How recent TTC and road changes are affecting TMU’s commuter studentsBy Gabriela Silva Ponte
A large portion of Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) student commuters are noticing the effects of some current major Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) changes and road closures.
From the bus restrictions at Broadview Station to the major road work along Yonge Street, students traveling to school by TTC or car are dealing with their fair share of difficulties.
Third-year professional communications student Leah Mascarenhas takes the TTC from Scarborough, which has recently seen its own changes.
The TTC announced the Scarborough Rapid Transit (SRT) would be permanently closed after a derailment on July 24. Line 3 was initially supposed to close in November, but the date officially changed to Sept. 3, just two days before classes began at TMU.
“I definitely think [my commute is] lengthier now because taking out… [the SRT] makes you more dependent on taking a bus. Especially [for] me, because I’m in the heart of Scarborough, so I’m not close to any direct subway stations,” Mascarenhas said in an interview with The Eyeopener “You have to completely reroute [from] a route you’ve been taking for three or four years into something different. You have to learn how to take a different bus and go to a different station.”
TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said that transit services go through schedule changes and service adjustments based on ridership and demand every six weeks.
“The Scarborough line has been closed since July 24 and we’ve been running replacement shuttle service,” Green said. “There’s plenty of service on the Scarborough line that’s been in place since July.”
August Puranauth, an organizer with TTCRiders–a grassroots transit rider advocacy organization–said the shutdown of Line 3 is especially affecting students with school back in session.
“A lot of people are saying that it’s taking 15, 20 [or] 30 minutes longer to get to school anywhere across the city. We need to make sure that buses
reliable,” they said.
Mascarenhas confirmed the buses have added an extra 30 minutes to her commute to school, which was already an hour and a half long.
Other students who drive to school, like second-year business management student Cassandra Paiva, are experiencing the added time to their commute due to construction and frequent road closures.
Paiva has dealt with a number of inconveniences, from almost popping a tire due to a pothole to nearly driving into oncoming traffic because construction forced her to. She has even debated if taking an Uber might be an easier way to get to school.
“I’m from Etobicoke. So it can either take me 20 minutes or…two hours,” she said in an interview with TheEye “It’s very tiring and time consuming.”
Paiva suggested the city should add more turning signals and lanes so that cars are not blocking intersections, causing more traffic.
“If you’re going to do construction on one street, at least [make] another street [more available] because it’s causing mayhem for no reason. To get from Harbour [Street] to Adelaide [Street] will take 12 minutes in the morning but it should only take two minutes and you can walk it within three minutes,” she said. “It’s not just affecting [drivers], it’s affecting pedestrians because now they don’t have a sidewalk so they’re brimming to the cars, bicycles usually have the bicycle lane [but now they don’t]. Everyone is in the way and you have [to have] so much more caution.”
The city has closed off one lane of the expressway ramp at Lake Shore Boulevard from Lower Jarvis Street to Yonge Street. According to the city’s road closure map, this is due to the drilling of two boreholes. The lane reduction will continue until Sept. 21.
Just 950 metres north, two lanes will be blocked off on Yonge Street between Wellington Street East and King Street East for “construction” until Sept. 30, according to the map.
One lane is also occupied on a portion of Bay Street near Front Street both westbound and eastbound due to the drilling of two boreholes until Sept. 21.
“I take the Gardiner [Expressway].
Sometimes I’ll take Lake Shore [Boulevard] because it’s easier since I can
just turn on Bay [Street]. But I find it more time consuming because then all the streets are closed and it’s just one lane,” she said. “Especially with Yonge [Street], there’s [a lot of construction] and police are [directing traffic].”
But Paiva said this doesn’t make her more inclined to take the TTC.
“I would never take the TTC. Ever since [COVID-19] and ever since the stabbings and everything, no thank you, that’s not for me,” she said. “I’m not close to [a station]. I have a bus, but to get to the station, it takes me 20 minutes. It would be different if I was centred at a station or a GO train but… one bus comes every half an hour.”
Mascarenhas said her parents only drive in Scarborough and thus she has to commute to school using the TTC. But she said her family has noticed how much road work is being done even in Scarborough.
“There’s a lot more construction, especially in our neighborhood. We never really got too much construction because it’s mainly a bus area… But the fact that [it’s] slipping into the cracks here in Scarborough is a little bit annoying,” she said.
Puranauth said that although they are thankful to mayor Olivia Chow for the increased TTC service, there is still much more to do.
“We’re seeing work being done, we’re seeing bus lanes being painted. Olivia Chow has kept her promises... but we want to see more done,” they said in an interview with The Eye
“There’s still a lot more people coming back to the TTC and we need so much more service, otherwise it’s not going to be a reliable option for many students. And for some students that means they’re going to switch to driving, or they’re going to not actually attend class,” Puranauth added.
But Green said the TTC does its best to “minimize the impact.”
“We understand that there is inconvenience involved but it’s unavoidable. It’s really short-term pain for longer term gain. We need to keep the system in a state of good repair and that requires construction and service and route diversions,” he said.
Murtaza Haider, a professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at TMU, said the TTC is in a “vicious cycle” due to a lack of ridership.
“The revenue TTC generates is less than what it used to be,” he said.
“The downside of it is that there will be fewer funds that will be generated by TTC to be able to pay for its operations so it will rely on funding from other governments (municipal, local and provincial) to cover the operating cost. If those costs are not covered then TTC would have no other choice than to cut service.”
Other TTC impacts include the Broadview bus reduction services. According to the TTC’s website, the project to renew “streetcar track infrastructure” started on Sept. 11 and road closures due to it will officially begin Sept. 25. Green said these will likely
our system in a state of good repair.”
Puranauth said a lack of communication and transparency is one of the TTC’s biggest flaws.
“Generally, one of the biggest issues is that there isn’t clear communication and people don’t always understand where the diverted routes are going to, so that’s something the TTC can work on,” they said.
“We communicate [these closures] to our customers using the [TTC] website [and] Twitter. We have a very active social media account, there are route alerts and service alerts that people can subscribe to,” said Green. “The best advice is to use a trip planner and it will help people get around.”
St. Clair is also seeing a change in its streetcar service. The 512 will be replaced by buses from St. Clair Station to the Gunns Loop until mid-2024, according to the TTC’s website.
“We know that the St. Clair streetcar is no longer running because they’re doing work on the overhead wires,” said Puranauth. “A concern about all these streetcars being replaced by buses is overcrowding and them being slow.”
“When transit is unreliable, it really hurts access to education,” they said.
Haider agrees. He said TMU is not a regular 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. institution, but rather it operates on an 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. schedule.
“If in the dead [of] winter you are waiting for a bus at 6:30 [a.m.] and the bus comes every 30 minutes or every 15 minutes, these are challenges that impact the quality of education students receive…It may not necessarily be tied to what is inside the lecture room but it is tied to how you get to the lecture room and how you get back from the lecture room to your home,” he said.
Among the many students who have been late to class due to the long wait times is first-year sociology student Katarina Stamatov, who commutes from Etobicoke.
“They had to stop the transit some-
“Especially when you’re waiting for the subway, it can be dangerous sometimes,” she said.
Puranauth understands this worry. “Especially if you’re taking late night classes, you don’t want to be waiting long for your bus or streetcar or subway on a lonely platform, it’s not safe,” they said.
Puranauth concluded by urging students to speak out for proper transit to differing levels of government.
“I encourage TMU students to advocate for better transit and pressure the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government to properly fund transit using various tools to make sure we have a great TTC,” they said.
Haider believes the provincial government is in a place where it is able to provide funding to prevent service cuts while the TTC gets back on its feet.
“I would ask public representative members of the Ontario legislature to take a deep look at TTC and decide how much more we should invest in it so that Toronto’s downtown continues to be the employment hub,” he said.
But, despite these problems, Haider noted that the TTC is doing the best it can.
“We are so focused on complaining at times that we don’t understand the good things that are happening. If you have made it to your classroom on time, most of the time in the last year and you travel by public transit, then there are people that are doing this, it doesn’t just happen by itself.”
International students at TMU say they are at an employment disadvantageBy Krishika Jethani
International students at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) who hold study permits fear for their financial wellbeing due to restrictions placed on the hours they can work.
