Along with the many decisions you’ve been making as you finish off your senior year of high school, comes the daunting task of picking which of the many University of Toronto residences you wish to live in when you start University of Toronto. It gets even trickier when you consider that there are 8 residency options at UofT, and each normally has a few different buildings to choose from. Picking the right University of Toronto residence for you is essential, and can completely change your university experience… so keep reading for a summary of each one of the University of Toronto residences to help you make your decision!
University college has 3 different residencies: Morrison Hall, Whitney Hall and Sir Dan’s.
Morrison Hall is the newer one, with single rooms that have AC, and the dining hall is in the building. Sir Dan and Whitney are on either side of Morrison, are much older (but beautiful) buildings, and have both single and double rooms.
The rooms in UC are apparently a little larger, especially Whitney and Sir Dan’s. About half the rooms are singles, you have a decent chance of having your own room. However, there is no AC unless you’re in Morrison, and you have to share a bathroom with 8-10 boys AND girls… it can be a little awkward.
Like most places (you’ll soon learn), the food at the dining hall is pretty gross. However, a big bonus of UC is that it’s not an all-you-can-eat style, and you can take away food. Like most residencies, the meal plan is mandatory. Moreover, Reznikoff Café has extended opening hours and lots of yummy treats.
The three buildings are side by side, and are in an amazing location, right across from Sid Smith and Robarts. You are basically in the middle of campus, and it’s less than 10 minutes to get to any of your classes. There’s also some really beautiful big courtyards outside of each building.
The social life in UC is pretty good, especially in Whitney and Sir Dan’s where it’s a bit easier to socialize with people from different houses as you’re on the same floor. The dons aren’t super strict, and you normally can party for a while before you get a warning. A lot of recreational activities also take place in the courtyards, and no one seems to really care.
St. Michael’s College
St Mike’s is quite a large college, and has 5 different residencies: Sorbara Hall, Elmsley Hall, Teefy and Fisher Houses (females only), and More House (males only). The floors of Sorbara and Elmsley Hall are single-sex, but the buildings are mixed. Each of these buildings are very different, but each mainly have double rooms.
Most rooms are doubles, as mentioned, and only Sorbara Hall has AC (and rooms have their own personal sink!). You do share bathrooms, however you only have to share with people of the same sex, as all of the co-ed buildings have same-sex floors.
Once again, gross (you’ll sense a theme with the University of Toronto residences), except for chicken burger day. It’s an all-you-can-eat style, so you have to sit in the dining hall to eat, but this does ensure your meal times are social. The meal plan is mandatory.
The St Mike’s colleges are a little far, on the other side of Queen’s Park. That means you’re looking at a bit of a trek to get to class or St George, but it is right by Kelly Library and Pratt. The area itself is absolutely gorgeous, it is just a bit further from central campus.
Everyone that is/was part of St Mike’s residence have amazing, crazy stories about their social life. They’re all still close with their res friends, and all partied pretty hard in their first year. However, rumour has it the new president is much stricter, so it may not be as fun as previous years.
This is one of the oldest and smallest colleges, requiring an extra application to get accepted to live in Trinity. There are two residency buildings: St Hilda’s and the Trinity residence.
The rooms are a bit bigger than some of the newer buildings on campus, and each room has a phone. It is a bit redundant when everyone has a cell these days, but still cool. BIG bonus: the rooms are cleaned WEEKLY, and trust me, even a small dorm room can get very dirty.
Gross. Again. Mandatory. Again. The salad bar is pretty good though, but beware of the mystery meat. You never really know what you’re eating at any of the dining halls on campus. It’s an all-you can eat style dining hall, which is beneficial if you have a big appetite, but you may waste some money otherwise.
Trinity also has great location, pretty close to UC but more towards Bloor. It is rather secluded, emphasizing Trinity’s exclusive vibe. The quadrangle is at the center of the buildings, and is absolutely gorgeous.
There’s a bit of a stigma towards Trinity people; that their money got them in, and that no one really likes them but themselves. However, they really like themselves: about half the people living in residence are upper-year students that have returned there because they loved it so much. There’s got to be something they’re going back for, right?
Victoria College also requires an extra application, and has 5 residency buildings: Annelsey Hall, Upper Burwash Hall, Lower Burwash Hall, (the dining hall is located in Burwash), Margaret Addison Hall and Rowell Jackman Hall. Annelsey Hall is for females only, but the rest are co-ed. Each of these halls are extremely different, so doing your research is essential if you want to be part of Vic.
Some of the halls have TRIPLE rooms- having one roommate is hard enough, so this is a scary possibility. Most of the halls have shared co-ed bathrooms, however Rowell Jackman is apartment-style and has both single-sex and co-ed suites, where 1-2 bathrooms are shared between 3-7 people.
Big surprise here! Gross, like every other dining hall. This is just something you’re going to have to deal with in your first year, as meal plans are also mandatory at Victoria.
Victoria residences are a bit further from central campus as well, but not as far as St Mike’s. It is very close to Bay Street, but it will take you about 10 minutes to get to St George Street.
Victoria is known to have great parties, and may even give St Mike’s a run for their money. Everyone that has lived here seems to have had a great time, so you’re likely to have fun if you live here.
New College has 3 different residency options: Wilson Hall, Wetmore Hall and 45 Willcocks. The buildings are divided into different ‘houses’, like UC, but there are four all-female houses. The Audrey Taylor Dining Hall is where all residents eat, and is located near all the buildings.
