Best-kept campus secrets

Eight hidden hot spots you’ll want to explore

Library technician Pam Manders explores the Jordan Special Collections Library’s treasures.
Library technician Pam Manders explores the Jordan Special Collections Library’s treasures.
Archivist Paul Banfield time-travels in the Queen’s Archives.
Archivist Paul Banfield time-travels in the Queen’s Archives.
Can’t bear the frigid walk from Mackintosh-Corry to Dunning Hall? Try this covered passageway between the buildings.
Can’t bear the frigid walk from Mackintosh-Corry to Dunning Hall? Try this covered passageway between the buildings.

By September, you’ve probably educated yourself on the big landmarks on campus like Victoria Hall, Grant Hall, and the horrors of west campus. But what if you wanted to get away from the usual hangouts of Stauffer Library and Common Ground coffee shop? Fear not—Queen’s campus may feel small at times, but there are places, resources and pathways on campus waiting to be discovered.


Tucked away in the John Deutsch Uuniversity Centre (JDUC)’s upper ceilidh, the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) offers resources and support to international students and students going on exchange, plus a few other perks.

“There’s something for everyone at the centre,” said Justin Kerr, QUIC international student advisor.

“We work in support of new international students, even Canadians who never lived in Canada. We also work in support of anyone interested in study, work, or travel abroad.” International students can take advantage of the English conversation group every Thursday, as well as cultural trips to places like Niagara Falls and Ottawa. Anyone at Queen’s can volunteer to be an English chatting buddy to people from abroad. The QUIC also holds potlucks at the start of term and to celebrate holidays, such as the American thanksgiving. The centre is home to a resource library with more than 2,000 books on study, work or travel abroad, as well as frequent workshops and a speaker series on the above topics. The centre also offers an international student’s orientation that takes place in September and January.

For anyone tired of paying a pretty penny for caffeine care of the Common Ground or Tim Horton’s, head over to the QUIC—an Earl Grey tea or cup of joe will only cost you two shiny quarters.

Career Services

Do you have questions about your degree or what you can do with it in the real world outside the pretty limestone buildings? Want to know more about internships and job opportunities in Canada and overseas? The Career Services’ resource library, on the third floor of Gordon Hall across the street from the PEC may hold the answers to these daunting questions.

“We work with students to transition them from school to work,” said Paul Smith, Career Services director.

There are rich databases on internships and career opportunities, as well as helpful guidebooks on crafting effective resumes and cover letters. You can lounge and take notes in this newly renovated room, or sign out books for more thorough research. Still feeling lost? Every Queen’s student is eligible for three individual career counselling appointments per school year to talk about graduate schools, jobs or other options for the future. The centre also runs workshops throughout the year on topics like interview skills, resumé and cover letters, and graduate school programs. You can sign up at

W. D. Jordan Library

On the second floor of Douglas Library lies an extensive collection of early travel accounts and literature set in Canada, 18th-century British political pamphlets, 19th-century French history, and an extensive North American map collection. The best part is that all are available for students to view and use, and the collection is searchable on QCAT, the University’s online library catalogue.

The collection is especially comprehensive when it comes to British political and literary pamphlets, as well as early editions of Canadian literature.

“We want students to have the experience and see primary source material,” says Barbara Teatero, associate university librarian at the Jordan Special Collections Library. “So much is available electronically now, but often having the opportunity to really see things that were published at the time—whatever the interest is—is really meaningful.”

Queen’s Archives

The Queen’s Archives was established with its first acquisition of a document in 1869, and has been an independent fixture at the University since 1981, when it moved to its current location at Kathleen Ryan Hall, in the medical quadrangle across from the campus bookstore.

“It’s the largest university archives in Canada, with holdings that rival the National Archives [in Ottawa],” said Jeremy Heil, technical archivist.

The Lorne Pierce collection contains manuscripts and correspondence of Canadian authors, especially from the earlier half of the 20th century. There are also letter collections that bear extraordinary names, such as T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Albert Einstein and George Orwell. Orwell’s correspondence with George Woodcock, a Canadian writer, discusses 1984. The archives are also home to old records from the University, Kingston General Hospital and City Hall. You can search the collections in your home on the archives website,, and make copies of coveted documents. The archives also uses iTunes to display materials on the iTunes website—you can view and listen to some of the digitized collections, including a 1926 film of the University campus.

Cinema Kingston

Run by the film and media department and a community advisory board, Cinema Kingston has been delivering independent movies to Queen’s students as part of the Film Circuit, a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFF), since 1968.

“Cinema Kingston is planning to expand beyond the TIFF system to increase the range of films brought to Kingston,” said Lisa Visser, administrator at Cinema Kingston, “so as to not compete with similar organizations with similar mandates, such as the Screening Room.” Cinema Kingston’s season runs from September to April, showing one film for each month—eight movies in total throughout the year. Their latest screening was The Conformist, a renowned Bernardo Bertolucci film. After various location changes, Cinema Kingston finally found its current home in Etherington Auditorium, 96 Stuart St., in 2001, complete with a new stereo sound system and a retractable screen. At $8 a ticket (or $30 for a student season pass), you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy unique independent movies that can’t be found anywhere else. For more information, call 613-533-2178.

‘Secret’ passage

Arts students, take note: on cold winter days, you could save your precious, nearly frostbitten hands by walking upstairs in Mac-Corry using the staircase opposite to the International Programs Office. Follow the path to the Human Resources Centre, and you will hit the upper level of Dunning Hall—just climb down the stairs to come to auditorium level. It may seem like a lot of effort, but you would be surprised at what five minutes inside can do for a frozen soul in mid-February.

This little house, located on Bader Lane across from Harrison-LeCaine music building and Watson Hall, is home to many alternative clubs on campus. Built in 1900, the Grey House is home to Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP), Queen’s Women’s Centre and Queen’s Students for Literacy, to name a few. There is also a queer and women’s resource library, as well as a women-only space on the first-floor living room.

Wallace Hall—JDUC

If you want to avoid the sometimes chaotic and panicky space that is Stauffer Library during exam time, there is an alternative: Wallace Hall, located near the University Avenue entrance of the JDUC on the first floor.

“Once courses end, through the end of exams, [Wallace Hall] becomes a 24-hour study space, accommodating 200 people,” said Bob Burge, director of the JDUC.

One major perk: Common Ground coffeehouse, which switches into a 24-hour caffeine booster during exams, is also in the JDUC. The room is also wireless-equipped, so studying with a laptop shouldn’t be a problem.

During the school year, students can use the Polson Room right next to Wallace Hall as their all-nighter study space.

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