Staying in Thunder Bay For The Summer? Here's How to Enjoy What The City Has To Offer

Whether you are new to Thunder Bay or are simply looking to try new things. There are plenty of activities you can enjoy for free and at your own expense to fill your summer with positive memories and experience what this city has to offer!  

As a Thunder Bay local, I have attended many events and participated in various different activities throughout my beautiful city. Therefore, I have compiled a list of fun things to do and ways to enjoy our warm summer months as a true ‘Thunder Bayan.’


Attending local events is a great way to explore the city and meet new people without the added stress of planning or hosting an event. Throughout the warmer months, an event is hosted nearly everyday, which provides newcomers and locals with the opportunity to try new things on a regular basis.

A great way to stay updated on local events is to check out the City of Thunder Bay’s Community Events Calendar. This calendar includes an array of information pertaining to what’s happening in the city and when. 

Another source I commonly refer to when looking for events is the Walleye, which is a free local magazine that is published monthly. You can pick up a copy of the Walleye at a local retailer or access it digitally online. 

Despite the array of amazing events that are available to the general public, the events listed below are two that I prioritize attending each year. 

Thunder Bay Country Market: Although this occurs every Wednesday from 3:30-6:30 pm and on Saturdays from 8:00am-1:00pm year round, I enjoy going in the summer as there is a large variety of fresh produce from local farmers. The Country Market is full of local vendors who offer an array of products such as groceries, baked goods, crafts, and art. The Country Market is a great place to grab a bite to eat from places such as Boreal Bakery and pick up gifts from Red Door Metalworks.

Live on the Waterfront: If you’re looking for something to help you get through the week, attending a waterfront concert is a must see as it is entertaining for all ages. Every Wednesday night from 6:00-9:00 pm from July 19 to August 16, 2023, the Marina Park will turn into a concert venue where you can listen to live music for free. In addition to music, there are multiple food trucks where you can purchase refreshments and snacks. If you plan on stopping by, I would recommend bringing lawn chairs and arriving early as parking and prime seating fills up quickly.


If crowded events don’t interest you, there are various fun activities you can participate in throughout the city on your own terms. 

Indoor Attractions 

  • Thunder Bay Museum: Learn about our city’s heritage via a three floor museum that display over 10,000 years of history with some displays changing a few times a year 

Outdoor Attractions

  • Marina Park: Overlooks the waterfront, includes activities such as sailing, a splash pad, skate park, and paved path for running, walking, cycling etc.

  • Belluz Farms: Head to a local farm to hand pick fresh strawberries in the summer sun and stop by their farm store to purchase other produce

-Madeline Fabiano, Student Health and Wellness Summer Assistant

Aerial view of a canyon, river running through it, swing bridge found in the backgorun

Moving out? Find Homes for Gently Used Items

If you are moving off-campus, to a different house or moving out of the city altogether it can be tempting to throw unwanted items in the trash and call it a day. These items can find a second life and help another individual purchase low-cost goods if you take the time to dispose of them properly


If you are looking to make back some of your investment, you can try to sell off some of your items. Make use of online options like 

 or sell to a local pawn or consignment shop .

Thunder BayOrillia



Giving gently used items a second life is a great way to keep them out of the trash. In Thunder Bay, if you live in residence donation bins are set up in Bartley Front.

 Thunder BayOrillia
Non-perishable unopened food

Food Resource Center (also willing to take cookware)

Shelter House


LUSU Food Pantry

The Sharing Place


Clothing/Household Items

 Twice as Nice

 Diabetes Canada Donation Bins

 Value Village

 Community Clothing Assistance

 Salvation Army

 Adult and Teen Challenge Super Thrift

 Our Kids Count


Diabetes Canada Donation Bins

Value Village

Salvation Army

Dress for Success

The Lighthouse 

2nd Chance Thrift Store


Furniture, Appliances, Decor, Tools and ElectronicsHabitat for Humanity Re-store Store


Habitat for Humanity Re-store Store



Student Health and Wellness is accepting books for their lending library- drop them off in the bookcase in our lobby

Thunder Bay Public Library

Friend of the Library Used Bookstore

Little Free Libraries

Orillia Public Library

Little Free Libraries

 Sporting Equipment

Underground Gym

Community Spokes- bikes in any condition or part

Other charities like the Canadian Diabetes Association (1-800-226-8464), Kidney Clothes (1-800-414-3484) and Community Living Ontario (1-800-278-8025) will pick up your used clothing. Please call ahead if you are unsure of what is accepted.

