We are at a time when being a post-secondary student doesn’t just mean having your head in your books. As young adults it’s essentially expected that you will manage to keep focused on your studies while having a part-time job, getting involved on campus, building your resume and having a social life. It may not have been this extreme five to 10 years ago, but nonetheless, students are still finding the time to enjoy the university experience.
It’s the stereotypical assumption that the university lifestyle is filled with partying and a lot of it.
In their 2017 university rankings, Maclean’s found from a survey of 15,000 students across Canada, that students attending St. Francis Xavier party the most – the average party hours per week by the Nova Scotia school is 8.01. Bishop’s University, in Quebec, ranked second at 7.66 hours and the top Ontario school was Queen’s University, ranked third at 4.94 hours.
As a university student myself, I would think St. Francis Xavier and Bishop’s students are the most honest as well. Considering a night out consists of a pre-party for two to three hours (beginning at 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m., ending past 9:00 p.m.) and the time at a party or bar is close to four to five hours (10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.), so one night out per week is already six to eight hours. That’s excluding the possibility of ending the night with grabbing food with your friends.
Maclean’s found from their 2017 survey that Brock University students party on average only 3.85 hours per week, ranking 12th among Canadian universities. This was an increase from 2016, in which Brock ranked 20th at 3.76 hours (the 2017 rankings had seven fewer schools on the list).
“I would give it a three,” said Ankush Malhotra when asked to rank Brock’s party scene out of five. Malhotra is a Campus Manager for XL LIFESTYLE, an organization that plans many events that are held in university cities. Malhotra runs everything in St. Catharines and Niagara Region for XL.
“[It’s] because in other cities there are many different types of venues that play all kinds of music,” Malhotra explained. “In St. Catharines, we don’t have that many options.”
Malhotra, a Brock student as well, cited Waterloo (Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Waterloo), London (University of Western) and Guelph (University of Guelph) as the ideal party cities/universities. Malhotra said that was the case because they have a bit of everything.
|2017 Rank||University||2017 Party hours per week||2016 Party hours per week (2016 rank)|
|1||St. Francis Xavier University||8.01||7.25 (1)|
|2||Bishop’s University||7.66||5.76 (2)|
|3||Queen’s University||4.94||4.8 (7)|
|4||Mount Allison University||4.77||4.66 (8)|
|5||Acadia University||4.5||4.6 (9)|
|6||Nipissing University||4.49||5.03 (5)|
|7||Laurentian University||4.47||2.72 (39)|
|8||Wilfrid Laurier University||4.43||4.51 (10)|
|9||Western University||4.29||4.27 (12)|
|10||University of Guelph||4.04||4.5 (11)|
|11||Trent University||3.92||3.19 (26)|
|12||Brock University||3.85||3.76 (20)|
|13||University of New Brunswick||3.74||3.77 (19)|
|14||McGill University||3.58||3.82 (17)|
|15||Carleton University||3.51||3.04 (30)|
*Rankings and average hours from macleans.ca
In St. Catharines, although Brock and Niagara College students can get together to create an eventful night in the downtown core, the weekly bar schedule can get repetitive.
On a typical week during the school year, students in the Niagara region can expect The Moose & Goose, in Thorold, to be the hotspot on a Wednesday; Brock’s own bar Isaac’s is popular for Thursday; and over the last couple years Gords Place has been the go-to for Friday night. On Saturday, Brock students can be spotted at Gords, The Red Hot Chili Pepper or L 3 Night Club. Both Chili Pepper and L 3 can be places to go on Friday as well.
“I would say over the last two or three years the downtown core is definitely more popular than it was a few years ago,” said Malhotra. “There are a lot more students going out now than there ever was.”
Gord’s, as mentioned above, has only become the go-to place on the weekend over the past two years. It was sort of like a revival for the bar, as some Brock alumni (who asked not to be named) said Gords was a great place to go during their time at Brock – more than five years ago.
“I don’t know if I consider Brock a party school, although I didn’t have much to compare it to,” said one Brock alum. “I know that if you wanted to party, there were always ways to have a good time.”
Around the year 2010, Brock students also had places to party such as Kahunaville and Barracuda (Mishun Nightclub), which have both closed.
“Bars are always in abundance, but I think the backyard/keggers, friendly city environment allowed us to have more party experiences,” said the Brock alum. “Being so close to downtown and Niagara College only amplified the ability to cross paths with more students.”
It seems the kegger scene in St. Catharines has decreased due to Brock students living in family populated areas and the police being much more aware of what is happening and where it is happening – this could be caused by the increased usage of social media by students.
Brock and Niagara College students are also becoming used to the long lines at bars, as Malhotra’s comment about more students going out now than ever before adds up.
The downtown scene can be very popular during the summer as well. The city of St. Catharines sent out a release in August stating that Mansion House was fined $5,000 by the Ontario Court of Justice for exceeding their maximum occupant load. The violation by the bar occurred on August 4 and 10 in 2016.
St. Catharines bars seem to have become more careful now than ever before to make sure they don’t exceed the occupant load – leading to larger lines and longer waits to get in bars.
Besides the bar/club scene and keggers, Malhotra mentioned the lack of the city not having a big live music venue either.
“[St. Catharines] doesn’t have a very big live music venue like a lot of other cities do,” he said. “But at the same time, nowadays big venues aren’t as popular as they use to be. Everyone wants to be at smaller, more packed places.”
The Niagara region is also one of the faster growing regions in Ontario, as more families begin to move into the area. This is causing a mix of student housing and family-owned homes in residential areas, so this could slow down the partying in the area, due to the potential for noise complaints.
Being ranked 12th on Macleans list could mean Brock students are finding other ways to enjoy their university years – however, the university itself has not earned the title of being a “party school”.