Full-time international students who obtain a study permit are limited to working 20 hours per week when school is in session.
An exception was made from midNovember 2022 to the end of this upcoming December to combat labour shortages. This allows students to work for longer than 20 hours if they meet certain requirements.
These restrictions can feed into more widespread exploitation that foreign workers, including international students, face in the Canadian workplace.
Alessandra Baltodano, an international third-year creative industries student at TMU, feels employers take advantage of immigrants and students who are not fully aware of all the working laws in Canada.
During her first year in Canada, Baltodano accepted a position which paid well below minimum wage.
“I think it was like $8 per hour or something like that,” she said. “When I brought it forward with my employer, [they reacted] very poorly to it. And I just felt that it was some employers trying to take advantage of international students that don’t know better.”
When Baltodano first arrived here in 2021, the minimum hourly wage in Ontario was set to $14.25, with Canada implementing a $15 minimum wage in December 2021.
Sarom Rho, an organizer at Migrant Workers Alliance for Change —an organization that seeks to “support migrants to stand up against bad bosses and fix problems with immigration,” according to its website—is calling for permanent residency status for all.
“Today, there are 1.7 million migrants and undocumented people in Canada,” said Rho. “Current and former international students as well as undocumented refugees and undocumented people do the frontline essential work that keeps our communities nourished and sustained.”
Through the AwardSpring platform, TMU offers various bursaries and scholarships for international students, including the International Student Emergency Bursary for those who are experiencing “unanticipated financial need.”
Baltodano once applied for an emergency bursary from TMU but was denied since her situation was “anticipated” and not “reactive.”
However, Isbister does not think restrictions on international students are “nearly as bad” as they are for foreign workers.
According to the Government of Canada website, changing jobs requires migrant workers to apply for an entirely new work permit, thus throwing much uncertainty and risk into the process.
Negin “No Name” Khodayari
Gabriela “Just A Baby” Silva Ponte Dexter “Headphones” LeRuez Anastasia “Breaking Debut” Blosser
According to the Government of Canada website, academic sources estimate that 20,000 to 500,000 undocumented people were living in Canada in 2022.
The website also states that approximately 599,300 work permits were issued in 2021, while Statista reports that over 800,000 individuals held study permits in 2022.
Tomoya Obokata, a United Nations Special Rapporteur declared ways “contemporary forms of slavery” are seen on work permit limitations for foreign workers after his 14-day visit to the country. Like Rho, he hopes for the end of the closed work permit system.
Giulianna Saucedo, an international fourth-year creative industries student at TMU, thinks the aforementioned exception made by the Canadian government in November 2022 should be in place all the time.
“I think we should be allowed to work because being an international student is expensive and the city’s expensive,” she said.
Baltodano said creating more bursaries and scholarships for international students would be “really useful.”
“There’s so few and they are so competitive to get. There should be more [grade point average], meritbased scholarships and bursaries as well, because there’s only an emergency bursary,” she said.
Baltodano’s father lost his job, causing her family financial hardship. “The only solution that [TMU] gave me was that I could pay [tuition] in installments with interest,” she said.
The Eyeopener reached out to the school for comment but did not receive a response before printing.
John Isbister, a professor in the department of economics at TMU, said migrant workers are trapped with their initial employer with little ability to change jobs, putting them at a “terrible disadvantage.”
“When [international students are] first approved to come into the country, they’re not approved as workers, they’re approved as students,” he said. “It’s a whole different process and the criteria are quite different. So, I don’t think it’s an outrage that their ability to work is restricted in some way.”
According to Isbister, the main way that students are being “exploited” is through high tuition fees in comparison to Canadian students.
Baltodano said the limitation of work hours and high cost of living has caused her stress and anxiety.
“It makes me feel anxious about whether I’m going to be able to earn enough money to afford living here in Toronto while also being a student,” she said. “It has definitely been a huge stress factor.”
Brithi “Illustration Wiz” Sehra Sammy “Efficiency” Kogan Jerry “Plz Sleep” Zhang
Madeline “Scoot Scoot” Liao Shaki “Corporate” Sutharsan
Kinza “Concert Guru” Zafar
Arts and Culture
Danielle “Carried Two Pages” Reid
Business and Technology
Jake “She A Rebel” MacAndrew
Bana “Hater” Yirgalem
Ilyas “Rawr” Hussein
Rho highlighted how 20 months ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised equality and fairness to ensure permanent resident status for all, including undocumented people, migrant workers and students.
“It’s the only mechanism to ensure that people can speak up and leave bad jobs, to get health care, life saving health care, to study and work here with full protections and to simply be with our family or friends and our loved ones without fear of deportation,” said Rho.
She said it’s “powerful” to see current and former international students uniting with migrant workers and refugees to “fight for our rights and dignity together.”
Baltodano also said a lot of people, including herself, are relying on being able to work a few extra hours to “sustain themselves economically here in Canada.”
Although Saucedo has never experienced “exploitation per se,” she has noticed that a lot of employers are not familiar with study permit limitations for international students.
In a meeting with The Eye, TMU president Mohamed Lachemi highlighted the Career Boost international program, which employs “more than 100 international students” on campus each year. He said this program ensures that both international and domestic students are “supervised in a respective and fair way.”
Lachemi pointed to TMU’s Job Search Club for those not looking to be employed by Career Boost.
“The Job Search Club for international students in particular gives [students] an opportunity to expand their network, develop [a] career, job search skills and learn how to self-advocate through sessions where they can learn about employment standards and strategy negotiations in Canada,” said Lachemi.
Advocates, like Rho, believe a solution to the exploitation of foreign workers is quite clear.
“There’s a simple solution,” says Rho. “Which is for [Trudeau] to keep the promise he made 20 months ago and ensure full and permanent immigration status for all.”
Daniella “$500 Richer” Lopez
Fun and Satire
Joshua “Always First” Chang
Konnor “Party Safe” Killoran
Vanessa “Corn Poppin” Kauk
Nishil “Got Paid!” Kapadia
Sam “Will Get Paid!” Chowdhury
Liane “Fingers Crossed” McLarty
J.D. “Knock On Wood” Mowat
Marissa “Have” Nguyen
Maia “Little” Roobaert
Alex “Helpers” Sutherland
Todd “Tha Godd” Ash-Duah
Alex “Frankie Era” Wauthy
Matthew “Iceman” Lin
Mikayla “From The Vault” Guarasci
Vanessa “Feach Queen Era”
Maya “Sauga Sis“ Zaid
Zarmminaa “Fun Mother” Rehman
Shaye-Love “Ninth-Floor Enthusiast” Salcedo
Krishika “Rory Gilmore” Jethani
Nalyn “Gliding Through Stories”
Mansha “Cozy Cup of Cocoa”
Kayla “Multi-Multi-Hyphenate” Thompson
Gavin “Journo Chief” Axelrod
Frankie “The” Falcon
“I think we should be allowed to work because being an international student is expensive”
“International students...do the frontline essential work that keeps our communities nourished and sustained”
“It makes me feel anxious about whether I’m going to be able to earn enough money to afford living here”BRITHI SEHRA/THE EYEOPENER
Indigenous volleyball player celebrates her culture through sport
is when it finally “clicked” for her team. “Everyone was giving each other hugs and telling them how proud they were of everyone. It was awesome,” said Wilson.
Although the team may not have brought home a medal, Wilson said the event was about improving their skills and coming together as a team to achieve their goals—regardless of how big or small they may be. She credits her mother for teaching her that it’s more important to improve and learn new skills than to worry about taking home a gold medal.By Mikayla Guarasci
When Adyson Wilson returned for her third Ontario University Athletics season with the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold women’s volleyball team, she came with lessons learned from her first head coaching experience—one that was deeply intertwined with and celebrated her Indigenous culture.
Wilson was selected to lead the under-16 (U16) Indigenous Team Ontario boys volleyball team at the 2023 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Halifax.
it’s not their fault,” she added.
“They’re not who textbooks make them out to be. They are much more kind and giving.”
The third-year outside hitter got into volleyball at a very young age because of her family’s involvement in sports. During her childhood in Fort Frances, Ont., she grew up around volleyball while her mother was coaching various teams and playing in a women’s league. As she got older, Wilson was invited to participate in Team Ontario Indoor High Performance camps and play for Team Ontario Beach. During that time, she was scouted as someone who could play at a higher level.
