Just in time for the start of the school year, UTM’s new food court brings a unique dining experience to the William G. Davis building. Students can look forward to an array of diverse food options, ethical sourcing, and waste reduction initiatives.

The new food court’s services range from convenient coffee spots to fresh salad bars, a gluten-free food station, and vegetarian options.

Morning power-up bars and pastry cravings can be found at the Fair Trade Corner. This specialty shop offers all things fair trade such as coffee, chocolate, and even sugar. Another breakfast favourite, Oooh La La, showcases wholesome bagels, eggs, and fresh fruit in its menu.

Stocking up on lunch is easy at Bespoke, a Mongolian-inspired cuisine shop where meals can be customized vegetarian. Students craving Middle Eastern classics can also fill up on slow-cooked chicken shawarma at Rotisserie.

Additional campus eateries in the expanding food court include Harvey’s, Thai Express, Pizza Pizza, The Salad Bar, and Fusion 8.

In response to dietary accommodations, meat served on campus is mostly halal and outlets like Fusion 8 remain gluten-free and nut-free. Students with special requirements including nutritional, medical or religious needs are encouraged to speak with food service managers to ensure options are made available. 

Students can now order from The Burger’s Priest, UTM Hospitality and Retail Services’ new off-campus partner, and have it delivered to their location on campus. The Burger’s Priest, located at 129 Lakeshore Road East, will authorize the purchase with Flex Dollars, funds from the UTM Meal Plan.

Hospitality and Retail Services are also thinking of adding a second Starbucks outlet on campus.

The new food court belongs to a multi-purpose construction project to revitalize the William G. Davis building. Seating fits 900 people, which is more than double the previous 400-person capacity. The food court was built on the original Meeting Place site, a favourite go-to spot for students. The construction plan presents a fluid seating system that provides a spacious environment for group hangouts.

Senior Facilities Planner of UTM’s Facilities Management & Planning Department Greg Karavelis told The Medium that the project aimed to “reimagine the Meeting Place into a student-focused hub.”

Construction will continue in the Temporary Food Court (TFC), where a new seating area and two stand-alone food kiosks will fill the area previously occupied by food stations. A new space for Student Services offices and all-gender washrooms will also be built.

The William G. Davis renovation project is expected to be completed by this autumn.

In addition to diverse meal options and upcoming construction plans, changes to the Meeting Place also include innovative sustainability initiatives. UTM’s Hospitality & Retail Services aims to purchase 55 per cent of their food purchases locally for the non-branded food outlets at UTM, such as the Colman Commons Dining Hall at Oscar Peterson Hall. The food outlets directly under Hospitality & Retail management officially eliminated plastic straws in 2017, and a waste diversion program focused on cutting pre-consumer waste now trains Chartwells staff through the disposal station process and waste reduction practices. 

Hospitality & Retail Services will begin a Bring Your Own Container program later this year where reusable take-out containers will receive a $0.25 discount, and a discount of $0.10 will be applied at Tim Hortons and Starbucks. Hospitality & Retail Services will distribute 2,000 reusable take-out containers at the start of the program to encourage participation.

In 2016, UTM became a designated fair trade campus and continues to put forth more fair trade choices and projects like the Vertical Farm. The indoor farm grows herbs and vegetables for campus food services, harvesting over 205 kg of produce since 2017. Through the UTM Bee Program, five beehives have produced 770 pounds of honey since 2017 for charitable donations and distribution to Community Kitchens on campus.

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