Where to hang
St. James Square, aka Ryerson Quad. Hidden from Gould by limestone walls, it's the largest patch of green anywhere on campus, a nice sunny spot to toss the friz, kick around a soccer ball or access your inner landscape. The ivy-covered arch that lends the quad a spooky air marks the spot where Ryerson's predecessor, the Toronto Normal School, a training facility for the arts, science and culture, once stood. And it's here that the Ontario Provincial Museum and Ontario Society of Artists, foreruners of the Royal Ontario Museum and Ontario College of Art respectively, were born.
Yes, Ryerson is a real university, and has been since 1993. It's even producing masters and doctoral students these days, so calling it Ry High is about as timely as an OJ joke. Now go tell that to your wisecracking McGill-educated uncle.
Although it's made a strong name for itself in media studies, the university still holds to its roots as a polytechnic institute, as evidenced in the marches of noisy, purple-stained engineers I've been encountering on lunch breaks the last couple of weeks.
While grads from other schools ruminate on their inability to find full-time jobs, Ryerson's career-focused education is building it a solid fan base.
A couple of years ago, one such anonymous admirer donated an awesome treasure of 300,000 historic photos known as the Black Star Collection. They're not accessible yet, but there's a gallery in the works that will also house the School of Image Arts, Canada's largest photography school. Fingers crossed it's not another Ryerson School of Best Buy like that thing on Dundas and Bay.
Issues here include the search for a cleansing spot for Muslim students before prayer it's been resolved for now and the draining dispute over the management of the new Student Centre at 55 Gould, again resolved for the moment.
There's plenty to see around Ryerson. It's a different part of downtown than the U of T area, but just as busy. For those who enjoy crowds, gaytown and the St. Lawrence Market are within walking distance, but there's also the wonderful Imperial Pub, with its upstairs "library" that has been frozen in time just east of the new Times Square North under construction at Yonge and Dundas.