Dispose of Properly

If your items aren’t in good enough condition to be reused, then they should be disposed of properly with only the necessary items going to the landfill. 

 Thunder BayOrillia

If you live off campus, curbside recycling collection takes place every two weeks, usually on the same day every week, except for holiday exceptions. There is no limit on how much you can recycle- just sort items properly. 

  1. See-through plastic blue bags for paper: newspapers, flyers, junk mail, magazines, paperbacks, fine paper, paper food and beverage cartons (egg cartons), and boxboard such as cereal boxes. Cardboard must be flattened.

  2. Bundles of cardboard: large cereal boxes, shoeboxes, and clean delivery boxes, tied securely with twine.

  3. See-through plastic blue bags for containers: pop cans, milk cartons, juice boxes, metal cans, all #1 through #7 plastic containers (e.g. drink bottles, soap bottles, salad and fruit containers), glass bottles and jars. Containers must be rinsed of any liquid or food residue.

For apartment recycling information, contact your apartment Superintendent.

If you live off campus in Orillia, curbside garbage collection is every other week, and recycling and green bin/yard waste are collected weekly. 

See the City of Orillia’s Recycling guidelines


Used or broken electronics do not belong in the landfill. Printers, monitors, tvs, chargers, cables, laptops, tablets, cameras and batteries

Bartley Building Front desk

Thunder Bay Solid Waste & Recycling Facility

Full Circle Recycling and Sales

Home Depot

Best Buy

Household Hazardous Waste Depot City of Thunder Bay Household Hazardous Waste Depot City Of Orillia
Unused or Expired MedicationsParticipating PharmaciesParticipating Pharmacies



Tips to develop your empathy skills

One of the most powerful forces that hold us all together is empathy. Empathy allows us to understand and relate to each other, and it stops us from turning our backs on other people's suffering.

But have you ever felt unsure about how to respond when someone is upset or do you worry about saying or doing something wrong? While research has shown that empathy is innate, these skills can also be learned. So whether you're struggling with your empathy skills or just want to spread a bit more human kindness, it’s never a bad idea to find more ways to practice empathy in your day-to-day life.

In this article from TalkCampus, we’ll take a whistle-stop tour through the different types of empathy, how empathy can help both you and the people around you, and how you can cultivate your empathy skills.

What is empathy, though?

Empathy is something we have all heard. But what does it actually mean? Put simply, empathy is the ability to sense other people’s emotions and imagine what they might be thinking or feeling. 

How's empathy different from sympathy?

Empathy often gets confused with sympathy, which is actually quite a different thing. One way of thinking about it is that sympathy says “I feel bad for you”, whereas empathy says “I feel with you”.

Sympathy can sometimes be construed as pity or feeling sorry for someone. This can make the recipient feel helpless or disconnected, despite any best intentions. Empathy, on the other hand, shows that you understand and share in the other person's feelings, and helps us to connect with each other.

The benefits of empathy

Empathy helps us to understand what other people might be thinking or feeling, and it helps us to connect with them in a meaningful way. Feeling connected to other people is vitally important for our wellbeing. It helps us to feel loved and valued, and it increases our feelings of happiness and self-worth.

 Being more open to how others are feeling can also improve our:
  • Personal and professional relationships

  • Communication skills

  • Ability to manage conflict

  • Emotional intelligence

Perhaps most importantly, empathy makes other people feel less alone. It's a great moral compass and a reminder to always treat others kindly and respectfully.

The different types of empathy

Some researchers have broken down the concept of empathy into three different categories: cognitive, emotional, and compassionate. Let's take a look at each of them in turn.

Cognitive empathy

Cognitive empathy is the ability to think about and understand a situation from someone else’s perspective. Or in other words, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagining what they must be thinking or feeling. 

This type of empathy is about using your thoughts rather than your feelings. For example, at work, you might use cognitive empathy to imagine what a colleague might be thinking or feeling and to respond logically and appropriately.

