Since they were so spread out (and I was young at the time), I didn’t notice them, but I’ve actually been on three campus tours during my school life.
- My first campus tour was in early 1989 when I was in sixth grade, my last year of elementary-school. We walked down the street from Glenview to Maplehurst to see the middle-school we’d be going to in several months. Naturally, I felt overwhelmed and nervous walking around amongst those scary older kids. (This is pretty much constant throughout childhood; everybody seems older and intimidating.) The only thing I remember from this tour was when—for some reason—the last thing they showed us was the staff-room. The tour-guide took a long foam thing out of the top-shelf of a closet there and explained that it was a gift from a former student who now works in Hollywood and that the foam thing was a prop from the 1986 remake of The Fly (it looked like one of the creature’s arms/legs, but it was unpainted, so it was probably a spare or defect or something).
- The next campus tour I took was just two years later when we went (walked?) up the street from Maplehurst to Aldershot to see the high-school we’d be going to in a few months. Again, walking the halls of the high-school and seeing the big, old pubescent near-adults was quite daunting. I’m sure we got to see the (shockingly impressive, for a public school) facilities, but there are only two things I remember from it:
- We walked towards the oversized gym down the phys-ed wing hallway whose walls were adorned with awards and photos. The tour-guide stopped at one of the photos (I think it may have been black-and-white), of a kneeling student with a football, wearing a football uniform (I swear he was wearing one of those old-fashion leather helmets 🤔). The guide explained that the photo was of former-student Jim Carey. Yes, the actor. Years later, I tried to look it up, and he did indeed attend Aldershot. If I ever meet him, I have something to discuss. 😀
- After the tour was over and we returned to Maplehurst, somehow I got split-up from our group and remained behind at Aldershot. It’s been many, many years, but I vaguely recall staying behind for a reason; I think was supposed discuss or ask something of someone at the high-school (I do sort of recall a wait of some sort for the teacher to be free). Anyway, I remember being all alone down in the music wing which felt like an unfinished basement with exposed pipes and feeling nervous and out of my element. I also recall walking down the hall, towards the school-proper and seeing the portraits of various composers hanging from the roof.
I also recall taking a bus to Central, but almost the only thing I remember about that (other than the dark, unlit hallways) was worrying that a girl from my class that I liked was going there while I was going to Aldershot. 😞
- My final campus tour was spring of 1996, in my last year of high-school. (When I was in high-school, we had an extra year after 12th grade called OAC which was discontinued a couple of years later.) There were no universities in Burlington, let alone within walking distance, so we took a bus. Once again, I had a crush on a (different) girl in my class, but going to three different cities to see universities was still exciting. I brought my (non-Sony) walk-man with me along with several tapes and listened to Bryan Adams, Green Day, and a bunch of comedy routines and songs. We went to see three universities (though for the life of me, I can only remember two). On the way, we stopped at a couple of other high-schools to pick up more students for the tours. Not surprisingly, being among all of those literal adults was really something.
- First, we went to Guelph to visit the University of Guelph (¬_¬). I only vaguely remember this (maybe I should look it up on Google Maps to jog my memory). I do remember seeing the large, three-story library, and especially the canon in the grass that I think they said is occasionally fired. 😕 I also remember sitting on some stairs in a large foyer/courtyard/mezzanine type of area of a building while we waited for something or other.
- Next, we to London to see King’s College (which is a subsidiary of UWO). We saw a few (dark, empty) rooms and stopped in at the cafeteria where we were given lunch. I don’t remember much else, but then, King’s is only a single building (including the dorm). We then went to the main campus of UWO to see the university-proper. (Maybe the “three” places we saw included King’s as a separate one. 🤔) We also saw an off-campus student-residence (I think it was just a building that students often rented 😕). I recall again sitting on stairs waiting, but this one was in the Social-Science building (which I became fairly familiar with later). We also went upstairs in the Social-Science building for some sort of administrative stuff (instead of the Admin-building 🤨). We saw the pool in the Thompson Recreation & Athletic Center at the (then-) edge of campus. We were told to split up into a few groups and explore things of relevance to ourselves. We probably saw a few buildings and facilities, but the thing I remember the best was Alumni Hall because our bus was stopped in front of it and when we were ready to leave, I had to go to the bathroom, as did Rebecca (who happened to be the girl I liked). We were told there’s a bathroom in Alumni Hall and we ducked in to go quickly before heading home. Alumni has a double-door in the middle of the edifice that opens to a hallway that goes to the left and right. We went to the left and saw a sign for the girl’s bathroom. She went in and I had to go to the other side of the building to get to the boy’s bathroom. (Stupid symmetry. 😒) Anyway, we got back to the bus to head home. Later on, every time I was in Alumni, I thought of the bathrooms. 😀
We dropped off the other students at their respective high-schools and headed back to our own.
The strange thing is that each time I went to the new school, I quickly got accustomed to it and forgot about the tour and stopped thinking of it as the place we went to a few months earlier. Weird. 🤨 I applied to Guelph, Waterloo, and Western and ended up going to Western, and the rest is history.
(In case you’re wondering why it’s only two and half stories, it’s because the first two had something that could be interesting to other people—the prop and Jim Carey—but the last one is only of interest to myself—unless others find my urinary nostalgia interesting.)