Ryerson Formula Racing unveils new team car ahead of state competition

By Talha Hashmani

Nearly a decade ago, Michael Salameh and his family arrived in Canada from Lebanon. On Saturday, he stood in front of a crowd of sponsors, alumni and proud family members, with nearly 50 other students from Ryerson Formula Racing (RFR), Ryerson University’s formula racing team.

The team celebrated their 25th anniversary, as well as the unveiling of their new RF-19 race car. The crowd gathered, eagerly awaiting what was hidden under the black veil.

The RF-19 prior to its unveiling at the Markland Wood Golf Club. (CanCulture/Talha Hashmani)

The RF-19 prior to its unveiling at the Markland Wood Golf Club. (CanCulture/Talha Hashmani)

“Thank you everyone for coming,” said Salameh, RFR team captain, as he nervously looked across the crowded room. Each face fixed attentively on him.

Salameh explained that the engineering design team builds a race car every year to take part in racing competitions attended by various university teams across the world. The largest competition, he said, takes place at the Michigan International Speedway from May 8 to 11 and hosts nearly 120 teams. The competition is hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

Before the unveiling, Salameh delivered a speech about the RF-19 and explained its various features such as greater fuel efficiency and a faster acceleration period. He also said that the RF-19 is eight per cent lighter than last year’s car, despite its massive size.

The car sports a new paint job, ditching the team’s early renditions of a blue and white car body. It is painted with a glossy black finish and a sharp yellow stripe down its side. The car is also said to be lighter than previous years’ models, even though the frame at its front is larger.

Ryerson Formula Racing’s new car, the RF-19 which was revealed at the unveiling on Saturday. (CanCulture/Talha Hashmani)

Ryerson Formula Racing’s new car, the RF-19 which was revealed at the unveiling on Saturday. (CanCulture/Talha Hashmani)

Onlookers were encouraged to move closer to the car, take pictures, and sign their names on the car’s wings - with a small donation to RFR funds.

Sponsors questioned team members on the car’s features, inspecting the handy work of a group of university students who had acquired sponsored materials and technical support.

But for Salameh and his team, it was a celebratory afternoon. Students took pictures with their families and indulged in the euphoria of completion that had taken nearly 8 months to achieve.

According to Erica Attard, the recruitment manager for RFR, there will be four students from the team responsible for driving the car during competitions. Ariel Gill, head of design and testing, said that this will be his third year driving the race car.

Attard said that the RFR consists of students from any discipline. “You don’t have to be in an engineering program to be on the team,” she said.

However, she also added that for engineers, being a part of the RFR team “is the best way to get proper hands-on engineering experience and to learn things you will learn in [later years].”

RFR is funded by a number of sponsors, including the university itself and the Ryerson Engineering Student Society.

According to Attard, the team receives cash sponsorships, services and venues. Additionally, they rely on mechanical parts, materials and technical support from their sponsors.

Attard explained that Ryerson placed in the top 10 at the 2005 Formula SAE Michigan tournament while in 2017, they placed twenty-fifth overall.

The team is now looking forward to competing in this year’s Michigan tournament. In addition, RFR will be competing in Barrie and a small circuit tournament at the University of Toronto - St. George Campus.

To Attard, experiencing the features of the car the team had spent many months working on means more than simply winning each of the upcoming competitions.

Tequila Nosedive steals the show at Ryerson’s Battle of the Bands

By Federico Sierra

Tequila Nosedive performing “It’s OK Keep Dancing.” (CanCulture/Federico Sierra)

Tequila Nosedive performing “It’s OK Keep Dancing.” (CanCulture/Federico Sierra)

Ryerson rock group, Tequila Nosedive, won the seventh annual Musicians@Ryerson’s Battle of the Bands, sweeping the two biggest awards of the night.

The first place was determined by the judges of the competition: David Cramb, a member of the board of directors for the Sled Island Music and Arts Festival in Calgary, Ian Heath, director of marketing for Dine Alone Records, and Zack Leighton, administrative director to Riverfest Elora. The other prize of the night, the People’s Choice Award, was determined by the loudest support from the audience.

Along with the praise of both audience and judges, the band also won a spot to play at the Riverfest Elora Music Festival, plus a paid show by the Ryerson Students’ Union.

The lineup for this year’s competition featured Scarlett’s Hand, Misunderstood Ninja, Tequila Nosedive, Gavin McLeod, Bad News Bois and The High Loves.

Tequila Nosedive delivered an electrifying performance with their bangers, “It’s OK Keep Dancing,” “Sex,” and “Strawberry Blonde.” As the wailing guitar riffs and loud, obnoxious punk vocals smashed through the speakers, a mosh pit formed, leaving the audience drenched in sweat, and begging for an encore.