Emotional empathy

Emotional empathy is the ability to share the emotions and feelings of another person, and it is what most people think of when they think about empathy. 

This type of empathy is hard-wired into most human beings. For example, if someone you love is crying in distress, you feel that distress too. Or, if you see your child or family member get hurt, you react with them, perhaps wincing or screaming out. This type of empathy is what we most often share with the people we care about and it forms a strong bond between us. 

Compassionate empathy

Compassionate empathy is a balance between cognitive and emotional empathy and has been billed by some researchers as the most helpful kind of empathy. Compassionate empathy is the ability to understand and share in someone else's feelings and emotions, but without taking them on as your own. 

The best thing about this type of empathy is that it stops us from feeling overwhelmed and actually motivates us to do something to help.


How to cultivate your empathy skill

Expressing empathy comes easily to some people but others can struggle. There can be many reasons for this including feeling burned out, overwhelmed, or just worried about saying or doing the wrong thing.

Luckily, empathy is a skill you can learn and build on. Here are a few tips that can help you cultivate your empathy skills.

1) Focus on listening

Try to focus on just listening to someone. You don’t have to have all the answers or say the “right” thing. Most of the time, people just want to feel heard. Simply making the time and space for someone to open up and feel accepted is enough. Listening also removes any pressure on us and allows us to really hear and understand what’s going on for the other person.

2) Ask open questions
Closed questions like “are you feeling sad?” are one of the fastest ways to shut a conversation down. Try asking open questions like “what was that like for you?” or “how are you feeling?”

These types of questions can help you to learn more about what someone might be thinking or feeling.

3) Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

Trying to understand a situation from someone else's perspective doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything they say. But it will help you understand how that person might be thinking or feeling.

You could say something like “how are you feeling right now?” or “I can see you’re really upset, can you tell me more about what’s happened?” Then listen with an open mind and try to understand, putting your own views to one side.

4) Don’t offer any unsolicited advice

You might think that you have the answer to someone’s problems, but try to keep it to yourself unless they ask for your advice. It might be well-meaning but that doesn’t mean it will be well-received.

You might want to say something like “would you like me to help you think that through or do you just need a hug right now?”
 5) Offer to help without making any assumptions

Try not to make any assumptions about what someone might want or need. Most people are experts on their own problems and know what’s best for them.

However, you can make a genuine offer to help. The best way of finding out what that might look like is to simply ask “is there anything I can do to help?”

6) Open up about your own experiences

If someone is telling you about a problem and you have been through something similar, try to be brave and share your story. It can really help another person feel that they are not alone, that you really get them and see that they can come through the tough times.

 7) Set boundaries

If someone is offloading on you more than you’d like or you feel unable to take on anyone else’s problems right now, that’s ok! Just let the person know that you're struggling and you need a bit of space.

You might not feel great about that but you can’t help anyone else if you’re feeling overwhelmed and burned out. Is there someone you could talk to?

If you are still struggling to express empathy, try asking yourself the following questions:
  • What is happening to this person right now?

  • What might they be thinking or feeling?

  • Have I ever experienced something like this and, if so, what was it like?

  • What might be important to them?

  • What do they want or need and how can I help?

If you want to really hone those empathy skills and take it a step further…

8) Get out of your comfort zone

Try to get out there and meet people from different backgrounds and walks of life. You could start talking to a colleague you don’t know that well, attend events with diverse audiences, or volunteer somewhere outside your bubble.

You could also try following someone on social media who has different views or a very different background from yourself. Be curious. What makes them tick? What do they like? How do they think and feel about different stuff? Be sure to look for the stuff you have in common as well as any differences.

9) Check your biases

It’s important to recognize that we all have biases and be honest with yourself about yours. Try paying attention to your thoughts and examine your beliefs. That might be uncomfortable. But it’s definitely a conversation worth having with yourself.

One of the most important things when developing your empathy skills is to just be yourself. But like anything else, developing new skills takes practice. Try to remember that it’s ok to make a mistake and start over.

Want to develop your empathy skills? Join TalkCampus to give and get support from like-minded students.

