University of Waterloo 411: Where to find the best campus food and more

A University of Waterloo insider's perspective on campus life

University of Waterloo students

Best place for a nap:

Comfy lounge in the Mathematics and Computer Building

University of Waterloo Insider Jesse McGinnis

Best cheap lunch:

Any coffee and doughnut shop

Best hangover breakfast:

Mel’s Diner

Favourite campus food:

St. Jerome’s University cafeteria

Favourite watering hole:

Kickoff Sports Bar or Sweet Dreams Tea Shop

Perk of living here:

Awesome tech hub (work at a start-up at least once!)

Where to live:

Ron Eydt Village on campus; off campus, anywhere uptown

Best place to study:

Davis Centre or Dana Porter library

Coolest elective:

Introduction to Macroeconomics (but only with Larry Smith)

Most frustrating bus route:

The No. 7, thanks to its confusion with 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D, 7E and 7F

Best campus events:

Orientation Week; Humans vs. Zombies; Pi Day

Best giveaway:

Co-op recruiting events often have sweet stuff or free beer

Unofficial school motto:

‘We’ll figure it out.’ A lot gets thrown at you, so if you survive, you’ll be better for it.

Best live-music venue:

Beta; the Huether Jazz Room; Maxwell’s Music House

Weirdest tradition:

There are a few—and they’re all faculty-specific—but arts students rub the nose of the bronze boar known as Porcellino for good luck

Best spectator sport:

Kitchener Rangers hockey

University Insider Report: Jesse McGinnis, 25, Computer Science

It’s easy to forget that the University of Waterloo is just 59 years old—young, by institutional standards—when it continues to be named a top institution year after year. That the city of Waterloo grew alongside the university demonstrates the impact the institution has made in its very short life. Its tightly packed campus—study space during midterms and finals is coveted, and it’s often down to pure luck finding a place to sit in the Student Life Centre—continues to expand to meet growing needs, but at the cost of the constant sound of construction.

PROFILE: University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ont. | Founded 1957

However, what makes the University of Waterloo great isn’t the physical campus—it’s the people. Touting itself as one of Canada’s most innovative universities, Waterloo thrives on a do-it-yourself culture, with a robust co-op program and the continuous expectation that students will strive for their own academic solutions. We are surrounded by intelligent and driven professors, from the popular economist Larry Smith to the famed astronaut Chris Hadfield. Our campus is not traditional: We celebrate problem-solvers, innovators and students with ambition. Between all of this work, though, we enjoy our fun! The university provides ample opportunities to get involved, whether it’s through athletics, student government, technical design teams, orientation week or the 170-plus clubs offered by the student union. The school will kick your ass occasionally, but all in the name of making you better.


Local Vibe

Waterloo is a small town with a global perspective—just cozy enough to fall in love with, yet big enough to launch the most ambitious of dreams. The vibrant technology community and start-up culture has taken the city by storm, bringing companies such as Google and Square to the region. There is a growing public transit system, with plans to install a new light-rail line, and a wide variety of quaint restaurants and coffee shops within a quick bus ride of campus. To top it off, there’s the amazing farming village of St. Jacobs just minutes away for fresh and local fruits and vegetables.

The Skinny

The best way to get the pulse of the campus is through a mixture of websites, including: Reddit’s Waterloo thread (; the Daily Bulletin (; the student newspaper, Imprint (; the engineering student newspaper, the Iron Warrior (; the math student newspaper, MathNews (; and everyone’s favourite procrastination tool, OMGUW (

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.