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aerial shot of campus
August 20, 2019
3 mins read

Getting around campus

When I first got here, I was astounded by how huge the university was—and I had taken a campus tour before I decided to attend! 

If you want to see for yourself just how large UBC really is and get acquainted with a few of the important buildings here, check out this video by the UBC Life team:

Keep reading for more information on some of the locations shown in the video and tips for navigating our campus!

Musqueam Post

Musqueam Welcome Post
  • UBC is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. The Musqueam Post is a reminder of UBC's relationship with the Musqueam people who were here long before the university's history began.
  • Carved by Brent Sparrow Jr., the Musqueam Post marks one of the main entrances to UBC. 
  • The Musqueam Post was installed in 2016, during UBC’s centennial!

Campus pro tip: 
Invest in a pair of decent water-resistant shoes. You’ll be walking literally hundreds of kilometres around campus over the year in all kinds of weather!

UBC Bookstore

Students sitting upstairs in the Bookstore
  • Directly southeast of the Musqueam Post is the UBC Bookstore, where you can purchase textbooks, stock up on UBC swag, or grab a drink from Starbucks. 
  • You can pick up your UBCcard here!
  • The UBC Bookstore is the 14th largest university bookstore in North America (out of 2,600!).

Campus pro tip: 
You only have 10 minutes in between classes, so think about location when making your course schedule. If you do have to huff it across campus to make a class, let your profs know! They’ll usually understand if you need to leave a minute early.

The Nest

  • Just a couple minutes away from the Bookstore is the AMS Nest, UBC’s student hub.
  • Completed in 2015, the Nest has places to grab meals, study, meet up with friends, and attend events.
  • Try your hand at the Aviary climbing wall!

Campus pro tip: 
Bring snacks! All that walking can work up an appetite. While there’s lots of great food options here, they can quickly add up and make a dent in your wallet.

UBC Life Building

Students standing in front of the Life Building
Students at the stairs of the Life Building
  • Home to Subway, Booster Juice, and the ARC gym, the UBC Life Building is perfect for hanging out or taking a break between classes.
  • The building was completely renovated from 2015 to 2018—it used to house the old Student Union Building (essentially the old AMS Nest!).

Campus pro tip: 
If your classes are consistently spread out, consider bringing a bike or longboard to campus to help you get around. Just make sure you have a strong lock if you’re bringing a bike!

Koerner Library

Walter C. Koerner Library
  • Only a 5-minute walk from the UBC Life Building, Koerner Library is a great spot for quiet studying.
  • This library holds 800,000 volumes. It sounds like a lot until you realize UBC has over 6 million books in all!
  • The desks on the upper floors have some fantastic views, but they fill up fast. Try to go right before a class change to snag a spot as students are leaving.

Campus pro tip: 
UBC doesn’t just cover a large area—it also has a big student population, with more than 50,000 students attending the Vancouver campus. Everyone is here to learn, so stay patient when things feel busy. A little empathy goes a long way! 

The Fountain

The Fountain
  • This area is actually called the “Martha Piper Plaza” after one of UBC’s former presidents, but most students know it as “The Fountain”.
  • It’s located about halfway down the central stretch of Main Mall.
  • Did you know that the distance from the Flag Pole on the north end of campus to the Reconciliation Pole further south on Main Mall is 1 kilometre long? 

Campus pro tip: 
Be careful planning your class breaks—that croissant might be calling your name, but you only have 10 minutes and line-ups can get lengthy. If you want to avoid waiting in extra-long lines, grab snacks and drinks when you have a free block!

Reconciliation Pole

Reconciliation Pole
Reconciliation Pole detail
  • The Reconciliation Pole was installed in April of 2017 to commemorate the history of Indigenous people in Canada before, during, and after the residential school era.
  • The pole was carved by Haida master carver, 7idansuu (Edenshaw) James Hart, and a number of assistant carvers and painters over 2 years.

Campus pro tip: 
Because UBC is spread out and faculties are often (but not always) concentrated in certain areas of campus, there can be parts of UBC you rarely visit. Don’t forget to take some time and explore—there are cool things to see and do everywhere!

Resources and other ways to get around

  • Community shuttles
    Hop on a #68 or a #70 bus that runs from the south end of campus to Wesbrook Village every 30 minutes.
  • UBC Accessibility Shuttle
    Get a free ride if you have a temporary or permanent condition that impacts your mobility.
  • Walking tour of campus
    Can’t wait until September to check out campus? Get a guided tour of UBC.

Campus is yours to discover and explore—there’s a whole world of possibilities here!

Header photo credit: UBC Brand & Marketing