Beat the Winter blues this semester

Looking to beat the winter blues? Don’t worry Thunderwolves we’ve come up with a great list of ways you can keep your mood up this winter despite the cold. 


Take some Vitamin D supplements

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin people mainly get from the sun. Due to the shorter days during the winter many people, especially Canadians, report higher rates of vitamin D deficiency during the winter months compared to many other people around the world. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to:

Aches and stiffness

Poor sleep

Feelings of depression or sadness

Lack of appetite

Feelings of weakness

Getting sick more easily. 

Taking a vitamin D supplement can help avoid these feelings and is a quick and simple way to change your routine for the better.


Try out a new winter activity

Getting active is one of the top recommended ways to quickly and effectively reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Luckily with winter here an entirely new set of activities is available to try out. Though many of these activities require specific equipment there are tons available on resale websites like Kijiji. There are also many businesses that rent out equipment as well.

Ice skating and hockey

Tobogganing and sledding

Don’t have a toboggan? Using a piece of cardboard like a pizza box is an excellent quick alternative for a sled in a pinch.

Skiing and snowboarding


Play in the snow

Activities like making snow forts are always fun and free. Gather up some friends and see what you can all come up with.


Check in

When in doubt it never hurts to check in with mental health support and services that are available to you. 

Student Health and Wellness

Lakehead University’s Student Health and Wellness offers free counselling services to all current Lakehead Students. Check out their website for more information on how to book an appointment with your campuses Student Health and Wellness Services.


WeConnect is a service offered to Lakehead University students through WeSpeakStudent. This service offers self directed courses and modules on how to positively impact your mental health. They also provide a number of self assessment tools that can be used to evaluate your behaviours and provide suggested actions, recommendations, and resources based on your answers.


WellUKey is a new service accessible through Lakehead University has students perform a self assessment of their current mental health and provides them with mental health resources that they may find helpful in the future.


Good2Talk is a free over the phone service that connects young adults with support services specially designed for the needs of students.


Home for the Holidays for 2SLGBTQIIA+ students

The holidays can be mentally and emotionally overwhelming, especially when navigating unsure or unsafe spaces. It is important to remember that no matter how your family feels about your identity, you deserve to be loved unconditionally and others' discomfort with who you are says more about them than it does about you. Over the holidays, you might find yourself in a challenging space, it can be helpful to prepare yourself for feeling hurt or overwhelmed.

Prepping for conversations about gender/sexual identity

Consider what you want to share and discuss with your family members ahead of time. Remember that you decide when, how and if you want to come out and you don’t have to tell your entire extended family. 

Keep in mind not everyone might be familiar with the terms you are using and some explanation may be required. You have the opportunity to define yourself and be clear on what terms mean to you rather than allowing people to rely on their own understanding. But also remember that you also get to decide how much you want to engage in “heated” conversations, you don’t have to defend or validate your identity to anyone. If something like this comes up, calmly but firmly let your family members know that they don’t have to agree with you, but that you do expect them to treat you with respect. These conversations can be hard, but they are important if you want to be able to include your family in your life going forward.

If you do decide to come out to your family, it can be beneficial for both parties to allow time and space for them to process the new information you've given them. Remember, these conversations don't have to happen all in one sitting. Only answer questions you are comfortable with, and take a break when needed.

Setting Boundaries

First and foremost- your family members may have their own thoughts and opinions on your gender identity and sexuality, but ultimately the only opinion that matters is your own.

Consider what limits you want to set with yourself and others before heading home. A lot of family events come from a sense of tradition and obligation, feel free to politely decline invitations if you think it would be better for your emotional health, you don’t owe anyone your time.  If you do attend gatherings, set clear boundaries around what you are willing to discuss and to what extent. Assert yourself in a calm tone. If tension rises and you are beginning to feel overwhelmed or out of control, separate yourself. Take a walk; get a breath of fresh air. 

If you know that it will be difficult to be at your family’s home for long periods- consider how long you should stay- if your break is 3 weeks but you can only handle 4-5 days, plan your flights accordingly. If your family presses you to be there longer, think of an excuse ahead of time.