“One of the coaches there asked [my mother] if I wanted to move or if I ever thought about playing volleyball at a higher level and I was like ‘of course,’” Wilson recalled.
“I just applied and they told me that I got it because of how long I’d been with volleyball—coaching and playing wise. I’ve been coaching eight or nine years already,” Wilson said.
She had previous coaching experience, beginning with soccer when she was 12 and then coaching at many different levels with her mother. Yet, the NAIG would be her first opportunity to lead a team as a head coach. Even though it wasn’t on the same roster, Wilson had her mother by her side in Halifax to help her.
“It was kind of intimidating,” Wilson said about coaching at the same event as her mother.
never played together as a team, many had been opponents on their high school courts. After being selected to coach with only a short time to prepare for the event, Wilson was not able to see any players—besides one—in-person. As a result, she had to carefully examine hours of video footage to choose the best team.
Wilson can see herself back at the NAIG when they are set to be hosted in Calgary in 2027. She hopes to coach the same group of boys, but at the U19 level.
For those who attend the NAIG in the future, Wilson wants them to know that it’s not just for Indigenous people, and that it’s an opportunity to learn about Indigenous culture.
“It’s a very calm way to learn about Indigenous traditions and culture. It’s not forced on you in a classroom, it’s very learn at your own pace,” she said.
The NAIG brings together Indigenous youth athletes from across the continent to participate in 16 sports during the summer. The event combines Indigenous culture and sport, something Wilson appreciated and said is her “favourite thing” about the games.
Wilson is Ojibwe and from Rainy River First Nations in Treaty 3. Until recently, Wilson didn’t fully know what her Indigenous heritage meant to her.
“I knew I was fair-skinned and a lot of my family had darker skin, so I struggled with that a bit. Why am I not as dark as them?” she said. “Reading through textbooks and stories about Indigenous people, I just felt really bad about that part of myself.”
It wasn’t until recently that Wilson was introduced to her people’s history in school.
“I took a course in high school about Indigenous literature for an English credit. I learned about all of the racism and issues that my people have experienced and
The conversation with the coach and her mother made her realize that she could grow as a volleyball player and play beyond high school. When Wilson was 16, she and her family moved to Burlington, Ont., allowing her to play club volleyball. This gave her a chance to continue improving her skills and she started playing club at the under-17 level.
“Coaching at the Indigenous Games, that was my very first time head coaching and she has been doing it for so long, so she knows what needs to be done,” she said. “As a mom, she’s going to tell me what I’m doing wrong and what I’m doing right.”
The boys on Wilson’s U16 team were from all over the province, many of them from north or northwestern Ontario. Although they had
Before they left for the tournament, the team spent no time together in-person. Instead, they held weekly Zoom calls to go over plays, mental wellness and complete teambuilding activities—tasks that can be difficult online.
During the tournament, the team sat down to set realistic goals, with one being to win a game at the event. They accomplished by winning their game against Saskatchewan—a moment Wilson recalls as her most memorable. This game
Her newfound knowledge from coaching could lead to a full circle moment—back to where she began as a young girl standing on the sideline as her mother’s assistant coach. Perhaps it’ll be with a university team next. But for now, Wilson will turn her attention to the TMU women’s volleyball team, where she will take her lessons learned this summer in their quest for a successful season.
“A lot of times, I have a hard time connecting my culture and sport because they are very different, especially in Toronto, we don’t really have any Indigenous culture here,” said Wilson. “My favourite thing is bringing them both together and celebrating them at the same time.”
One of her opportunities to play at a high level was when Wilson herself played in the 2017 NAIG in Toronto. Her mother, who was the coach at the Games in 2017, was heading to Halifax to coach the under-19 (U19) girls in the 2023 Games and heard that the U16 boys still needed a coach. After participating in the event as an athlete, Wilson returned to the NAIG—this time around with a new role.
“It’s a very calm way to learn about Indigenous traditions and culture”
“I knew I was fair-skinned and a lot of my family had darker skin, so I struggled with that a bit”
“A lot of times, I have a hard time connecting my culture and sport”
“As a mom, she’s going to tell me what I’m doing wrong and what I’m doing right”SAMMY KOGAN/THE EYEOPENER SAMMY KOGAN/THE EYEOPENER
TMU’s Pow Wow brings Indigenous nations together for a celebration
A student-led Pwaaganigaawin (Pow Wow) is held since the renaming of the university with this year’s Pow Wow theme called “The Seven Generation”By Maya Zaid
Trigger Warning: This story contains mentionsofaddiction
Disclaimer: Gabrielle McMann, a source in the story is a journalism student. However, this didn’t jepordize the integrity of the piece.
On a sunny Saturday in late September, Gabrielle McMann, a thirdyear journalism student at Toronto Metropoliton Univeristy (TMU) and a proud member of the Ojibwe from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, found herself seated outside Kerr Hall Quad. She gazed upon the empty seats and tables knowing that, before long, they would be filled with all kinds of people from differing Indigenous communities for this year’s Pow Wow.
According to the Stal’we Pow Wow website, a Pow Wow is “an Indigenous gathering of dance, song and family celebration.” The gathering welcomes people of different Indigenous cultures throughout Turtle Island to celebrate the diversity of one another. Everyone is welcomed, including non-Indigenous people, who are encouraged to attend for a valuable and educational experience.
On Oct. 17, 1998, a student named Raven Davis organized the first traditional Pow Wow in Toronto, themed “Reaching for The Future, and Honouring our Past.” It was hosted by the then newly created Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services, which is now TMU Indigenous Student Services.
According to Toronto Metropolitan University’s (TMU) Pow Wow website, since 2019, 21 years after the first Pow Wow, three others have launched.
In 2019, the Pow Wow expanded to a week of Educational Programming. In 2020, it went digital due to COVID-19. In 2021, it was renamed ‘X University Pow Wow’ in solidarity with the “Wreckonciliation movement,” demanding the removal of the Ryerson name linked to cultural genocide and trauma.
“These events and celebratory gatherings were taken from us during colonization. It took us a long time to be able to actually get back here and to be celebrating and to have the community involved in these events,” said McMann, who is the social media, communications and design lead for this year’s Pow Wow.
“It’s really about showing [that] we’re still here and we still gather… You didn’t erase us,” she said.
The official opening of the Pow Wow is the grand entry and the opening prayer, led by veterans, flag carriers and head dancers. Stand-
ing and removing hats is the protocol during this opening, unless one’s ability or mobility is preventative, according to the Canadian Pow Wows’ website. The same site outlines how Pow Wow etiquette should be reviewed by attendees.
For this year’s Pow Wow, the theme was “The Seventh Generation,” which is an “Indigenous concept to think of the seventh generation coming after you in your words, work and actions and to remember the seventh generation who came before you.”
McMann shared that the seventh generation for the Pow Wow can have individualistic perspectives.
“That’s kind of really beautiful because everyone can think about their own ancestors, but also their people now and their future families.”
The Pow Wow was put together with many different components such as the master of ceremonies, arena director, host drum and cohost drum, invited drummers, head dancers, community elders and knowledge keepers.
The event also showcased traditional dances such as the potato dance and war cry.
Anthony Gladue, the Pow Wow’s arena director and a traditional dancer, is a member of the Kehewin Cree Nation and Plains Cree Mako Clan. Gladue joined the festivities as Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin of Toronto—which translates to, “the kind man of Toronto” in English.
“[This] is one of the smaller Pow Wows I’ve seen this year, but the beautiful atmosphere of this Pow Wow is amazing,” said Gladue. “[I’m] just honoured to just have been asked to do the arena director
and follow protocols as best as we can.”
He said, that “educating our people and the ones that lost their language, their culture, their dance and this is why I’m here to make sure we are following those protocols.”
As a knowledge keeper and respected Uncle of the Indigenous community, Gladue is acknowledged by his respective communities as an ‘Elder,’ also known as ‘Uncle’ or ‘Aunty,’ through his lifetime of learned teachings and earned respect. Different communities have defined protocols for being an Elder. Gender and age do not play a role in identifying individuals as elders. As a knowledge keeper, Gladue possesses traditional wisdom and proficiency across various spiritual and cultural domains.
