Athletic Center Demystified

To many people, the Athletic Center (AC) at the University of Toronto looks big and intimidating. It is confusing. In such a huge building, where do you start? Things are not exactly intuitive: the facilities are located in different parts of the building. For example, the change rooms are located in the basement, while the weight and fitness machines and the track are spread out on the main floor and second floor. This means that you’ll need to go downstairs, get changed, and then come upstairs again to one of the other floors. This article is designed to give you an overview; so hopefully, the AC will seem less intimidating after reading this article.


Enter the AC and make your way towards the card-swipe area. The card you need to swipe is your T-card (the U of T student ID card), which grants you access to the AC. When swiping, hold it upside down, with the magnetic strip towards you (see figure). The AC is usually open every day, except on holidays (closed during new years and Christmas, for example). The AC closes earlier during summer and closes really early on weekends. Check the schedule here:

Change rooms

Once inside, you’ll want to get changed. The change rooms are Moneygram agent downstairs. To access it, turn to the right, through the red doorway onto the stairs leading down into the basement (see figure). At the bottom, make your way through the doors and turn to the right. You’ll see a service desk where towel is dispensed. Walk towards it and you’ll see a long hallway with a row of yellow day lockers along the hallway. The women’s change rooms are closer to the service desk, while the men’s change rooms are at the far end of the hallway (near the computers). Inside the change rooms, you’ll see rows and rows of yellow lockers. Pick one that is marked with “Day Locker” (see figure). The Day Lockers are free and to use the locker you’ll need to bring your own lock. Do not use the smaller unmarked lockers as they are reserved for those who want to rent it over the school year.
Note: be careful not to leave anything valuable in the lockers. Things have been stolen before. If you must, I’d recommend you to use the day lockers in the hallway near the service desk (outside the change rooms). These lockers can be seen from the service desk thus discouraging theft.


Field House

Once changed, you may enjoy several facilities. The Field House on the second floor contains a large track, with fitness machines around the track. It has a number of cycling machines, stair climbers, and a limited number of weight machines. When using the track, you are supposed to jog either in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction depending on the day of the week. Sounds confusing? Just follow the direction other people are running. Always remember to look both ways before crossing the track.

Weight Room

The weight room is located on the first floor (see figure). It has a variety of free weights and machines. The room is great but it is not always open so it is advised that you check the schedule before going.

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool can be accessed through the change rooms. Make your way through the rows of lockers towards the back. You’ll see the washroom area and showers. A door in the shower room leads into the pool area.


Enthusiasts of badminton, table tennis, tennis, and squash can play by reserve a court. Call (416) 978-3436 and dial the extension “0” to reserve a court.

20 Replies to “Athletic Center Demystified”

  1. Swimming Pools:
    There are 2 swimming pools in the AC. The 50-metre pool is accessible through the change rooms. The 25-yard or Benson pool is on the first floor, the entrance is near the weight room. Most of the recreational swim is scheduled on the 50-m pool but sometimes it is on the Benson pool.
    Check the Rec Swim schedule posted around the AC or on their website before heading for a swim. Times vary, there are many events and classes scheduled on the pools.
    If the swim is in the Benson pool, you have to walk from the change rooms to the first floor, so you might want to bring a towel or extra t-shirt if you feel uncomfortable walking around in your swim suit.

  2. The AC is a very large and old building. At first it seems terribly designed and kind of intimidating, but you get used to it. The facilities are great.

  3. I agree with OdR. The AC might have been badly designed but once you go a few times, you’ll definitely get used to it. Once you go enough, it’ll feel just like home 😉

  4. I still prefer Hart House :p. I went to the AC once and I found the staff unfriendly, and the environment a bit cold. HH feels more welcoming to non-serious fitness buffs like myself. Having said that, the AC is larger and probably boasts better facilities, and a steam room!

  5. Word! Am a IM triathlete travelling in the Toronto area jonesing for a good swim – Can the general public use the pools … My faith in Santa is re-affirmed if I can actually get into the 50m tank !?!

  6. Always good to read about swimming, my ex was an olympic swimmer..

    Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news?

    Very impressive, is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?

    Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your seo success..

  7. Oh what’s on google news? My article or this entire blog site?
    Also, can you give me the link? It’ll be interesting to see.

  8. I think Google news just picks up articles based on whatever ranking algorithm they use.

    We didn’t sign up for it or anything…

  9. How many tennis courts are there?
    Aside from the AC, are there tennis courts available in other buildings? I know the Trinity courts are college members only

  10. agree with you that AC is a big building one should made an app on the places to go and current location. But your article is more than helpful. Now people can avoid getting lost to this huge building.

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