Bringing a partner home

If you are planning on bringing your partner to family events, discuss with them in advance what will make you comfortable with respect to sleeping arrangements, displays of affection and navigating conversations about your relationship. Also, give your partner information about your family dynamics and share any issues that are weighing on you ahead of time. 

To avoid confusion and conflict, plan sleeping arrangements with your family in advance. If there are members of your family who will be included in your celebration that you haven’t come out to yet, it’s probably a good idea to talk to them ahead of time, as well- addressing concerns in advance can avoid potentially unsafe and uncomfortable situations. 

No matter the situation, you and your partner should approach it as a team - talk about your concerns and plan ahead for ways to be there for each other during the tough moments.

Have an Exit Strategy

Sometimes family dynamics make it difficult to stand up for ourselves and you may feel like you have to sit through unwanted or disrespectful questions and opinions. If you feel comfortable doing so, go for it, but know that it’s okay to remove yourself from stressful, triggering, or upsetting situations. Excuse yourself and go to the bathroom for a few minutes or take a quick walk around the block. Offer to refresh people’s drinks or run to the store for something. A good trick is to set the expectation ahead of time that you might need to step away suddenly. You can blame a looming deadline or an important call that might come up. You can be vague with your excuse, but if you make it ahead of time, it will be less awkward if you need to take some time away later on. 

If things are feeling unsafe or are just getting to be too much, leave altogether if you need to. If you have a feeling that your stay isn’t going to be supportive, plan to leave early. You need to look after yourself first and foremost and no situation is worth compromising your physical or mental health over. If you don’t have access to your transportation- look at bus/train schedules to see what your options are or see if there is a supportive friend that you can stay with on short notice. 

Not Going Home at All

If going home for the winter break fills you with dread or makes you feel unsafe, it's okay to give yourself permission to not go at all. Surround yourself with those who respect and affirm your identity and give you strength and plan activities that bring you joy. Be prepared for feelings of loss around not being able to adhere to your family traditions and make space for your emotions. Plan new traditions with your chosen family, look for events in your community or try to find local organizations you can support.

Practice self-compassion/ self-care

Different people need different kinds of self-care.  Think about how you can make time for what you need over the break. 

  • Keep in touch with supportive people in your life. Make a point to hang out with them or facetime them if they are not nearby. If possible let these people know ahead of time that you may need their support over the break and ask what is the best way to connect. If they aren’t available (the break is busy!) make use of online communities.

  • Take time to decompress. Find quiet spaces in your house or neighbourhood where you can be alone, listen to music, read, or do whatever else you need. 

  • Plan activities that bring you joy. 

  • Take care of the basics- during stressful times we can ignore the basics of self-care like resting, eating well, and exercising. 

Be kind to yourself- you are doing the best you can for the situation you are in. Give yourself permission to rest and recharge. 

Mental Health Supports

Whatever you are dealing with over the break- remember that you don’t have to do it alone- supports are available to you. 

  • Youth Line offers confidential and non-judgemental peer support through our telephone, text and chat services. Get in touch with a peer support volunteer from Sunday to Friday, 4:00 PM to 9:30 PM.

  • GOOD2TALK post-secondary crisis line, call 1-866-925-5454 or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868 

  • TrevorSpace- is an affirming international community for LGBTQ young people ages 13-24.

  • Empty Closets- Empty Closets is an LGBTQ website that offers a forum where you can join in on discussions or start your own, a chat room and useful articles and links. 

  • TalkCampus- A global online peer-to-peer support community for students, available 24/7 anywhere in the world

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

  • Suicide Hotlines Across the World 

  • Pride Central’s “Unofficial Pride at Lakehead” Discord Server: 

Mid-semester Mindfulness

Hey Thunderwolves it’s midterm season which we all know is a hectic time. During these times practicing mindfulness can not only help with reducing stress but it can also help with motivation. We’ve collected some helpful tips and resources for you to use this month to help you get into mindfulness.


Body scan meditation is a technique used to look inwards and to assess any sensations your body may be feeling. Body scan meditation is used for many things like stress, improving sleep, greater self awareness, and reducing pain and stiffness. Check out this guided body scan meditation as a way to see if it is a good fit for you.