Gladue works as the coordinator at Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre. The centre provides counseling, essential services like affordable housing, food banks and a seasonal clothing depot as well as spiritual and personal services.
The centre works to reconnect men who’ve been convicted of violent charges and domestic abuse through ceremony, language, songs and dance.
textiles, jewelry, makeup and footwear, such as moccasins and accessories such as headbands, arm bands, breastplates, roaches, shawls, anklets, dance sticks and hackles.” The website also states the regalia is “living art that holds the history of the individual, reflecting the connection to their ancestors, family members and clan.”
According to the Carrier Sekani Family Services website, while the regalia can be handed down through generations, handmade by family members or crafted by the individual, there is a process in attaining your regalia.
“Before you get your regalia, you first have to get your hereditary chief name,” the site states. “After that it is up to your clan to decide when you are ready for your regalia. They observe how you behave in the Bah’lats and in the community before they tell you that you’re ready.”
Saga Kwandibens, a member of the Ojibiwe-Cree and Loona clan is a fancy shawl dancer like her family, and she mentors her three-year-old daughter Leila Kwandibens on their style of dance.
The Kwandibens family comes from a generation of residential school survivors and Kwandibens’ grandmother found that addictions came with being a product of the residential school system. Kwandibens said her grandmother had found herself once again through the power of dance.
as The Lady of The Moon and it was her first time seeing her work being displayed.
“It feels like a part of me is really being seen that people don’t know about. I love beading and it’s part of my culture, it’s part of my family,” Trudeau said.
As the songs of the Pow Wow filled her ears and she’s surrounded by the drummers and colourful regalias, she’s brought back to her roots.
“I love seeing people in regalia. I see the regalia like the soul on the outside of the body. [It’s] not just to see people dressed but to see people dance their souls out,” Trudeau said. “Especially the kids, they’re the next generation and the fact that they’re here dancing today is just proof of how strong and resilient we are as people.”
Twin sisters, Edie and Jaquelyn Assinewe, were returning vendors at the Pow Wow and are the cofounders of Assinewe Jewelry. They
“It’s our now and it’s our history and there could never be enough educating on that”
are Anishnaabe artists from the Sagamok Anishinabek First Nations (Sagamo-ninii-kweg yaawiwag).
As a TMU alumni and graduate of the retail management program, “It’s been really good to still be connected to the school because we get considered for other opportunities,” said Edie. The sisters hosted a Clay Earring Making Workshop at TMU for Indigenous Education Week. Jaquelyn, who recently graduated from the fashion management program at Humber College says that even though her sister’s beadwork and her clay earrings aren’t the typical regalia pieces that are off-limits to non-Indigenous people, it’s still nice to show appreciation for the culture.
Gladue said when he attended the Rama Pow Wow, it re-ignited the “spark in his belly” when he was struggling through addictions and losing his ceremony, songs and dance.
He is currently in the process of regaining his regalia, which is a traditional and sacred clothing. According to The Canadian Encyclopedia website, regalia can include “woven
“What got her out of that was our culture, our dance [and] our traditional ceremonial ways,” said Kwandibens. “[Ever] since I was born, it [was] all about tradition and continuing it onto the next generation because we can because she survived and we’re here.”
Maya Trudeau, a second-year Image Arts student has been a beader since she was ten-years-old and is a member of Odawa-Objibwe Kwe. She joined the Pow Wow vendors
As the community moves forward to reconciliation, revitalization and reclamation, the importance of being allies to Indigenous communities is crucial for the future. Kwandibens believes it’s important that many are out here supporting and seeing the truths of Indigenous history.
“It’s ours now and it’s our history and there could never be enough educating on that,” said Kwandibens. She continued to add that dark histories within the residential school system are still happening and aren’t history.
“But the more allies out here, the more people who know, the more people who hear what’s going on, the more people that are looking out for Indigenous people and respect.”
“It’s really about showing [that] we’re still here and we still gather...You didn’t erase us”
“This is one of the smaller Pow Wows I’ve seen this year, but the beautiful atmosphere of this Pow Wow is amazing”
During a stormy winter night in late December 2021, Fiona Fairbairn, a fourth-year creative industries student at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), hovers her finger over TikTok’s red ‘post’ button. While posting on social media wasn’t new for Fairbairn, this time is different. She had taken a year’s long break from social media—a way to reset her online image. And now, she is about to post her first video to the app that will change her online image forever.
She hits the post button and immediately taps refresh to see the video pop up on her page with 20 followers.
“Fuck it. 2022 is my dumb bitch era. I’m sick of perceiving. I’m sick of being observational. I’m sick of being self-aware. Just let me be dumb,” the video on Fairbairn’s screen starts, repeating the words she had just recorded herself saying.
Fairbairn drags down on her profile again, refreshing to see the engagement with her post. She sees the number soar, far beyond what she was expecting. She refreshes again, again and again. She sits and watches the view, like and follower counts on her page, @gsgetlonelytoo, skyrocket. Her 20 followers quickly changes to 200 and then 2,000.
“I couldn’t even get off my phone because I was in shock that
it was going so viral,” she says. Three days later, Fairbairn finds her account sitting at around 100,000 followers. Soon enough, local and international media out- lets—like the Toronto Star and Vogue—are reporting on Fairbairn’s ‘Bimbo Manifesto,’ her self-proclaimed TikTok series on how to act as a conventionally attractive airhead to get exactly what you want.
Currently, Fairbairn boasts over 180,000 followers on the app and has collaborated with brands, including MAC Cosmetics. With this newfound success, Fairbairn understands that she had to keep this momentum going. “Once you start, you have to be consistent if you actually want to build a following and do these things,” she says.
As a full-time student, Fairbairn has noticed that TikTok’s algorithmic demands had become extremely overwhelming to keep up with. When she first amassed a following, she kept herself consistent by posting three videos a day. “But obviously, life happens,” she says. “And I don’t think people realize that content is actually hard to make.”
With a rite of passage of going viral seemingly overnight,
TMU TikTok creators are using their platforms for both social and career opportunities. While leveraging the benefits of the novel and popular app, these students are getting creative in navigating TikTok’s challenging algorithmic landscape.
Bree McEwan, associate professor at the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology at the University of Toronto (U of T), says TikTok varies from other platforms due to how users interact with others on the app.
Many social media platforms, such as Instagram, are focused on pushing content to what’s known as a fixed network—people in users’ social circles they generally interact with. However, TikTok pushes content beyond those who people typically interact with.
McEwan says that because TikTok’s algorithm encourages more public content creation, people often get surprised if they have a video that “blows up” beyond the small network they intended to reach. “It’s a little bit of a casino game. We know that TikTok will reward some winners so that other people will keep playing the game,” she says.
According to a 2022 Statista survey, Canadians aged 18 to 29 make up the largest portion of users on TikTok, accounting for
43 per cent of total users in the country. And while managing a double life of online virality and working towards a degree seems like a unique endeavour for Fairbairn, she isn’t alone in this dynamic journey.
after they go viral, building a personal brand and commoditizing it as soon as possible. Commoditization includes merchandise they may sell or brand connections they may make.
However, Foster says a factor often overlooked in this exchange is that “influencer” work is quite challenging as it’s timeconsuming and isn’t often done for a great deal of pay. The influencer economy is generally contract-driven work, so creatives can never be sure when they will get their next gig or paycheck.
Foster explains that TikTok algorithms favour the production of a series of videos in one day or multiple times a week. “This is going to compel creatives online to do more work for not a lot of money,” he says. Many of the videos on TikTok are created without pay but are content that the platform benefits from. Foster defines this as a kind of “exploitative labour.”
Ever since Angel Nayyar was young, she knew she wanted to go big on social media. Nayyar, a fourth-year Image Arts student at TMU, started her digital journey on Instagram. With a dream of being a “grunge Instagram girl,” she would do whatever it took to get her content reposted by larger accounts and grow her audience—from posting her latest outfits to learning the photography techniques of popular alternative fashion accounts.
