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Across Canada, the universities nestled in each of our cities are hubs for innovation, creativity, and social interaction. Here in Edmonton, the University of Alberta (U of A) is a case in point.
The university campus has much to offer students and oftentimes locals, too, including vibrant eateries and beautiful spots primed for relaxation and focus. Now, as students prepare for their return to campus this fall, we wanted to learn about their favourite spots in and around U of A — so we asked them.
Here are five of the best locations recommended by U of A students in Edmonton and why each spot brings them joy.
In U of A’s Central Academic Building, students and visitors alike will find Remedy Cafe. The chai bar has been in Edmonton for two decades and has an impressive menu containing chai, over 120 types of tea, and 70 types of beer from all over the world.
Keira Macfarlane, a recent U of A graduate and registered dietitian who attained her BSc in Nutrition and Food Science and went on to complete an integrated dietetic internship, tells us her favourite place near campus was Remedy Cafe.
“The chai is absolutely delicious, and it’s a great place to study with lots of ambient noise, but just loud enough you can’t hear specific conversations,” she says. “Most people don’t know the best drink there is the chai milkshake.” To try one, make a contactless purchase in-store with Interac Debit.
The Harry Potter Room
One student Daily Hive spoke with, who wishes to remain anonymous, studied both his JD Degree in Law and Undergraduate BSc in Science at U of A. One of his favourite places to study? This “cool space dubbed The Harry Potter Room, upstairs in the old Rutherford Library.”
The Rutherford Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education Library is the largest library on the U of A campus — and also the second-largest research library in Canada. Although it opened its doors in 1951, the Rutherford Reading Room is casually known as “The Harry Potter Room” all these years later.
The room is described as “a really old-looking study hall.” So, if you can imagine vaulted ceilings, chandeliers, and brass door fixtures, like the kind you would expect to find at a school of witchcraft and wizardry, this space meets and exceeds those expectations.
U of A’s Agricultural, Life, and Environmental Sciences (ALES) faculty works to provide solutions to global challenges in four key areas: nutrition, the environment, agriculture, and human ecology.
Hitarth Godhani, a student attending U of A, says his favourite spot is the ALES Atrium. The second-floor atrium, which at one point operated almost like a greenhouse, with live canaries, tropical plants, and a shed-roof design, has since been transformed into a contemporary space where students can study and connect.
Glass panelling allows natural light to flood into the atrium, creating an inviting space for students to retreat amid the indoor greenery between classes.
The Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) is a student-focused hub with specialized spaces and simulation technology, allowing scholars from U of A’s health science faculties to work together, share ideas, innovate, and improve health outcomes for Canadians.
On campus, Macfarlane says her favourite spot was definitely the ECHA building. “It has tons of small private rooms to study and a big library in the basement,” she says of the state-of-the-art academy preparing students for team-based healthcare.
“Most people don’t know that the building is actually designed to make people take the stairs, with the stairs all easily accessible all around the building, but the elevators hidden in the middle.”
Room at the Top
The University of Alberta Students’ Union (the UASU) is run by students for students, and it operates several businesses that appeal to students within the Students’ Union Building (SUB) on 114 Street in Edmonton.
Room at the Top (RATT) is among those businesses. Located on the seventh floor of the SUB, it serves students, staff, and alumni. “RATT is sort of a cheap student bar at the top of the student union building (SUB),” the U of A law graduate we spoke with explains. “It’s a restaurant with great views all around.”
Although RATT is currently temporarily closed to limit the risk within the community, students will be able to visit again and enjoy all that it has to offer once it is safe to do so.
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