 Take some time to do what you enjoy. Is there a food you love? Take some time to enjoy it and ask yourself why you like it so much. Focusing on small details you enjoy can help you reduce feelings of anxiety. Check out this link for some easy comfort foods you can make to help you refuel for your studies.


You have supports available to you. As a Lakehead University student you have access to our counseling services offered through Student Health and Wellness. We even offer same day counseling. Wanting to check in with yourself? Use our new Wellukey tool to complete a self assessment and see any online resources available to you.


nterested in some mindfulness that gets your heart pumping? Yoga is an excellent way to get your muscles moving while easing your mind and body with a wide range of stretches, poses and breathing techniques. Below are some local yoga studios offering classes right now!

Thunder Bay




Check In with Your Sleep This Reading Week

Hey, it’s Fall Reading Week! What a great time to Check-In with the Lakehead WellU Key!

Are you eating enough leafy greens? Have you been active today? How's your sleep?

Sleep is critical for learning and memory. The process of learning is actively taken up by your brain during sleep, especially during the REM stage. Sleep is essential for long-term memory formation, and it is during sleep that memory consolidation and enhancement occur.

A lack of good quality sleep can make it harder to focus and think clearly and can cause increased fatigue, irritability, and anxiety during the day. All of which can cause your academic performance to suffer. 

It is not only the number of hours of sleep that matters but other factors such as quality of sleep are important. A common belief is that lost sleep from a late night of studying can be recovered by “sleeping in” another day or taking naps. However, both methods disrupt the body’s circadian rhythms and may deprive the body of deeper sleep stages. It is important to respond, whenever possible, to the body’s natural signals of sleepiness.

If you have fallen into a sleep schedule that is not working for you because you are having trouble getting up in the morning or staying up later than you want, there is no time like the present to get into a new sleep routine.

Try some of the following to get into a sleep pattern that works for you:

- Go to bed early enough to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night

- Be consistent with your sleep schedule, even on the weekends.

- If you need to nap, make it brief; keep it under 15 minutes and before 3pm

- Avoid studying, watching tv, or talking on the phone while in bed.

- Stay away from caffeine and other stimulants later in the day.

- Try to be physically active in some way each day.

- Help your body wind down naturally by turning off digital screens and dimming lights before bed.

- Try an app, like BetterSleep, Sleep Cycle, Pzizz, or Sleepiest.

If your sleep schedule is interfering with your academic work, job, and other responsibilities, if the above strategies don’t work, or if you’re struggling with sleep in any way, talk to your doctor or health care practitioner.

For more information and resources related to sleep check out the Sleep Section of our site!

Person sitting crossed legged writing in a journal

Setting Boundaries

Personal boundaries can be murky- they vary from person to person and occasionally from situation to situation. Even though personal boundaries can be challenging to navigate, learning how to set and communicate them allows you to prioritize your health and wellbeing. 

Take time to reflect on what you want and don’t want in different situations (e.g. work, friendships, romantic relationships).  The key to setting boundaries is first figuring out what you want from your various relationships and setting boundaries based on those desires. Once you know your boundaries, it is important to share them with others (remember that no one is a mindreader and might have different boundaries than you). Here are some tips on how to confidently and respectfully communicate your expectations:

  • Be assertive. Be firm and use clear, non-negotiable language. You can use “I statements” to make sure that you letting others know what you need and why instead of focussing on the actions of others (i.e. I feel overwhelmed after school/work and need time to myself before I can socialize vs. You need to give me space when I get home).

  • Use “No” as a complete sentence. You don’t always need to justify your decision. If someone asks you to cover a shift or to take on another project, say no without an excuse or explanation.

  • Protect your time. Remote learning and work have blurred a lot of boundaries, enforce them by designating work/study hours, setting cut-off times for responding to emails/texts or using the do not disturb features on your devices. You can share those times with others to help them be respected (e.g. let your supervisor know when they can expect to receive responses from you or let your roommates know when you are studying so they know not to interrupt).

  • Remember, you are not responsible for the other person’s reaction to the boundary you are setting. You are only responsible for communicating your boundary in a respectful manner. If it upset them, know it is their problem. Plan on it, expect it but remain firm. Remember, your behaviour must match the boundaries you are setting. You cannot successfully establish a clear boundary if you send mixed messages by apologizing. 