But Nayyar says she found it extremely difficult to get larger alternative fashion pages to repost her photographs as she noticed they weren’t as likely to repost photos from racialized creatives. “Not being reflected in the type of people that my social media was showing me had instilled in me that [content creation] wasn’t something I could do,” she says.
While everyone else was most likely getting a good night’s sleep, Nayyar would stay up until the early morning, sitting in bed and taking notes on social media strategy videos on YouTube. “I actually studied a lot,” she says. “I kind of took it like a schooltype assignment.”
One day in October 2020, Nayyar was watching a strategy video that caught her atten tion—the videomaker claims TikTok was running a promotional campaign to spotlight small accounts. The video recommended that its viewers create a TikTok account as they had a good chance of going viral and reaching new audiences.
Nayyar heeded the video’s advice and decided to try her hand at a new platform. After creating her account under the username @angelphroot, she began posting videos, introducing herself to the world as an “alt-creator.” Little did she know, the advice from the video would work—the eighth video Nayyar uploaded to the platform would be the one that catapulted her account to fame.
“Hey! You have encountered an alt Indian girl,” the first set of onscreen text of the 14-second video reads. Nayyar can be seen dancing to “Coffin” by American rapper Lil Yachty, wearing black platform boots, ripped tights and chains around her neck and leg. In the video’s caption, she asks viewers to comment their favourite colour—a strategy, Nayyar says, to drive interaction.
Generating interaction is exactly what the video did. From one video alone, Nayyar’s account grew by 24,000 followers. Today, that video stands with over 825,000 views and 212,000 likes.
While Nayyar attributes much of her success to understanding and dissecting TikTok’s complicated algorithm, she also attributes her virality to luck. “The potential for growth on TikTok is unlike anything else,” she says.
Jordan Foster, PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at U of T and professional instructor, says the appeal to become “influential” on a social media platform is because it can be empowering for people. “Especially marginalized people who may not have had that sort of reach or opportunities to connect with other people,” he says.
This appeal of becoming an influencer is distinguished especially among the younger generation. According to a 2019 survey conducted by Morning Consult, 54 per cent of people aged 13 to 38 would become an influencer in the United States if given the opportunity, while 86 per cent of those surveyed say they are willing to post sponsored content for money.
Foster noted the difficulties of balancing studying full-time while simultaneously attempting to maintain momentum on TikTok. For individuals who might be performing well on the platform, he says they may be faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to pursue their TikTok careers full-time and step back from school. “The longevity of a career in this space is fundamentally unknown, so there’s a great deal of risk in pursuing [TikTok full-time],” he says.
Along with achieving a certain degree of fame, another alluring aspect of becoming popular on TikTok is the potential business connections that creators can make. Foster says the most financially successful influencers are clever with what they do
“You’re moving from contract to contract to contract,” he says.
In July 2020, TikTok launched the Creator Fund, which allows users to earn money based on their content’s views and engagement. Creators are paid based on how well their videos perform and it entirely depends on the number and authenticity of views and the level of engagement with the content. However, Canadian users are not eligible for the Creator Fund.
The only avenue for Canadian TikTok creators to get paid for their videos on the app is through brand collaborations or associations. Although, these partnerships tend not to perform very well on the platform. Foster says this is partly due to TikTok’s algorithm disincentivizing the use of #Ad—a legal disclosure that must be made for sponsored content. Ads also tend not to perform as well since young people are keenly aware of the advertised content and aren’t interested in seeing it, so they scroll away.
Because of this, many TikTok creators, including Nayyar, rely on other social media platforms or collaborations to generate revenue for their content. Nayyar had been using Instagram Reels Play, a program that allows users to earn money on their short video Instagram uploads, known as Reels. Yet, back in March, she had trouble receiving payments from the Meta platform and couldn’t contact anybody about it since Instagram has no human-operated customer support. Instead, the company has an ‘Instagram Help Centre’ where people can find their own solutions with an array of answers to frequently asked questions.
“I had an issue where they didn’t pay me for over a year and they owed me like $4,000,” says Nayyar. “They paid me, but they were $500 short.”
For those planning on collaborating with brands and companies in sponsored videos, Foster says creators should feel empowered to ask for what they want—whether it be a fair wage or speaking their truth about the product to their audience. He also recommends that contracts have conditions built into them that allow creators to withdraw if they no longer feel like backing a certain product.
When Huynh started making videos, she didn’t have a particular niche, which made it more difficult for her to come up with unique content while balancing academics. Huynh devised a new approach of incorporating both domains of her life to balance school and content-creating. “I realized I can just go to school every day and then take out my phone for five seconds every couple of minutes just to come up with a video,” says Huynh. “Now people know me as the girl who does TMU vlogs.”
“Here is how much money I spent today as a university student in Toronto,” says Huynh in the opening of one of her hightempo, daily vlogs. When Huynh started to post content that pertained to a certain niche, she noticed the view counts on her videos also increased.
While creating content on-the-go is a great way to save time, McEwan raises some safety concerns that can come with filming your every move. “When you open yourself up to a very flexible and very large audience, not everybody in the audience is going to be a good actor,” McEwan says.
Using geotags or filming in distinguishable areas, like TMU’s campus, can allow people to start recognizing TikTok creators’ daily routines—something McEwan says causes a potential for danger. “We don’t know how data can be pieced together in the back end.” She recommends users be aware of their filming locations and how much they share with potentially larger audiences that may not be accounted for.
Huynh’s family has been supportive of her social media journey but they have concerns about her TikTok-creating impacting her academics. “They’ll be supportive one second, but then when a video of mine blew up and got 10 million views, they were like, ‘don’t let this get in the way of your studies.’”
Through her lifestyle videos and Toronto-based content, Kaitlyn Huynh, a third-year business and law student at TMU, has become all too familiar with working on brand collaborations over the past year.
Huynh shares a TikTok account with her twin sister, Kristin, under the username @huynhtwins. Their account boasts close to 28,000 followers and has amassed 4.8 million likes. Like Fairbairn and Nayyar, their page went viral overnight—gathering over 7,000 followers in a week after posting a Valentine’s Day joke in February 2022: “It’s 2/2/22. Ask them to be your valentine. Don’t know how? Just send them this,” the text on the video reads, as a hypnotic black and white swirl appears on-screen with mantras to become someone’s valentine.
For Huynh, balancing brand content expec tations with schoolwork has become stress ful. “It’s hard because they expect deadlines and some of them expect multiple videos a month,” she says. “It gets stressful, but at the same time, it feels like a good accomplishment.”
Huynh has also become aware that her sponsored posts tend to receive less engagement than her regular videos. This discourages her as she feels like brands won’t feel incentivized to collaborate with her if they see her sponsored posts receive less interaction.
While Huynh says she doesn’t feel pressured to post from her audience or the brands she’s collaborated with, she does feel pressure from TikTok’s algorithm to not fall behind in her posting. “I feel like I want to have constant engagement,” Hunyh says. “Something about seeing very little notifications when I log on makes me feel like I need to keep posting more.”
While Huynh doesn’t foresee herself dropping out of her program to pursue TikTok full-time, she says her account has opened up a lot of future career ideas. She is now considering the possibility of becoming a social media marketer who works with companies and uses social media to promote products or services. “Not an influencer, because I don’t think I’ll ever get to that level,” she says.
Over a year and a half after Fairbairn achieved virality, she says she’s still grappling with adjusting to people’s reactions to seeing her in public. Fairbairn says she often has people recognize her on TMU’s campus and come up to chat with her. Even while on her semester exchange in Amsterdam with The Creative School last spring, Fairbairn says many fans of hers would go up to her and ask for a photograph. “I’m not a celebrity, but then it’s kind of like, ‘Wow, people really know me,’” she says.
While Fairbairn has worked on many brand collaborations and has gone to events because of her TikTok success, she says she is constantly dealing with imposter syndrome. “I’m like, ‘Why would you want a picture of me? It’s just me,’” she says.
TikTok has opened many other doors for Fairbairn outside of the brand collaborations, including modelling and acting opportunities. Fairbairn says these opportunities have cemented her interest in a career path in media, “I think this was confirmation that this is really what’s meant for me because I’m a creative person,” she says.