There are 3 different room options: traditional single and double rooms, and bed-over-desk double rooms. Alike Trinity, all rooms have a phone and you can call locally and to the front desk for free. All rooms have AC and heating controls, as well as large windows. Unfortunately, the bathrooms are shared and co-ed.
Whilst still pretty gross, New College offers slightly healthier meals, or at least you’ll know how many calories you are eating through various screens spread throughout the dining hall. They also have an ice cream bar (yum!), but its an all-you-can-eat experience, so you can’t take any food away. Like most residences, the meal plan is mandatory.
The location is good, although a bit further from central campus than Trin or UC, it still isn’t too far a walk from class, especially if you’re going to Sid Smith. It’s also very close to the Athletic Center, which is good because many athletes live in New College.
There are lots of international people in this residence, so if you want to meet people from different cultures, this is great! There’s also a lot of athletes, so if you’re one of them, you’ll have a lot in common with people around you. The problem is, those two categories of people sometimes stick together, so if you don’t fit in with either, you might not have the best experience despite New College having some fun parties.
Innis and Woodsworth Colleges vary a lot from the other residency options. This is because they offer apartment-style suites instead of dormitory style. This does mean that Innis is a much smaller residence, so it may be hard to guarantee a spot here. Innis has one residence building, Innis Residence, that is 7-storeys tall.
Innis offers 4 or 5-bedroom suites. All rooms are single, so you’re sure to avoid an annoying roommate. You then share 1 ½- 2 bedrooms, a full kitchen and a living room with the rest of your suite mates.
Innis and Woodsworth are the only colleges that do not have a mandatory meal plan. If you love to cook, this is a great option for you as you’ll have to rely on your cooking skills to survive.
Innis is in a very good location, on St George Street, so you’re close to most of your classes. It also is directly opposite the Innis College, so you only need to cross the street to use any of the facilities there.
Living in an apartment-style residency has it’s ups and downs. On the upside, you can form really close relationships with your suite mates, because you’re essential sharing an apartment. However, if you don’t like your suite mates, you’re kind of stuck with them as it is difficult to get to know people on other floors. Also, around 40% of the residents are upper year students, so you may not get to know as many people in your year.
Woodsworth college offers apartment-style residency. It is similar both in size and style to Innis, and is UofT’s newest college. All residents live in a 17-storey building.
You’ll either be in a 4,5 or 6-bedroom suite, sharing 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room. Because the building is newer, the rooms are a bit smaller, but they have big bright windows.
As mentioned, there is no meal plan for Woodsworth. By cooking, you’re likely to eat tastier food than at the dining halls, but it is definitely more of a hassle.
Woodsworth is further from central campus than some of the residencies, located on Bloor Street. This does mean it is close to some restaurants, shops and bars, but you’ll lose out on the walk to class. It also is much further from it’s college, but at least if you can’t make it home between classes the college building is on St George.
The same goes for Woodsworth as for Innis, and it is a bit of a gamble with your suite mates. However, the college itself has many more members, so you may meet more people than at Innis.
Chestnut residence is not it’s own college, and is only a residence. People that live here can be part of any college, and some floors are reserved for only people of the same college. Floors can vary, with some being single gender, some being quiet floors, some health & wellness floors, etc. The building has 28 floors.
There are both single and double rooms, and they have AC which is great in the warmer months. However, the windows don’t open, and there’s a bit of a weird smell you just can’t get rid of. A big bonus is the great views you’ll have of downtown Toronto if you’re on one of the higher floors, but the biggest advantage? Each room has their own bathroom.
There are some mixed reviews for food at Chestnut. On the one hand, you’re likely to eat ‘mystery meat’, but this is the same at most dining halls. It might be a bit better than the rest, and desserts are Chestnut’s specialty. There aren’t any kitchenettes though, and the meal plan is mandatory, so you’re stuck with the dining hall.
You could literally not get any further from central campus, even though it’s considered ‘on campus’. You’re looking at a 25-minute walk to campus every day… I mean, that’s great if you’d like a workout every time you want to go to, or come back from class, but you’re probably going to end up skipping a lot because of the dreaded walk. That being said, it’s right next to Nathan Philips Square, so much closer to downtown Toronto.
The advantage of being far from everything, is that you end up getting to know those close to you better. It’s a convenient space to throw parties in, as sound doesn’t travel between floors, and if a party on one floor gets shut down, there are 27 other ones to party in. However, Chestnut is only a residence, and not a college, so it is harder to interact with people from the same college as you. On the other hand, if you are on a specialized floor, you could live with people that you have a lot in common with.
As you can see, each residence has its own positives and negatives. You’re going to have to think about what factors are a priority to you, but one golden rule is that your residence experience will be what you make of it, so if you don’t get into your first choice, it’s not the end of the world.
What else should incoming or current students know about the University of Toronto residences? Comment below or share this article with a friend!
Featured image source: studenthousing.org, amazonaws.com
"Hi all! I'm currently in my second year of undergrad at the University of Toronto. I'm studying English, with a double minor in Philosophy and Book and Media Studies. I'm also part of a sorority here, the Beta Psi chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.I love to write and hope to one day find a career that enables me to do this! For now, I enjoy writing articles for Society 19 that keep me entertained and informed!"