Wallet feeling a little light after paying those tuition fees? Here’s the Eyeopener’s guide to being classy around campus with a two-figure bank account.
Skip on the Hub cafeteria, or Pitman Hall, or the ILLC, or anything else served by Ryerson. Even if you’re in a rush — find something else. Your stomach will thank you.
The hotdog cart (various locations) is always a cheap bet. Two bucks gets you a wiener, $3 for a sausage. Ernie is a Ryerson landmark (he’s the one dishing out dogs right at Victoria and Gould streets) but give the not-so-famous dude behind him a try, too. He’s got better hot Italians.
For those who consider themselves too hip for offal, there’s student-staple Salad King (355 Yonge St.), with plenty of Thai dishes to satisfy a hungry stomach under $10 (ignore the conditional-pass sign on the front door).
A little further east brings you to the family-owned Mutual Street Deli (103 Mutual St.), where you can snag a quarter chicken, decent Greek salad, fries and a drink for under $6.
For those looking for something a little more exotic, might we recommend some West African food. Just steps from Ryerson, Sahara (134 Dundas St. E.) serves up soup, salad and a ginormous portion of rice served with your choice of barbecue chicken, beef, goat and other meats you’ve never had before. Under $10.
Yonge Street is peppered with one too many places for good shwarma. Our pick for best place to get your halal on is Doner Kebab (391 Yonge St.) $3.75 gets you a savoury chicken shwarma sandwich, but cough up an extra $3 for the filling dinner plate with rice.
Just north of College St. is Sushi Sky (478 Yonge St.) the place to go for your raw fish and teriyaki kick. Daily specials from $5.99.
At the Atrium on Bay, $8.99 gets you all-you-can-eat Indian at Indian Flavour (20 Dundas St. W.). Tandoori chicken, curry and naan, oh my.
Don’t forget the trusty Dominion (89 Gould St.) for grocery shopping, because sometimes it doesn’t hurt to eat in, even if it is all cookies and chocolate. And ice cream.
Getting your drink on
The first and obvious choice is the local campus pub, the Ram in the Rye. Mixed drinks start at $3.25 and bar grub isn’t that much more.
It’s easy to spot students drinking their worries away at Reilly’s (340 Yonge St.) above the Foot Locker. “We just try to maintain good prices everyday, and welcome students who are so close by, especially on Thursday nights,” says owner Les Major.
The Imperial Pub (54 Dundas St. E.) is where you’ll find many a drunk journalism student in the upstairs library. Go early to snag a couch seat in front of the big-screen TV, or try the broken jukebox.
Phoenix nightclub (410 Sherbourne St.) has cheap domestic beers during the weekend. Students are also free before 11 p.m. on Fridays.
The LCBO (595 Bay St.) stocks many fine wines, liqueurs and beer, if you didn’t already know. Conveniently located steps from campus.
Make a date
For the romantic types, there’s no better place for a free first date than the Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queen’s Park). Every Friday between 4:30 and 9:30 p.m. you can ogle dinosaurs, stones and lots of other very old things and your guy/ladyfriend for absolutely nothing. A similar deal is in place at the Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas St. W.) on Wednesday nights.
You may be in the middle of Toronto, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any inviting green space to set the mood. Places like the Eternal Flame (55 John St.) have plenty of benches for skyscraper-watching and smog-willing and star-gazing.
Books, music, etc.
You could go straight to Ryerson’s price-gouging bookstore for those nine Joseph Conrad books you need, but then you’d lose valuable whiskey money. Instead, head to either the student-operated Used Book Room (Basement of Student Campus Centre) or BMV Books (10 Edward St.). “The main thing we try and offer students here is price, price, price,” says BMV’s repetition-prone Patrick Hempelman, who adds that used couture magazines are popular among Fashion students at Rye. Be sure to check out their growing used DVD selection.
Don’t neglect your friendly neighbourhood library (various locations). Very free.
If you don’t care about huge screens or spectacular sound, Rainbow Cinemas at Market Square (80 Front St. E.) offers Ryerson students $4.25 movies all day, everyday. Always showing the latest Hollywood flicks. Yes, the popcorn is pricier than the movie. Be sure to bring your student card.
Carlton Cinema (20 Carlton St.) doubles as a movie theatre, in case you forgot in between classes there. Evening tickets run $7, making a matinee even better. Highly recommended for the film buff not keen on seeing xXx 2: State of the Union.
For your musical needs, HMV (333 Yonge St.) isn’t terribly overpriced. An ungodly selection of CDs (and DVDs!) at two for $40, $30, or even $20, will keep you stocked in the latest Top 40 and alt-rock.
For something a little more under the radar, try the abundance of used-record shops along Yonge Street such as Refried Beats (599 Yonge St.). You’ll pay five or 10 bucks less than at a chain store for most albums.
Unless you use the Internet (various locations), in which case, you are slowly killing David Lee Roth.
Dundas Square (Yonge and Dundas streets) is more than just concrete — on a cool fall day, sit back and watch the city’s busiest intersection go by. Or stare agog at the massive ball of consumerism that’s taken over the corner. But don’t be caught smoking a joint there, because public property Dundas Square ain’t.
Ryerson gets two daily newspapers on campus for free. Find the Toronto Star and National Post at various kiosks throughout campus. You’ll have to shell out money for the Globe and Mail, though.
Writing for A&E at the Eyeopener (55 Gould St.) might score you free stuff. See a free movie, write a review. Get on a guestlist for a show, write about how blazing it was. Come write for us, we’ll show you some love. Everybody wins.
Here’s a few more Eyeopener-approved eateries located in places not a stone’s throw from your classes, but definitely worth the trek.
Sneaky Dee’s (431 College St.)
Also often known as ‘sneaky disease.’ Obviously not a factor when stumbling into this dive while trashed at 3 a.m.
Green Room (296 Brunswick Ave.)
Everyone’s favourite backalley pub serves their food and liquor cheap and cheaper. Just don’t ask how.
Xelua (254 Spadina Ave.)
If Vietnemese food isn’t your thing, you’re missing out on a cheap hearty meal. Six dollars for a huge bowl of noodles in beef broth. A few more dollars will get you a delicious avocado milkshake.
Kom Jug Yuen (371 Spadina Ave.)
Also in the realm of cheap Asian dining, this place boasts of the best barbecue pork in North America. At $4 a box with rice, it wouldn’t hurt to try.