With the end of the year almost upon us (yeah, I’m not sure how that happened), we are all going to be spending a lot of extra time studying, and hastily trying to get papers done before their quickly approaching deadlines. This means you’ll soon be scouring the city for that perfect study spot, one that includes the best latte and reliable internet. However, it is easy to forget how many university students from around the city will be doing the same thing, when you’ve gotten so familiar with Concordia’s small campus. I am finishing my third year in Concordia’s Political Economy program, so this is something I am very familiar with. Now, there really is no such thing as an “undiscovered” café that will promise you endless hours of silent studying perfection, so I can’t give you that. But when you’re growing tired of the clamour at Remedy or even our very own busting-at-the-seams library, these are my two favourite places that you might also appreciate:
1.The Muttart Conservatory (9626 - 96A Street, Edmonton, Alberta)
Average cost per visit: $12.50 for admission, but you can use a bit of that tax return money to purchase an annual pass for $45. In my opinion, this is one of the best investments for your mental stability you can make!
Why I love it: The Muttart is a little chunk of paradise in the heart of our city! Wandering through the four different pyramids, each containing a unique landscape of plants, waterfalls, and koi fish, is the best escape from winter, stress, and whatever life might be throwing at you. My favourite time to go is Thursday night, as it is the only time the Muttart is open until 9pm, which means you avoid the school field trips that are known to traipse through during the day. Each pyramid is lit with funky coloured lights at night, which makes for an enchanting place to write.
Top tip: You cannot take food or drink into the pyramids, but their café is excellent (and an option for when you want a good tea or coffee)- it also has one of the best brunches in the city!
2. The Tea Girl (12411 Stony Plain Road NW)
Average cost per visit: A small pot of tea is $5, and you get unlimited refills of hot water. I would also highly recommend their soups and pastries (vegan options available), which start at $1.50.
Why I love it: Whenever I have a tea craving, a paper to write, or a friend I need to catch up with, this is where I go! Their tea selection is one of the largest in the city, covering two full walls, and includes speciality teas like hand picked white tea from Kenya. The best part is the price- the fact that if you spend a few hours here, you still have something to drink without spending $5 on another latte. The other great features of this place include its eccentricity, lovely staff, and abundant options for comfy seating (regardless of whether your ideal study position is tucked into a wing-back chair or at a proper table).
Top tip: The wifi here is excellent! Password: lowercase. They are also open 10am-10pm, seven days a week to accommodate all of your studying needs!
A few other favourites of mine are: Zocalo (10826 95th St), District Cafe & Bakery (10011 109th St), Credo Coffee (locations on 104th St & Jasper and 124th St & 103rd Ave), Cafe Blackbird (9640 142nd St), Block 1912 (10361 82nd Ave), and when it’s nice out the Legislature Grounds or anywhere along the river valley is wonderful.
Also remember to take care of your mental health during exam time! Try to get as much sleep as you can, stay organized, eat well, and take breaks. It is easy to get overwhelmed when there are so many deadlines, but sacrificing your mental health is not the answer. Life will always be stressful, so it is much better to learn how to handle that stress now, as it will only serve to benefit you later on. Take advantage of on-campus help such as counselling services and financial aid, and attend all of the fun events planned for the rest of the year. My go-to places for taking a break are the Edmonton Humane Society (because cuddling cats is life), and the Garneau Theatre (for when you want to take a break without completely shutting off your brain, attend one of the documentaries or film festival films playing daily).
Best of luck to everyone in their studying endeavors, and have a great summer!
by Whitney Thomson