International students to scavenge for – what?


Above: York’s new international students will see the CN Tower and Toronto Sky Dome on Aug. 27.

First-year international and exchange students coming to York for a special orientation event on Aug. 27 had better have huge pockets and knapsacks. They’ll need them for the sort of scavenger hunt they’ll be going on in downtown Toronto.

This year, York is U and York International teamed up and concocted a crazy kind of scavenger hunt in which international students will look for buildings and other landmarks. Instead of a list of objects to pick up, they’ll be armed with a list of landmarks to locate, plus a disposable camera, a city guide and a map.

“The idea is for international students to become more familiar with the city and its transit system,” explained Jeremy Greenberg, coordinator of student programs in York’s Alumni Office and past Chair of the York is U spirit group. “We want them to see places like malls, too, not just touristy buildings.

“We are really excited about being involved with orientation for international students. York is U has about 25 partners across the University, and York International is one of them, but this is the first time we’ve taken part in the orientation for those students,” Greenberg added.

Approximately 150 incoming students are expected to meet at 4:30pm in front of Vari Hall, have dinner at the Keele campus, participate in some ice-breaking activities – then get down to the “serious” work of the hunt.

Left: Union Station – part of the scavenger hunt

They will be divided into teams of about a dozen, each one headed by someone who is familiar with Toronto. The teams will then set off, some to Downsview Subway Station and others to the Finch station. They must have a group shot taken at each spot on their list, as proof that they arrived.


 “Points will be given for groups that show creativity in their photos – shots that show fun, excitement, enthusiasm. And there will be a variety of little, cool prizes at the end,” said Greenberg.

Right: Nathan Phillips Square…. Will students find it?

The idea is that, as they follow their list, students will be finding out about how to get around Toronto via subway and bus and on foot, plus discovering a little bit about the city itself. They’ll be searching for such places as Union Station, Nathan Phillips Square, Royal Ontario Museum, Hard Rock Café, Eaton Centre, Hockey Hall of Fame and Air Canada Centre.

Eventually, the teams will converge outside the Sky Dome. As a fun wrap-up to the event, the team captains will take them up the CN Tower, where students will be given a discount admission price.

This is one of several events planned for York’s three-day International Students Orientation Aug. 26-28.