:

The quiet zone in the library—put two couches together for an easy makeshift bed

Best cheap lunch:

The ‘Express’ section in Central Square Cafeteria

Best hangover breakfast:

Eggs from Falafel Hut Village and a smoothie from Booster Juice

Favourite watering hole:

Shopsy’s, the new sports grill in York Lanes

Perks of living in this town:

It’s a 30-minute drive from the Keele campus to downtown Toronto

Best place to study:

Abandoned lecture halls and classrooms

Weirdest tradition:

Faculty strikes

Best campus event:

The free YorkFest concert (the most recent headliner was Big Sean)

Best giveaway:

There’s almost always a club giving out free popcorn in Vari Hall or the Ross Building

Best live music venue:

The Underground

University Insider Report: Hajer Mirwali, 21, Creative Writing

York University always seems to be under construction, but if you can get past the detours and traffic, you will learn to appreciate the school’s dedication to growth and improvement.

The new advertising campaign asks future students to open their minds to “new ways of thinking” and “endless opportunities,” and this is not a request to be taken lightly.

PROFILE: York University | Toronto, Ont. | Founded 1959

York is Canada’s third-largest university, with more than 53,000 students, and is home to the prestigious Osgoode Hall Law School, the Schulich School of Business, and North America’s largest psychology program. Most York students didn’t choose it for the campus, but because they found a program they wanted and met its requirements.

With over 160 undergraduate programs—from political science to professional writing to space engineering—there is something for everyone.

As for that construction, in 2015 alone we got a new engineering building (which is worth visiting to explore its futuristic designs and all-white interior) and a new athletics stadium built for the Pan Am Games.

There are plenty more currently under construction, and a whole new campus is being built in Markham to accommodate 4,000 students when it opens. If you enrol at York University, the school will likely undergo several more dramatic changes by the time you graduate.


Diversity is one of York’s most treasured values. Walking through the halls and common spaces, you will find clubs celebrating diverse ethnicities and religions (Nigerian Student Association, Pakistan Student Association, etc.), as well as advocating for political issues. No matter your cultural background, you will never feel out of place at YorkU.

Local Vibe

Although York is in Toronto, its location is not a selling point for university students, as U of T and Ryerson are downtown. However, York’s Keele campus feels like a town of its own (it takes a good 15 to 20 minutes to walk from one end of campus to the other).

The Spadina subway line is being extended to York and is supposed to be completed by the end of 2017. Most students are gone by the time rush hour hits, but Thursdays are often an exception with pub nights at the Absinthe and extended hours at Shopsy’s. The art scene at York is always active: there are weekly open mic nights at the Second Cup in York Lanes, and monthly poetry slams at the Eleanor Winters Art Gallery.

The Skinny

Check out these Facebook pages: York Federation of Students (for school events and news) and the York University Book Exchange (for discounted and used textbooks).

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