Friday September 19 – Ontario University Fair Day

Today, Megan, Alun and I went to Toronto for the Ontario University Fair.  Megan has decided to apply to college, but needs to have two visits to these types of events for her Specialist High Skills Major designation on her high school diploma.  Alun is still a couple years away from needing to attend, but accompanied us anyway for the fun.  Also, it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about tertiary education early.

We decided to go in on the GO Train since it worked well for Alun and me a few weeks ago when we went to the AGO.  I was concerned about finding parking and consulted both GO and Michael, who uses the Malton station when he goes downtown.  Both told me parking might be a problem at Bramalea, so we decided to try Malton.  Last night Alun informed us that he had to hand something in on Friday so he couldn’t accompany us.  We accommodated him by driving to his school first to drop off the paper and then onto the GO station.  As we drove past Bramalea, Megan noticed there was lots of parking so we pulled in, as that is my preferred station.  It’s closer to home.

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I think this is the first time I have entered Union Station on a train.


Union Station is undergoing a major renovation and has been since 2011.  It is expected to be completed next year.


We used the Skywalk to get to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) where the Fair was being held.


There were booths set up in the Skywalk by the colleges and Megan was able to collect a number of brochures.  There was also a huge line to get through security.  I had never seen a security line to get into the MTCC before.


I had a couple items to return to MEC, so I left Megan and Alun in the line and walked to MEC about ten minutes away.  On my way back I dropped into Tim’s for a coffee and found that they were selling Smile Cookies, a favourite in our household.  I purchased three.

This is the John Street bridge over the rail lines.  It’s beautifully done up in the summer with hanging baskets and planters.


I liked the lines in this view of John Street with a new condo on the left and the CBC building on the right with the red crosses on the windows.


When I got back the security line was much smaller.  While waiting I asked if this was a new policy for MTCC or just for this event.  It was just for the event.  They were searching for weapons.  I had to put my backpack on a table for inspection while I walked through a metal detector.  Once through I stood waiting for my backpack to be searched.  After a moment the security guard told me to take my bag.  He hadn’t touched it and it was full with my MEC purchase and my jacket on top blocking the view of everything else.  I looked at him and said, “I guess I don’t fit the profile”.  He just smiled and I moved on.

I met Megan and Alun who had browsed the booths and collected all the brochures they wanted.  They had decided to go to the Waterloo presentation at noon and McMaster at 1pm.  We decided to eat the cookies to tide us over until we finished up and could head out for lunch.


The Waterloo presentation was interesting to me as Waterloo is my alma mater.  I chose Waterloo because of their co-op program.  Apparently, they are still the preeminent co-op university in Canada.  They told us that it will cost $18-$31K to attend for one year beginning in 2015.  Wow!  And I just heard a news report recently that fees are expected to rise by 13% in the next three years.  As a parent of four it makes me feel ill when I think about it for too long.

They also told us that students earn $37-$77K over the course of their studies when they are in the co-op program.  That amount surprised me.  That would go a long way to paying for university.

When I returned home I pulled out my tax returns from 1985-1988, the years I was in the co-op program, and found that I had earned $33K.  That’s almost $60K in today’s dollars which made me feel pretty comfortable about the range they were advertising.  I recall that the Engineering and Computer Studies students made more that the Arts students.  I was in the Faculty of Arts.

During the slideshow they showed some pictures of dorm rooms.  One of the pictures was taken at St. Paul’s College where I lived for three terms.  I was amused to see that the room was unchanged!

After the Waterloo presentation they decided they didn’t want to go to the McMaster one so we sat in on the OCAD University presentation instead.

Afterwards we headed to Boston Pizza for lunch.  We were so hungry I forgot to take pictures of the food before we ate.

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We then took a walk around the CBC building where we visited their museum.  Megan was amused to see the old versions of the equipment she uses at Rogers when she volunteers.  I engaged in a little nostalgia when I saw the Friendly Giant and Mr. Dressup sets.


I love the atrium at the CBC.


I also love this view of Roy Thompson Hall from the PATH system.


We headed to Union and grabbed refreshments and caught the 4:15 train.


Alun was completely worn out.





About Lisa Stokes

I am a stay-at-home mother of four whose hobbies include photography, quilting and cycling. I have recently started to advocate for better cycling infrastructure in my community. I am the photographer at the Brampton Quilters' Guild.
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