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: http://www.ac-fpeh.com/facilities/hoursinfo.php.
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.
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.
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.
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.