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  • Cities in Ontario

    Hey guys, looking for some advice/suggestions/information. I'm applying to grad schools right now. Got applications in at U of A and York in Toronto so far, and working on application to Memorial in St. John's. Looking to apply to one or two more, hopefully give myself some options. Never been to Ontario before, but I'm looking at Carleton in Ottawa, U of Guelph, Brock U in St. Catherines and McMaster in Hamilton.

    What can people tell me about these schools or the cities they're in?

  • #2
    I can write a bit more later, but not a ton. However, I can say right away that if you choose Carleton it would be absolutely awesome because I would finally be able to meet you! One of my sisters is studying in Criminology at Carleton :) I live in Gatineau, which is pretty close, so we could catch some Sens games at a nearby pub. I definitely think proximity to me should be a huge priority when thinking about your education and future.

    What program(s) are you applying to? Philosophy?

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    • #3
      Haha absolutely proximity to you is key. Basically philosophy, but I decided to focus my research in an area where I could eventually branch out to an actual career that pays actual money, and since I've been working with people with disabilities for forever, it seemed like a good fit.

      Applied to Critical Disability Studies at York, Health Care Ethics at Memorial, and the rest are just philosophy programs, where I'd focus on applying continental theoretical approaches, especially Foucault, to disability theory.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by matchesmalone View Post
        Haha absolutely proximity to you is key. Basically philosophy, but I decided to focus my research in an area where I could eventually branch out to an actual career that pays actual money, and since I've been working with people with disabilities for forever, it seemed like a good fit.

        Applied to Critical Disability Studies at York, Health Care Ethics at Memorial, and the rest are just philosophy programs, where I'd focus on applying continental theoretical approaches, especially Foucault, to disability theory.
        Cool, that's really interesting. I can't really provide any information about other University cities or comparing the schools, but if you have any specific questions about Ottawa I can do my best.

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        • #5
          I studied at Carleton and it was decent. I found applying to U of O was a clerical nightmare and Carleton was a lot more humane. I have a cousin from St. Catherine's who chose U of O over Brock for what that's worth. Choose your housing wisely if you're going to Carleton cos it isn't exactly downtown so logistics cab be tricky. Friends of mine took philosophy courses at Carleton and it sounded solid enough. Not my thing at all though hahahaha

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          • #6
            With the knowledge that Carleton hosts hockey analytics seminars, I think the decision is obvious, lol

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            • #7
              Just spent a solid two hours sending e-mails to professors at various schools who I thought might be interested in my project and taking me on as my thesis adviser. Unfortunately, the philosophy faculty at Carelton is very analytic-focused, and my interests are much more continental. Not sure how familiar you are with the dichotomy, but analytic philosophy is the dominant school right now, it's basically the attempt to turn philosophy into a science. Continental philosophy emphasizes creativity and originality, as opposed to the more rigid, structured approach of the former, and is more open to ideas from other disciplines within the humanities and social sciences, especially history, linguistics and sociology. So yeah, Carelton only has one person really doing continental philosophy, although her research sounds extremely interesting; they also have professor doing research related to disability theory, but from a much more analytic perspective. I sent them both an e-mail, so we'll see.

              Ummm, I have a couple questions about Ottawa, but nothing major. 1. What's the air like? Seems like an odd question, but I was terribly spoiled growing up in the middle of the Rockies in B.C., at high altitudes, in an area far from the pollution of any big cities, where the air was unbelievably fresh, crisp and light. When I first moved to the practically subterranean altitude of the Saskatchewan prairies, I had some respiratory troubles for the first while, but I got used to it fairly quickly. I was asking around about Toronto before I applied to York, and heard from some people that due to pollution, the air is moist and heavy, and generally just not very good, although others said they never or hardly ever notice it. So, yeah, is this something prevalent in Ottawa? Is it general to the area, or specific to Toronto?

              What's the cost of living like, specifically housing? And Daigle, what did you mean by your comment about housing and the logistics? Would a person otherwise want to live downtown? If so, this is an utterly foreign concept to me. Where I'm from downtown consists of a mixture of ridiculously expensive fancy highrise condos, and a few blocks away a series of really shoddy, but still over-priced apartment buildings.
              Last edited by matchesmalone; 01-19-2016, 03:01 AM.