For the future, Fairbairn is shifting her focus towards continuing to develop her podcast, “The Bimbo Manifesto,” and YouTube channel. She says she is focused on overcoming her imposter syndrome and realizing her full potential in the creative industry.
“If I can make a living off content creating, I would absolutely love to do that,” she says. “It just takes motivation and consistency.
TMU film school alum wins “Best Canadian Short Film” at TIFFBy Danielle Reid
After winning Best Director at the 2019 Cana dian Screen Awards for her debut, Jasmin Mozaffari’s emotionally gripping film, Motherland, took home the Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Film at the 2023 Toronto In ternational Film Festival (TIFF).
Drawing directly from her family’s personal history, Motherland is about a young man who must contend with the realities of being an im migrant in the United States (U.S.) amid the 1979 Iranian Hostage Crisis.
The protagonist, Babak (Behtash Fazlali), based on Mozaffari’s late father, takes a trip to meet his white fiancée’s parents for the first time — a story inspired by the director’s own parents’ experience in the late 1970s.
In an interview with The Eyeopener maker and Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) film school alumna, spoke about the emotions involved with writing and directing a film so closely tied to her family. “I think there’s some catharsis in exploring stories that are con nected to your personal experience,” she said.
Mozaffari said that, for her, a way to honour her father who passed away 10 years ago.
“Writing about him and his stories feels like a way to get closer to him even in his death,” she said. “He was such a mystery to me. He has gone through all this stuff… but we didn’t talk about it a lot in detail.”
“His motherland of Iran was a source of pain
and love at the same time, ” she said.
The inspiration to create a film that truthfully portrayed the Iranian immigrant experience in the U.S. stemmed partly from a letter her father wrote to her which she opened after his passing.
“He said, ‘Remember, you are Iranian and be proud of being Iranian’ and I really always remembered that to this day,” she recalled.
Mozaffari touched on the lack of accurate representation of Iranian people on screen, especially in major Hollywood blockbusters. After looking into past movies that attempted to portray Iranian immigrants, she found the existing examples were “horrible.”
Mozaffari referred to films such as Argo (2012) starring Ben Affleck, House of Sound and Fog (2003) and Not Without My Daughter (1991), stating, “These are the examples we have of our narrative and they’re terrible.”
“We need to see more stories about West Asian people that are not terrorists, that are not stereotypes and I just want to be a small part of dismantling that narrative in North American media.”
also a way to talk about what was happening around the U.S. with the Iranian Hostage Crisis. The film explores “themes of assimilation, feeling uprooted from your home and losing your identity,” Mozaffari said.
According to Britannica, the Iranian Hostage Crisis was a diplomatic conflict between the U.S. and Iran in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. On Nov. 4, 1979, a student militant group in Iran seized 66 American citizens at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and successfully captured 52 for a turbulent 444 days. The hostages were released in 1981 following negotiations between the two countries, however, the ordeal would go on to sever Iranian-U.S. relations for decades to come.
In a patriotic, post-Vietnam America, the crisis ignited widespread moral panic in the U.S. towards Iranian immigrants, including Mozaffari’s father.
“It just became this sudden fear where on billboards, on TV, in magazines and on the radio, there’s this hatred towards you,” she said of the experience of Iranian immigrants at the time.
“On campuses there were deep clashes between American students and Iranian students and some resulted in violence,” she said. “I learned my dad was involved in a violent confrontation in a campus pub, where he was almost attacked by a group of mostly white men.”
She said the research involved with creating Motherland got her even more “fired-up” to write the film. “I didn’t show that [altercation] in the film, but my research was so fascinating.”
traying the story. “I think because I grew up in Canada and I’m mixed, I said ‘I have to make sure I’m doing this right. I can’t just be assuming that I know [what it was like] just because it’s my father.’”
The month-long research process took on many forms including going through American journalism archives, particularly in the New York Times, to find out what life was actually like for Iranian [immigrants]. “It was much worse than I portray in the film.”
Stylistically, the writer/director made very
She recalled her experience as a film student in 2013 where she felt, at the time, that there was a general misunderstanding towards the stories she and some of her classmates wanted to tell, especially stories from a queer and racialized perspective.
With the majority of her classes largely dominated by white men, she had to remain true to what she wanted to create and honour her own voice. “I had to be like, ‘film school is my environment to try things, it’s not an environment to please professors or get certain grades because that’s not what matters right now,’” she said.
deliberate choices in the creation of Motherland, shooting entirely on a film camera which she hadn’t done since her TMU short, Firecrackers
According to Mozaffari, shooting on film allowed her to visually capture the time frame of the late 1970s. “I didn’t want it to feel like a cheesy period imitation and the ’70s is really hard to get right.”
The soundtrack was also an essential part of capturing the authenticity of the time. The music was heavy with Persian influence and incorporated the work of well known Iranian musicians such as pre-revolutionary folk musician, Kourosh Yaghmaei.
While her movies have received significant awards and acclaim, as a student, Mozaffari had to work hard to stay true to her vision.
When asked about the advice she would give to current film students, Mozaffari wants to encourage them to worry less about a number grade and to see school as an opportunity to try new things and make mistakes.
“Just try to make the best film every time you’re given an assignment,” she said. “Think about character pieces…and learn how to direct actors. It’s not about how much money you have, it’s [about learning] how to work with individual actors and make something interesting.”
As audiences watch Motherland, Mozaffari hopes they will continue to become more curious about the Iranian Hostage Crisis, which is not often spoken about in modern society.
“Think about what it’s like for West Asian people as they’ve come up [in North America], as they’ve faced prejudice…and challenge the stereotypes they may have grown up hearing about us.”
Scan here to listen to this week’s playlist curated by The Eye masthead!
In honour of Nuit Blanche, the theme is “All-Nighters”
‘Motherland’ is a personal exploration of the director’s father’s experience as an immigrant amid the Iranian Hostage Crisis
“I just want to be a small part of dismantling that narrative”
“Think about what it’s like for West Asian people”CALVIN THOMAS/JASMIN MOZAFFARI
Artist captures “queer joy” with Nuit Blanche installationBy Kayla Thompson and Danielle Reid
Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) PhD student, instructor and artist, Stephen Severn explored themes of identity with their art installation “Forticulture” during Nuit Blanche this weekend.
From sunset to sunrise, people of all ages celebrated the city’s finest artists during the free, all-night event consisting of exhibitions across downtown Toronto, Etobicoke and Scarborough.
The festival has been a staple in the city’s arts scene since it was adopted from the Paris festival by the same name in 2006. It has since become a night for Torontonians and tourists to explore the city’s rich culture and for Toronto-based contemporary artists like Severn to showcase their work in safe, public and renowned spaces.
“I would always go to Nuit Blanche and imagine myself in it one day so it’s really exciting to be a part of it now,” Severn told The Eyeopener
Supported by the Visual Artists Creation grant funded by Toronto Arts Council, Severn’s Forticulture is a papier-mâché, leaf-like sculpture, composed of printed copies of queer and transphobic articles. The leaves, painted over with dynamic patterns and bright colours, symbolize how “threats to queer identity have been hidden
behind a thin veneer of coded-language,” according to the project’s official Nuit Blanche bio.
Their work is a unique interpretation of this year’s theme, “Breaking Ground.” According to the City of Toronto website, artists were encouraged to create pieces that analyzed the impacts of climate change and how the devel opment of Toronto’s urban landscapes impacts communities. “I was thinking about strengthbuilding, hence the ‘fort’ in Forticulture and then also horticulture being plant-related. Plants coming out of the ground.”
Severn said their objective is to evoke “queer joy” in their audiences, as a method of “resis tance and refusal.”
The process of creating Forticulture was selfexplanatory for Severn who, during the monthlong endeavor of passionately painting flowers at home, realized that they weren’t experiencing joy due to time constraints.
“So then I thought, ‘this isn’t working. This isn’t the point of this exercise.’ I de cided to slow down, take my time and sa vour the process. I’ve learned to appreciate the journey more,” Severn said.
