12 Ontario University Stereotypes That May Or May Not Be True
Should we get a measuring tape?
University rivalries are built-in realities of young adulthood. In campus culture, the question of which university is the most legit institution for higher learning is one of endless debate. Universities in Ontario are certainly no stranger to these contests of school supremacy.
We’ve all, at some point, been infected with a profound sense of pride for our school and we always seemed determined to prove that our own schools were better than everybody else’s. The natural consequence of this hubris, however, was our tendency to create inflated (and usually not all-encompassing) generalizations about students of other institutions.
1. The Independent Erindalers (UofT Mississauga)
“Huh? Erindale? What’s Erindale?” People from outside of Mississauga may be unaware that “Erindale” is simply the alternative (and seemingly fancier) name for UofT Mississauga. The typical Erindale student is thought of as someone who manages to keep a relatively balanced student lifestyle. They are known to have healthy social and extracurricular lives which accompany a good academic performance.
Personality-wise, they may be perceived as the friendlier bunch of the Ontario university students, and are neither too loved nor too hated. This ‘respect’ from other schools could be due to the fact that Erindale is relatively under the radar since its sister campus, UofT St. George, catches most of the heat.
2. The Brock Jocks (Brock University)
You may be familiar with the expression “If you can walk and talk, go to Brock.” This opinion may have been influenced by Brock’s Maclean’s track record over the years, which hasn’t been as impressive compared to that of other Ontario universities. This year, Brock University was placed 7 spots below York University, and let’s face it – York already gets the most flack from everyone, so being behind York is a rough hit.
There also seems to be this prevailing view of the Brock student as a movie-condition jock or frat-type. By association to this branding, Brock students are also believed to be avid beer drinkers. In fact, the Brock student beer philosophy – ‘quantity trumps quality’ – may support this claim (Dollar Beers for the win). Ironically Brock lacks the ‘jockiest’ of sports teams – a football team. Oh well, at least they have a killer rowing team.
3. The Guelph Gleaners (The University of Guelph)
Because the University of Guelph is located in the countryside, the general perception of the typical experience is that it involves farm activities and an epic manure smell. The whole farm theme is kind of fitting because Guelph has a superb Food Science program, complete with dairy classes, cheese labs and the like. But don’t let the farmer stereotype deceive you; Guelph has renowned international development and veterinary programs, so it still means business.
Guelph students are generally known to have decent personalities; that is, they aren’t too obnoxious or boastful about their school. However, that is not to say that they are devoid of school spirit. In fact, it's quite the opposite; especially during homecoming season during which their school spirit attracts the masses. Guelph students also seem to love Harry Potter, more specifically Gryffindor (an appropriate interest since their school mascot is a Gryphon) as evidenced by their Quidditch team.
Photo cred - CIS
4. The Laurier Loafers (Wilfrid Laurier University)
Some people have referred to Wilfrid Laurier University as the 'University of Waterloo’s shadow.' Most Laurier students, therefore, may have some bitterness for Waterloo students. Despite the stereotypes, Laurier does well for itself. It has decent business and music programs, and the majority of its students are passionate about physical health, so they’re all super fit. Laurier is as Canadian as it gets – hockey and beer are key interests of a typical Laurier student.
Where they do trump UWaterloo is in the party department. In fact, there’s a rumour that Laurier kids never actually go to class; they simply party for 4 to 5 years and leave with a degree. Doesn’t sound like such a bad deal, does it?
5. The McMasters of Mundanity (McMaster University)
There’s a common assumption that McMaster University is a relatively boring campus. The city’s reputation seems to bleed into that of the McMaster students, who are consequently typecast as an isolated people with no social life beyond their campus. Nevertheless, its distinguished grad schools, excellence in medical studies and steady standing of seventh-ish place in multiple categories of Maclean’s Canadian university rankings this year demonstrate McMaster’s commitment to academic excellence and overall consistency.
McMaster students tend to dislike Western and Queen’s students, but they're not entirely sure why. Perhaps they find the Western-Queen’s arrogance too unbearable, or they are envious of the more exciting environments. Whatever the reason, this is surely not a case of ‘opposites attract.’ In general, the typical McMaster student is an effective mixture of smart and creative.
Photo cred - Photobiophilia
6. The Queens of Made (Queen’s University)
‘Queens’ may itself be a fitting description of Queen’s students as perceived by other Ontario university students. They have a reputation for being kind of snobbish and self-absorbed, but it’s probably only because they have a few reasons to be. It is after all internationally recognized and ranks 4th among other Medical Doctoral universities by Maclean’s.