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              • #8
                The air is pretty balls here. You alternate between dense humidity in the summer and stifling dryness in the winter. Definitely a downgrade from mountainous or coastal air. The redeeming factor is that the city is surrounded by lots of greenspace and you're never more than 20 minutes from lakes, parks, and mountains. As an asthmatic (and I seem to know lots around here) I need to get out of town on a regular basis to clear my airways.

                Rent is pretty stupid high on the Ontario side of the river. You can save a bit of money living on the Quebec side but then you have to commute across the bridges which is a nightmare and it fucks up your taxes/loans etc if you live in Quebec and work/study in Ontario. Carleton is kinda oddly located between the Glebe (stupid expensive), centretown/Chinatown (kinda slummy but has hipster appeal), and the south end which is the cheapest but kinda sketchy/mostly low income or lower middle class residential. From the south end you can take the train which is kinda convenient or if you live in the heart of the city then buses are readily accessible. Parking at Carleton (like any university) will destroy you financially. I took the bus in from the suburbs to spare parking costs but it took me about an hour to get to campus.

                As a side note, my employer provides care for people with disabilities and I have been in touch with the attendant service departments for U of O and Carleton for my work. I just thought that was a funny coincidence.

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                • #9
                  The only thing I would add to Owen's post is that commuting from Gatineau wouldn't by public transportation wouldn't be THAT bad. My commute from a nice, but still affordable part of Gatineau to downtown Ottawa takes about 45 minutes. I've never bussed to Carleton, but I figure it wouldn't take more than 30 minutes from downtown, maybe 45 max. So that puts the total time commuting at 1.5 hours, which is a lot, but might not be much worse than the commutes you'd be looking at to live affordably but nicely in any other University city. Plus, students can use that commute time to read/sleep/study.. hell, even put the final touches on an essay. The other thing to keep in mind is that the beginning and end of a typical student's classes don't always coincide with rush hour, yet we still get regular service during "off" hours, so that can be a huge plus and bring down the total commute time. My example of a 45 minute commute from Gatineau to downtown Ottawa is during peak rush hour.

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                  • #10
                    Also, while this is probably true as well for the other cities, both Gatineau and Ottawa have dedicated public transportation corridors that really speed things up.

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                    • #11
                      I think I did all of my studying during exams on the bus/train hahaha so good on Josh for pointing that out.

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                      • #12
                        Hm. Well the one lady at Carleton - the one who does continental philosophy - said she didn't think Carleton would be a good fit for me, since there is emphasis on continental theory. But then there other lady - who does bioethics - said she thinks it could be a good fit working with her... So I don't feel like I've really made any progress. But the lady from McMasters seemed genuinely excited about my project, and still waiting to hear from the lady at Guelph.

                        Yeah, my commute in Saskatoon was only about 20-25 minutes, and even that was pretty solid reading time. This year, only taking one class and working full time, I've just been driving to school, as there's free street parking not even ten minutes walk away from campus.

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                        • #13
                          What is there for snowboarding venues in the area?

                          Just got brand new board, boots and bindings this fall, so wherever I end up, I'd want to get maximal use out of them.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by matchesmalone View Post
                            What is there for snowboarding venues in the area?

                            Just got brand new board, boots and bindings this fall, so wherever I end up, I'd want to get maximal use out of them.
                            You'll be disappointed if you're coming from the Rockies but I will say that Ottawa has slightly better options that the prairies. Edelweiss 650' and Cascades 500' are small hills that cater very well to snowboarders. Cascades in particular takes pride in its park. Vorlage is the smallest of the bunch I would guess but I find the runs to be board friendly and it never gets too busy there. Camp Fortune 590' is just too packed for my liking and you pay too much for what you get. Calabogie 760' is another small hill but on the Ontario side. You can drive north to Mont Ste Marie 1200' or Mont Tremblant 2000' but I find those hills more ski-oriented although they are bigger. Your best bet is to drive down to Vermont or Lake Placid for optimal riding honestly hahaha
                            Last edited by thedaigle1; 01-20-2016, 02:47 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Well, the only place in Ontario I ended up applying, besides York, was Brock, in St. Catherines. Quite a ways from Ottawa, I gather... But it would at least be a more realistic trip than it is from here, and at least I could go to Sabres games.

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