Not only is Severn a skilled multidis ciplinary artist, they’re also a committed PhD student studying media and design innovation at TMU, blending their creative endeavors with theory and academia. “I’m fortunate to tailor all my artistic projects to
challenging misconceptions about queerness, they emphasize that Forticulture’s artistic expression is more emotionally driven than grounded in their research. “The purpose of Forticulture isn’t necessarily to preach or teach queer theory. While changing minds
their primary focus is on advancing their PhD studies, engaging in teaching at the TMU School of Interior Design, and allowing themselves much-needed rest after the challenging yet rewarding preparations for their debut exhibit at Nuit Blanche.
TMU students recommend your next autumn readBy Mansha Sharma
Now that we’ve settled into a new semester, Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) campus is bustling with students cramming in coursework, running late to class and making quick stops to grab a delicious pumpkin-flavoured drink. Sadly, the excitement over the start of a new school year has died down and now we’re all left feeling a bit overwhelmed and trying our best to keep up with incessant deadlines.
As important as it is to stay on top of school work and deadlines before the rush sets in, taking a break is just as important. So in the few moments of peace between classes or while taking a break from the mountain of readings on their desks, some students have decided to take up reading as a fall activity. From self-help to murder mystery, here are five books TMU students recommend you read this autumn.
HowtoDotheWorkbyDr.NicoleLePera—Recommended by Marilyn Saad, fourth-year child and youth-care student
How to Do the Work: Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self by Dr. Nicole LePera is a self-help book based on holistic psychology. The book focuses on the understanding of oneself as a culmination of events, experiences and traumas to aid the healing journey.
Autumn marks the beginning of a new school year–and a new year means a whole new you. With this recommendation, you can make healing a top priority, even while focused on your academics. The book can help you decompress from the busyness of school and refocus on yourself. This novel, paired with a mug of hot chocolate, is the perfect way to begin rebranding as the new healthier version of you!
1984 by George Orwell—Recommended by Jennifer Smeh, second-year biology student
1984 by George Orwell is a dystopian book that focuses on a man who starts a rebellion against his totalitarian society. It focuses on the protagonist, Winston Smith, a member
of the political party in power as he pursues love and escapes from a controlling society. In an age of constant surveillance, he attempts to join an opposing secretive group working to overthrow the government. This novel produced the iconic quote “Big Brother is watching you” and remains relevant nearly 75 years after it was first published.
Thanksgiving for many is a time of large family reunions and “polite” discussions around politics and current events. The dread of having these conversations can have us preparing for any inevitable arguments that can ensue. 1984 can offer a quick introduction into topics like political systems and mass surveillance so you can easily follow along with those heated discussions.
Hallowe’enParty by Agatha Christie—
Recommended by Maggie Nguyen, first-year psychology student
Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie is a novel following detective Hercule Poirot as he investigates the murder of a young girl who dies shortly after claiming to have witnessed a murder. The book follows Poirot as he attempts to unveil the true circumstances behind the girl’s murder at a children’s Halloween party. This “whodunit” is part of the Hercule Poirot series but can be enjoyed independently from the other books in the collection.
As murder-mystery parties and true crime documentaries gain popularity, this novel will get you in the right mood to solve creepy and complicated problems. Plus, a movie adaptation by the name of A Haunting in Venice was released in theatres this year on Sept. 15. What’s better to get you ready for the upcoming spooky season than reading an enthralling murder-mystery you can now see on the big screen?
TheImportanceofBeingEarnest by Oscar Wilde—Recommended by Diva Kaushik, first-year psychology student
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a satirical comedic play. The play features two friends, Jack Worthing and Algernon Mincrieff who both invent new identities for themselves, “Earnest’’ and “Bunbury” without the other knowing. The protagonists use their respective facades as an excuse to skip out on parties and leave town. Algernon suspects that “Earnest’’ is a fake, which is ironic, because he is also using another identity for the same purposes. The play follows the two friends as they attempt to get married to people who know them each under false pretenses.
The best part of this seasonal is the enjoyment of choosing a brand new costume or identity to dress up as for Halloween. What relates to this more than a play focused entirely on tricking society with a false persona to get out of your responsibilities?
JurassicPark by Michael Crichton—Recommended by Emen Trussart secondyear, media production student
Many students don’t know that the iconic Jurassic Park movies started out as a novel. Jurassic Park by Micheal Crichton is a science-fiction novel following an attempt to open a theme park of genetically recreated dinosaurs. The book follows the ramifications of recreating dinosaurs from extinction and keeping them in a theme park. The book’s characters must fight to survive when the dinosaurs break free from their enclosures and hunt the park’s visitors.
This book is perfect to read in the fall wrapped in a cozy blanket. After finishing the novel, the comfortable vibes can continue into a marathon of the original trilogy of the work with copious amounts of candy corn and apple pie.
Soaring to new heights
TMU’s University Soaring Society breaks barriers in aviationBy Ayan Abdulle, Marissa Nguyen and Maia Roobaert
Big Banks:By Nalyn Tindall
Soaring high above the clouds has been a dream for many, but the high cost of flying education has often acted as an insurmountable barrier for students. However, at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), a new initiative is taking flight—the University Soaring Society (USS). Thanks to founder Mike Morgulis, a flying instructor at the Toronto Soaring Club, the sky is now open to students like never before.
According to the USS president Joel Derrick Navaratnam, a fourthyear aerospace engineering student, TMU is a “trailblazer” in the world of varsity aviation as there are currently no other university soaring clubs in Canada. Navaratnam said that unlike universities in other countries such as Japan and Germany where gliding is highly popular, most Canadian institutions tend to prioritize commercial flying or general aviation.
Gliding is already far more affordable than commercial flying, which can cost aspiring pilots up to $15,000, according to the Canada Aviation Academy. With an already significantly lower rate of $3,000 to $4,000 estimated by the Toronto Soaring Club to earn a glider license without financial support, gliding becomes an attainable dream for students with a passion for recreational aviation.
Lester Pinlac, a fifth-year aerospace engineering student and USS operations director said the group aims to provide opportunities for students to explore the world of gliding barrierfree. He said his involvement in the club was born out of his passion for flying after years as a Royal Canadian Air Cadet. Pinlac is aiming to not only make soaring accessible but also nurture a diverse community of students eager to embrace this exhilarating sport. “We just want to bring glidng on a more accessible scale,” he said.
The USS has a relatively low-cost barrier to entry. The cost of entry into the sport has significantly decreased due to strategic collaborations with organizations like the Youth Flight Canada Education Fund (YFC) and the Toronto Soaring Club. These
partnerships provide aspiring glider pilots with invaluable resources and scholarships to help them work towards their glider licenses.
According to Navaratnam, YFC offers eligible USS members a generous initial funding of $500 towards their tow fees and membership costs. Throughout their flying journey, members can gain additional funding to support their education.
The charity also provides a free, gold-standard training glider for USS members to use, along with a flight simulator located on campus that allows students to practice their craft whenever they want. Through the contributions of YFC, the price of gliding is severely decreased.
The Toronto Soaring Club, based in Southgate, Ont., offers the USS an airfield for conducting operations, volunteer ground school and flight instructors. This collaboration allows students to receive top-notch education, training and guidance from experienced professionals without any additional financial burden.
Morgulis said that being a gliding instructor is “the best feeling in the world” and the reason he volunteers. “It’s a sense of accomplishment when your students succeed and it’s even better when your students surpass you,” he said.
Earning a glider pilot’s license typically takes around 30 to 40 flights of approximately 20 to 40 minutes, so these savings make a substantial difference. Navaratnam said the USS is currently seeking other forms of financial support in order to make gliding completely free and acces-
sible for students.
Gliding is a significant time commitment, with students being expected to spend three to five hours a week doing ground school in the winter and, after completion, dedicating their weekends to flying in the summer. Navaratnam said, “It’s quite the commitment for time, but the payoff is so good. When you sit in the glider and fly, it’s a different world.”
Chairman and founding director of YFC Charles Petersen said, “Gliding is both character building and in the same sense it’s like a sport.” He hopes to see a new generation of young pilots take up the craft, noting that gliding is a lifelong investment. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years. I’ve got over 3,000 hours of logbook, which is a lot, and I don’t know half of it yet,” said Petersen.
What makes the USS remarkable is its commitment to diversity and inclusion, according to Morgulis. He said that aviation should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their background as “the airplane does not discriminate.” Character and commitment are the most important qualities for a pilot. As a result, the USS has successfully attracted a diverse group of students.
