sexual healingsexual healing
so you've flirted with, wooed and won the heart of the foxy lad or lady in your Human Sexuality class. Now what? Health services on campus are not the only game in town.
The House Community Health Centre, operated by Planned Parenthood of Toronto, provides birth control, info and counselling, tons of literature and free condoms in a cozy neighbourhood atmosphere (36B Prince Arthur, 416-927-7171). Call for an appointment or stop by during drop-in hours (Monday to Thursday 4 to 8 pm, Friday 4 to 7 pm). The Women's College-run Bay Centre for Birth Control (790 Bay, 8th floor, 416-351-3700) offers a huge variety of birth control options as well as emergency contraception. Open six days a week and three evenings, it also provides anonymous HIV testing and info on pregnancy and abortion.
For queer-friendly, experienced staff, try the Hassle Free Clinic (556 Church, 2nd floor). This clinic offers abortion counselling and referrals, STD testing, safer sex info, birth control, pregnancy testing and treatment, free condoms and a needle exchange. Hassle Free also has separate men's and women's hours. Call for info: women 416-922-0566; men 416-922-0603. Another good number to know is the AIDS and Sexual Health Infoline, at 416-392-2437, which provides information, counselling and referrals from 9 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday, and 11 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday.
Every woman should know about the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre, which operates a crisis line 24/7 (416-597-8808) and offers free and confidential help to survivors of rape, incest, sexual assault and abuse. The office is open seven days a week, from 9 am to 5 pm (416-597-1171).
On the lighter side, Good for Her (175 Harbord, 416-588-0900; www.goodforher.com) is a woman-positive, woman-run store with a plethora of sex goodies and funky, friendly feminist staff. Men will probably feel slightly more at ease at Come as You Are (701 Queen West, 416-504-7934; www.comeasyouare.com), Canada's first cooperatively run sex toy, book and video store.
maintaining sanitymaintaining sanity
first year can be a helluva trip. If you're feeling lost and unstable and don't know where to turn, read on.
University mental health services tend to be a bit hit-and-miss. After hearing horror stories about students who were fed Paxil as if it were candy, it seems like a good idea to know about other options.
For help in finding a therapist or doctor, try the Canadian Mental Health Association (416-789-7957) or the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (416-967-2626). They can provide you with free info about individual OHIP-covered psychiatrists by specialty area, location and languages spoken.
If your life is becoming one big hangover, and the words "hair of the dog" no longer apply (you're always high), you might want to consider a drug counselling or treatment program.
The Youth Substance Abuse Program (YSAP), run by the YMCA (485 Queen West, 416-504-1710 ext 205), is a good option. They provide counselling and support even if you're still using. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has multiple sites and myriad treatment programs. Try the 24-hour info line at 416-595-6111 for details and directions. If you're in the Queen West area, the Parkdale Community Health Centre Addiction Treatment Program (47 Fraser, 416-537-9346) has experienced staff and lots of info.
Often overlooked is the prevalence of eating disorders on campus. Sheena's Place, at 87 Spadina Road (416-927-8900), right near U of T, is a great resource.
If you're desperate, don't hesitate to call emergency numbers at the Gerstein Crisis Centre (416-929-5200), the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry (416-979-2221) or the Kids Help Line (1-800-668-6868).
down by lawdown by law
if you find yourself in manacles after a particularly tense OCAP demonstration, Mom and Dad in Moose Jaw aren't going to be a lot of help. Here's a list of folks who can be of use in bailing you out.
Run by students from the U of T law department, Downtown Legal Services has a clinic at 91 St. George. DLS reps can't offer advice over the phone, but prospective clients can come in for a meeting and assessment. If they meet the income and geographic criteria, the clinic will take them on for free. Clinic 416-978-6447; admin office 416-934-4535; www.dls.utoronto.ca. Parkdale Community Legal Services (1266 Queen West, 416-531-2411; www.parkdalelegal.org) offers free legal advice and information to people living in the Parkdale area. If you don't live within this jurisdiction, the Web site will direct you to helpful resources.