  • Get assistance or support. If setting boundaries was easy, we wouldn’t be sharing this article and some situations are more complicated than others. If you’re experiencing challenges with setting or asserting boundaries, or if someone is causing you difficulty by crossing them, never hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional- you can book an appointment with Student Health and Wellness counsellors or connect with 

Male student sitting on couch looking towards a female in the foreground

Stocking Your Pantry

The first grocery shop of the school year is a doozie-  making a plan ahead of time can help you take advantage of deals, ensure you have all the staples and avoid each roommate buying their own 10lb bag of rice. Check out this list below for some pantry essentials.

  • Long-grain white rice, one or two other grains (such as quinoa or farro)
  • dry pasta
  • rice/ramen/udon noodles
  • plain bread crumbs/panko
  • bread
  • wraps/pita/naan
  • breakfast cereals, oatmeal
Oils and Vinegars
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • neutral cooking oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
  • whatever vinegar you must often use- rice, balsamic, white, red wine, etc.
Cans and jars
  • Canned tuna
  • Tomatoes in all forms (diced, paste, sauce)
  • Soups and stocks
  • Canned Beans (white beans, black beans and-or chickpeas)
Spices and dried herbs
  • Kosher salt
  • red-pepper flakes
  • ground cayenne
  • curry powder
  • bay leaves
  • black pepper
  • sweet paprika
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground cumin
  • garlic powder
  • granulated garlic
  • dried thyme
  • dried oregano
  • ground coriander

If you are a somewhat experienced cook you'll know what spices you often use but this is a good starting point for beginners. Opting for packages over jars also saves money.

Condiments and sauces
  • Salad dressing
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Ketchup
  • Hot sauce
  • Salsa
  • Soy sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Rolled oats
  • Cornstarch
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Vanilla extract
  • Brown and white sugar
  • Chocolate: chips, baking, etc.
  • Raisins or another dried fruit
  • Cocoa powder

If you are not a baker you can skip this section but never underestimate the power of stress baking. 

  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream

If you follow a lactose-free or adhere to a vegan diet, look for affordable substitutes that contain protein.

  • Frozen fruits and veggies
  • Frozen proteins
  • Frozen meals (e.g. lasagna, pizzas, samosas) These are never as good as the real deal but can do in a pinch
  • Ice cream/sorbet/gelato- this is an essential

Opting for frozen instead of fresh is often more affordable and lasts way longer, just be mindful of freezer space, especially if you are sharing with roommates.

The rest
  • Nuts and nut butters: Walnuts, almonds, roasted peanuts, peanut butter (smooth and crunchy). 
  • Sweeteners: Honey, maple syrup, granulated sugar.
  • Preserves and pickles: Fruit jams and preserves, anchovies.



This list is by no means exhaustive- you know your own likes and dietary restrictions- but it is a good place to start. You'll also need to consider your fresh produce and proteins and snacks. 

If you are new to the city, we have grocery maps!

For more information about eating healthy- visit the Health Eating page of our site!

jars of dried cook in a pantry

Signs You Might be Getting Too Much Sun

Three students sitting on a cliffside overlooking the water. 

The summer season is in full swing and with it comes the summer sun. Though the sun is great for giving us vitamin D sometimes too much sun can be harmful to us. Below is a list of common sun and heat related illnesses as well as their signs and symptoms.

Heat Cramps

The first stage of heat illness are heat cramps. These are muscle cramps that are brought on when you’ve spent too much time in heat. Often heat cramps are accompanied by:

heavy sweating



muscle cramps

Heat Exhaustion

The second stage of heat illness is heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion does not require immediate medical attention but should be acted on immediately. Symptoms are the same as heat cramps but now also include:


Dizziness and confusion

Pale clammy skin

Fast breathing/pulse

Temperature above 38C

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most dangerous of the heat illnesses. If you suspect someone has heat stroke seek medical attention immediately. The symptoms of heat stroke are the same as the previous stages but now including:

Altered behaviour (confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, etc)

Skin feeling dry with little to no sweat being produced or extreme amounts of sweating

Nausea and vomiting

Flushed skin

chart showing the most common heat illness symptoms