The club intends to build and maintain a community of both students and alumni who can appreciate gliding as a sport and preserve the USS at TMU with the help of faculty advisor Goetz Bramesfeld.
As they continue to soar to new heights, the USS proves that the sky is not the limit; it’s just the beginning of an exciting journey for aspiring aviators in all walks of life.
A big bank is a major financial institution that serves a wide range of consumers with banking services such as personal and business banking, credit cards, loans and investment goods. The largest banks by assets in Canada are the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Toronto Dominion Bank (TD), Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), Bank of Montreal (BMO) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), according to a survey by Statistica. These banks offer a wide range of services to both consumers and businesses, and they are widely dispersed around the country. The reliability and stability of large banks is one of its benefits, according to financial media site Investopedia.
Credit unions offer services similar to big banks—such as chequing and saving accounts, mortgages and loans—but are owned by its members. According to the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA), since each member holds a stake of the fund, “all members have an equal say in how their credit union operates and can democratically vote for its board of directors.” The cooperative structure of credit unions create a system of mutual assistance towards the financial well-being of their members. While banks provide more choices regarding products, accounts and apps, credit unions are aiming towards offering competitive products with better rates and fees than with a bank, according to the CCUA. While credit unions collect account fees similar to how banks do, the profits are reinvested into the fund while some insititutions offer profit sharing.
Online banking is a system where bank customers and other financial institutions can process transactions entirely online by conducting them in the form of an app or website rather than having a physical branch. These banks operate with a lot less overhead costs and are able to offer lower fees than the big banks, according to Forbes. Some big banks have created their own digital banks in response. Tangerine and Simplii Financial are no exception to this, owned by Scotiabank and CIBC respectively. Types of transactions offered by banks vary by institution, but most offer services such as transfers or bill payments, according to Investopedia. Ordering checks, placing stop payments on checks and reporting changes in address may also be possible. A fast and efficient way of banking, opening and closing accounts is simple. Online banking is an easy, convenient and inexpensive way to handle your day-to-day transactions.
PINLAC/UNITED SOARING SOCIETY Is my bank actually a bank?
Students want to add a ninth floor to the SLC due to ‘high study demand’
floor, we need it because it’ll be nine times as fun for all!”
First-year English student and content creator Ammpie Theetra has expressed her support for a ninth floor due to her passion for skipping—or rather studying—diligently during the week.
“As a new student on campus, I find solace in the SLC,” Theetra said, closing the TikTok tab on her phone. “I haven’t explored much of campus yet, but I’d like to know that I can look towards this building and know there will be a place for me.”By Shaye-Love Salcedo
Disclaimer: All sources and quotes in this story are completely fictional
Picture this: the fall term has just begun and you’re already knee-deep in class readings and syllabuses. The goto place for studying at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) is none other than the vibrant Sheldon and Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre (SLC). You decide to go with your head held high, pushing the guy in front of you to capture a much coveted spot somewhere inside to study. Damn, you fought crowds in the lobby only to find out that every group study room is packed with students looking to ‘study.’
“It’ll be nine times as fun for all!”
Let’s be honest. What would really fix this problem is a ninth floor.
Some TMU students say the rising school population in recent years has restricted study spaces in the SLC’s most popular study floors.
“There’s simply a high study demand,” said third-year architectural science student Nyenth Flore. “I haven’t seen a single vacant seat in this building for ages. Do you realize how hard it is to find a place in the SLC with a charging port or without a stain somewhere?”
Flore expresses that all TMU students want is enough space to be the
studious people they are.
“Adding another floor would totally motivate students to study alone and with their friends,” Flore adds. “I imagine more spaces, where we can all productively study what Taylor Swift’s next surprise song will be on ‘The Eras Tour.’”
Justin Skye, a second-year creative industries student, frequently studies (sleeps) anywhere in the silent study space on the seventh floor. He hopes that the university will consider expanding the building in the future.
“I get why the SLC is TMU’s favourite study spot. Its striking architecture and attractive colours offer a beckoning perspective for intellectual students like myself,” he said. “It’s such a snore that there isn’t a ninth
Theetra claims she feels like she’s being punished as she watches others sitting at tables and enjoying their company on every floor.
“I see the occupied desks and think, ‘You were supposed to be my table, holding my things and my arms as my mind wanders…about work of course.’”
When asked if she had ever considered coming to campus early to help her score a decent study spot, Theetra waved a hand. “Girl, bye.”
“Will these other ‘social butterflies’ learn that they need to make room for those who actually want to skip— sleep—I mean study effectively?” she added.
Theetra claims that many students feel the same way as her, hoping that they will “stand with us in building a [ninth floor] for the workaholics out there.”
TMU students aren’t the only ones rooting for a ninth floor. Sheldon Vallee, a business management professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management, agrees that all students should have a place to study, even if it means expanding the SLC.
“I assign about 95 weekly readings to my students,” he said. “I expect them to ensure that they are absorbing the content in a place where they will definitely be focused.”
Vallee admits that he occasionally visits the SLC himself to grade work on the seventh floor and side-eyes his students whenever he notices them mulling over anything but his readings.
“What? I know it’s called a student learning centre for a reason,” Vallee said. “But teachers should also have a nice place to focus on school-related responsibilities, like watching The Office. That’s probably related to business…I think.”
Despite the obvious passion that staff and students have for building a ninth floor, whether or not the university will consider taking action is to be determined.
So will the SLC be getting a ninth floor anytime soon? No, but you can keep dreaming about one.
At the end of the day, either my OneCard is acting up or I amBy Zarmminaa Rehman
The university experience is never all that it is made to be. First of all, living in residence? At Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU)?
Ha, as if. Attending parties? Not in this economy. Affording on-campus food? The cheapest thing is a small $4 coffee competing with the size of my OneCard.
Maybe my only solace could have been getting that amazing student card picture and proudly showing it off to family and friends. Yet again, I was met with disappointment.
For one, due to COVID-19, there wasn’t even a cool studio I could go to and get my photo professionally done. Instead, I had to awkwardly pose against a wall in the bathroom— it had the best lighting of course— and send in that godforsaken picture to be put on my student card for the rest of my university career. Talk about bummer after bummer.
Using my strong intellect, arriving on campus allowed me to quickly realize that it was probably better to keep this pesky card handy (literally and figuratively) at all times. Opening doors, printing documents at the library, even paying at campus food stops—with their expensive pastries and coffee—could all be done with this “trusty” card.
of several buildings in and around campus—sometimes even certain classes—it works only about 78 per cent of the time.
The only reasonable answer to this dilemma was sporting the card around my neck, displayed by a clear case in the least fashionable way, whilst also becoming a walking advertisement for my university.
TMU had decided that they were actually going to name their student cards the ‘OneCard’ and that may have been the only true effort they decided to make. Though this stupid card has to be used to get in and out
After some much needed research on various Reddit threads and Facebook groups, I found out that the OneCard staff would put all the OneCard numbers of students, staff and faculty in a random generator at the end of each week where dozens of cards would just simply become inactive. Apparently this is to save on updating the threshold limit of acceptable “tappees” on the card sensors, so it was never a “you” issue. Rest assured knowing that you were being conspired against since the very beginning.
At first glance, if you’ve ever seen me tap again and again on the card sensor, you might have thought, “look at that person holding eight things in one hand but can’t figure out how to tap a sensor to open a door,” but joke’s on you, I actually
possess the skill of masterfully opening doors.
“I am just trying to get to my lecture on time”
However, it’s just that the doors of Kerr Hall do not possess the skill to masterfully open when needed. I’m sure that, like me, many people facing a similar struggle would just wait for someone to exit or gingerly
approach the door so the group behind you can open the door instead.
With the swift increase of people on campus this school year, it is easier than ever to avoid using your OneCard for opening doors. But, every so often, I face a door that won’t budge.
For those of you reading, please help your fellow TMU student get inside. I am just trying to get to my lecture on time.
“It was never a ‘you’ issue”Frankie the Falcon lost his OneCard...help return it to him at the SLC before he misses class! JERRY ZHANG, BRITHI SEHRA/THE EYEOPENER JERRY ZHANG/THE EYEOPENER
“That’s probably businessrelated...I think”