If your landlord changes the locks and you find yourself out in the cold without any warning, the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations (27 Carlton, suite 500; www.torontotenants.org) may be able to help. The office isn't equipped for drop-in visits, but the hotline offers service in most languages spoken in the GTA, from 8:30 am to 6 pm weekdays, starting in October: 416-921-9494. Legal Aid Ontario (www.legalaid.on.ca) is also a great resource for links to specific community legal clinics
under pressureunder pressure
if every day seems like manic Monday, consider seeking de-stressing assistance.
York students might want to check out the student clinic at the Zehava School of Esthetics and Massage Therapy (842 Wilson, 416-630-6300). They offer one-hour massages at the clinic for $27 on Thursday nights, by appointment. Further downtown, the Shiatsu School of Canada (547 College, 416-323-1818; www.shiatsucanada. com) holds clinics Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:45 and 6:30 pm, and Wednesdays from 9 am to 3:30 pm. $27 (plus GST) for a treatment lasting just over an hour.
Members of the granola set can try calling the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors at 1-877-628-7284, for info on OHIP-covered naturopaths in their area.
cheap thrillscheap thrills
finally, there's fun. toronto has tons of cheap thrills that even starvin' students can afford.
A true T.O. institution, wizened Ben Kerr warbles at the northeast corner of Bloor and Yonge. Free, hilarious and heartwarming, Ben must be seen to be believed.
Also outdoors, check out the Toronto Music Garden, whose design was inspired by Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 (475 Queen's Quay West, on the waterfront between Bathurst and Spadina, 416-338-0338).
Edwards Gardens (777 Lawrence East, 416-397-1340) is a great place for bride-watching. The arboretum at Allan Gardens (416-392-7288) is a jungle-like haven during hellish Toronto winters. Layer your clothes and head down to the southeast corner of Carlton and Sherbourne with some good ganja for a free tropical getaway.
queer stuffqueer stuff
so you're queer, you're here in the Big Smoke and you're clueless about the hippest homo hangouts.
Supporting our Youth (SOY) is a super place to start. Located on the third floor of 65 Wellesley East, SOY sponsors, among other things, the Fruit Loopz performance/art cabaret and mentoring/housing programs that match kids under 25 with savvy adults in the community. Check out their Web site (www.soytoronto.org), e-mail email@example.com or call 416-924-2100 ext 264.
If it's strictly support you're looking for, Central Toronto Youth Services (65 Wellesley East) runs a variety of support and social groups. Girls can call 416-924-2100 ext 229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and boys can contact email@example.com or call 416-924-2100 ext 233. CTYS also provides free, one-on-one counselling -- call the intake coordinator at 416-924-2100. Tons of other groups can be found at the 519 Church Community Centre (519 Church, north of Wellesley, 416-392-6874) along with a veritable library of queer-related info, pamphlets and flyers.
Girls' night out: Pope Joan (547 Parliament, 416-925-6662), Tango (508 Church, 416-972-1662), Wednesday nights at Hump (56 Kensington) and (if you don't mind waiting in line for over an hour) Sundays at Ciao Edie (489 College, 416-927-7774).
Boys night out: 5ive (5 St. Joseph) for house music and hotties, or the labyrinthine Fly (6 Gloucester, 416-410-5426) on Saturday nights, Woody's (467 Church, 416-972-0887) for drinks but no dancing, and for lots of booze and cruising, head to the Barn/Stables (416-977-4684/416-977-4702).
cheap and chiccheap and chic
Fashionistas worldwide may forfeit food and rent money, collecting cash for cosmetics and clothing with cachet, but being beautiful doesn't have to be a no pay, no gain experience.
Located in chichi Yorkville, Marvel Beauty Schools offers the closest thing to a free coif since your mom stopped giving you those godawful bowl haircuts. Cuts with student stylists-in-training go for a cool 8 bucks, and colour starts at $30 for first-time clients. Sweet. (25 Yorkville Ave., 416-923-0991)
At the nearby Vidal Sassoon Salon (37 Avenue Rd., 416-920-1333), students get 20 per cent off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with the presentation of a valid full-time student card. Base prices range from $60-82, depending on the stylist.
Finally, there's Coupe Bizzarre (704 Queen West, 416-504-0783). If you're willing to play Russian Roulette with your tresses, then head down to the salon and get yourself signed up as a colour model. Colourists-in-training will dye your hair for only $15 -- about the same price as a tub of Manic Panic!