Perhaps their greatest rivals are Western students, which makes some sense because they’re actually both so much alike. Perhaps the most obvious similarity (apart from their love of purple) is that they both know how to party. Yet, despite their partying ways, Queen’s students still manage to pull of amazing academic feats, like studying the night before a midterm and still acing it, or finishing a term paper the morning that it’s due. Money, fun, and success – Queen’s students have it made.
7. The Ryerson Ranters (Ryerson University)
Ryerson students often find themselves having to assure others that their university is in fact a university and not a college. “I swear to you, it’s a real university,” followed by “we’re just more practical and hands-on than other universities” is a common defence.
Then again, being downtown is what makes the Ryerson experience an incredibly vibrant one. Sure, there’s the pain of commuting; but aside from that, Ryerson students are smack-dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Toronto life. They always know what’s going on in the city, what the upcoming trends are and which areas are the places to be.
8. The St. George Grade Grubbers (UofT St. George)
A clear Maclean’s favourite, UofT almost always lands a high standing in all categories of the university rankings. High grade cut-offs make this university a difficult one to get admitted to, so those that are admitted immediately gain a reputation for being exceptionally smart individuals. You’ll hear a lot of “Did you know insulin was invented here,” or “The guy who plays President Snow in Hunger Games was a UofT grad,” or “Mean Girls shot a classroom scene here once.”
St. George students are essentially divided into those that can do, and those that can’t. They are usually in a constant state of stress because UofT intentionally makes their courses difficult to weed out the 'unworthy'. Anything short of an 85% is hardly acceptable but they'll never quit- They’ll either try again, or just transfer to Ryerson. It’s a tough life.
Photo cred - UTSC
9. The Strapped Scarberians (UofT Scarborough)
Being located in Scarborough, UofT Scarborough tends to be assigned the same discreditable stereotypes as the area; the most notable ones being that it is a sketchy area. The school buildings have a sort of industrial flare to them that isn't very appealing, and the campus itself is so small that it has been described as a ‘high school in disguise.’
Academically-speaking, UofT Scarborough students live in the shadow of their St. George counterparts. Still, the fact that they are part of UofT means that they are gifted and capable individuals. The students also never stay a second longer than they need to on campus. For most of them, anywhere else is a better place to be.
Photo cred - UW Imprint
10. The Waterloo Wonks (University of Waterloo)
Waterloo students are known for being a pretty conceited bunch, especially those in Engineering, Accounting (AFM), and maybe Biomedical Science programs. You’ll probably hear comments along the lines of "We have the best co-op program in Canada" or "Bill Gates only hires Waterloo grads" and so on. But can you blame them? The University of Waterloo was coined "the Silicon Valley of Canada" by the Globe and Mail, and with good reason. It was bestowed multiple honours by Maclean’s this year; most notably, a first place rank for National Reputation.
Being known as overly studious can either be a good or bad thing. UWaterloo parents are likely pleased with that generalization. However, such a quality also gives off the impression that UWaterloo kids are boring and don’t know how to have a good time. It doesn’t help that the Waterloo region itself is also relatively dull – most Waterloo students often head back to Toronto to satisfy their nightlife needs.
11. The Wealthy Westerners (University of Western Ontario)
Ah, the notorious Western students. If you go to an Ontario university other than UWO, you probably know of Western students as the kids that everyone loves to hate. Why the hate though? The typical Western student is believed to be a party animal with no real concern for their academics. In other words, the Western male could be thought of as a contemporary Van Wilder, while the Western female may be analogous to a modern Regina George in all her blonde-haired, yoga-pant, pumpkin-spice-lattéd glory.
It’s unclear where this whole ‘live to party’ stereotype came from but it could have to do with the fact that Playboy added it to its list of best party schools in 2011. Some people even compare the Western experience to a night out to the club that lasts for 4 to 5 years. The odd reality is that Western grads are actually relatively in demand. Even more, Western doesn’t even have the wealthiest student body in Ontario- Queen’s wins in that category.. Maybe people are just jealous. It’s along the lines of what Gretchen Wieners says in Mean Girls: Western students are sorry that people are so jealous of them... but they can’t help it that they’re so popular.
Photo cred - kieradgl
12. The Yielding Yorkers (York University)
“If you can hold a fork, you can go to York.” Such is one of several unpleasant opinions on York University. York students tend to be ridiculed the most by students of other Ontario universities, and it may have to do with the university’s run-of-the-mill reputation. A common conversation piece about York is that it is overly desperate for admissions, sending offers to students left and right in an attempt to boost student recruitment.
The typical York student is said to be more concerned with looking good than performing well academically. It’s therefore fitting that York has its own miniature shopping mall within its campus. Also, almost everyone owns a car. So does that make York students cool? Maybe. After all, their university is the host of the Rogers Cup, so it can’t be all that bad, right?