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My top 5 things to do at Congress 2017

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Guest blog by Mohamed Lachemi, President and Vice Chancellor, Ryerson University 

There is so much at Congress 2017 that it would be impossible to get to everything. What  are the must-sees  during your visit to Ryerson and Toronto? It is difficult to choose, but here is a list of my top 5 things to do at Congress 2017.

1. If you don’t see anything else, explore these buildings on our campus – Ryerson Image Centre, Mattamy Athletic Centre and the Student Learning Centre. They are some of our newest and most exciting additions to campus.

You won’t be able to miss the Ryerson Image Centre, adorned just recently with an enormous  panorama of iconic Canadian personalities including Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pierre Trudeau and Mary Pickford. The Centre is for the research, teaching and exhibition of photography and related media, and is famously home to the Black Star Collection of 250,000 photographs spanning 80 years of photojournalism. During Congress, the Suzy Lake exhibition is featured.

The Mattamy Athletic Centre is the award-winning result of a massive restoration of the former Maple Leaf Gardens. Historic elements of the building are meticulously retained within a design that makes for a working and lively athletic centre for our students, including an NHL-sized ice rink. The building is open to the public. One of the displays features the Gardens’ original time capsule from 1931 -- a surprise discovery during the renovation.

Walk into our Student Learning Centre (SLC) on Yonge Street and see what a 21st-century university space looks like. Built with student input, the SLC is a space for students to collaborate, study and explore new ideas. Through design and function, the building is also helping to transform Toronto’s downtown core.

2. Ryerson is an urban university, so make time to visit unique Toronto neighbourhoods minutes from our campus – such as Queen Street West, Graffiti Alley, Chinatown, Little India, the Distillery District, Kensington Market, the Waterfront, Sugar Beach and Toronto Island, to name a few.

The Truth and Reconciliation on the streets of Toronto tour is a special Ryerson presentation during Congress. Plus, there is a bonus for those wanting to go further afield: May 27-28 is the annual Doors Open Toronto, where 150 public and private buildings are open to visitors.

3. If culture is your focus, check out the cultural programming at Congress. I suggest seeing A Tribe Called Red. The group mixes traditional pow wow vocals and drumming with cutting-edge electronic music. Their self-titled album was included in The Washington Post’s top 10 of the year. If you would like to explore city-wide offerings, I suggest the Bell Tiff Light Box ; Massey Hall, the Danforth Music Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario (where there’s a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit), or the Inside Out Toronto LGBT film festival.

4. Ryerson Presents… programming is unique to Congress. See the Indigenous tipi art installation; visit the exhibit Contested Lands, Canada at 150 from our Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre, which explores hidden voices in our history; tour the DMZ, the #1 ranked university-based incubator in North America; hear Ryersonians in conversation about issues of the day -- Kamal al-Solaylee, journalist and associate professor at the Ryerson School of Journalism; Peter Bregg, renowned photojournalist and 2016 Order of Canada recipient; and April Lindgren, associate professor at the Ryerson School of Journalism.

5. Above all, make the most of Congress opportunities: connect, network and have fun.

This list could be much longer, and I guarantee that whatever your interest, there is an opportunity to explore it at Congress 2017 hosted by Ryerson. Enjoy, and I hope to see you here!

Mohamed Lachemi

President and Vice-Chancellor

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Congress of the Humanities and Social SciencesCongress 2017