“The guys knew what they wanted to do and what they wanted to say,” said judge David Cramb. “Great vibes and great energy.”

Runner-up to the People’s Choice Award were the Bad News Bois. The song, “Eff’d My Mood Up” had a sweet and meditative vibe that sent shivers through the audience.

Judge Ian Heath particularly admired the soft “speaking” vocal style of the lead singer.

“I was moved by the raw emotion of the band’s on-stage performance,” said Heath.

Bad News Bois performing “Eff’d My Mood Up.” (CanCulture/ Federico Sierra)

Bad News Bois performing “Eff’d My Mood Up.” (CanCulture/ Federico Sierra)

A powerful and historic evening, this year’s Battle of the Bands showcased some of the finest musicians on campus and set the tone for years to come.

Don't Forget the Food Stands

By Keisha Balatbat

Crumbs Patties, Choco Churros, and La Marquesita along Gould Street. (CanCulture/Keisha Balatbat)

Crumbs Patties, Choco Churros, and La Marquesita along Gould Street. (CanCulture/Keisha Balatbat)

The endless food options surrounding the Ryerson University campus can be seen as either an advantage or a daunting task. With so many choices, it can be difficult to narrow down exactly what you want to eat.

While most students opt for big name fast food chains, some head over to the often overlooked food stands, located across from the Student Learning Centre, for a delicious meal or dessert.

Among the cluster of food stands and trucks, you’ll find Crumbs Patties, Choco Churros, and La Marquesita.

Crumbs Patties is a stand that sells patties, which are pastries that contain different kinds of fillings, most commonly beef.

“What makes us different is the options,” said Pierre St. Rose, founder of Crumbs.

Customers at Crumbs Patties love ordering the beef, curry chicken, or their signature beef and cheese patty. Apart from these, Crumbs also offers vegetarian options.

“We do a stuffed patty and a deluxe patty so it’s not just your standard patty shop. We have modernized it,” said St. Rose.

He believes in giving each customer great service. He enjoys talking to customers, asking how they’re doing and ending each interaction with a ‘pound’, also known as a fist bump.

“A thank you is one thing but also giving the pound is saying much respect, just from a culture standpoint,” said St. Rose, who is Jamaican and Trinidadian.

“Yes, in reality I’m a business and you’re a customer, but it should be more than just that.”

He typically runs the stand with his cousin and a few other employees. They were once located just across the street, but after a big restaurant bought the building, they decided to temporarily move over to the stand that they have now.

“It’s working but it’s small for the operation we have,” he said. He is currently working on opportunities to expand Crumbs.

This sentiment is something that is shared between the stands in this area. At Choco Churros, they are also hoping to expand the business. Sergio Herrera, one of the employees, said that they want to have a place with an actual cafeteria and provide more places for people to sit in.

The stand opened up in downtown Toronto in October of last year, but the business was actually started by Herrera’s cousin in the 80s in New York.

“What makes us special around this area is that no one else is selling this kind of dessert,” said Herrera.

Churros are fried sticks of dough covered in cinnamon sugar. This stand also offers different sauces on top, the most popular being caramel and chocolate.

Making sure their churros are affordable is one of the philosophies of the business. “You can get three big churros for less than $10,” said Herrera.

Their other philosophies include providing good customer service and ensuring that the food is always fresh.

“I come one hour before opening so I can make fresh dough for you guys. They’re actually the freshest churros in town and what’s a churro if it’s not fresh?” said Herrera.

Sergio Herrera making fresh churros inside of the Choco Churros stand. (CanCulture/Keisha Balatbat)

Sergio Herrera making fresh churros inside of the Choco Churros stand. (CanCulture/Keisha Balatbat)

Like Choco Churros, La Marquesita, the newest food stand to open up, also values fresh food.

Making authentic Mexican food is something that La Marquesita believes in. As many other places downtown lean towards Tex-Mex, Pablo Morales, one of La Marquesita’s employees, said they aim to “make everything fresh and create authentic Mexican street food.”

La Marquesita’s most popular dish are the taquitos, which are a tortilla rolled up around fillings like beef or cheese. Rather than the hard shell tacos that people are used to buying, the use of 100 per cent corn tortillas indicate that the food is authentically Mexican and not Tex-Mex, the Americanized version of Mexican food.

“In Mexico, we eat taquitos all the time - in the morning, brunch, dinner, every time - and we wanted to bring that to Toronto,” said Morales.

Their visible corner spot is an asset according to Morales, but like Crumbs and Choco Churros, La Marquesita also struggles with the small space.

“Sometimes many people come to eat but we don’t have too much space to get more people in,” said Morales.

Pablo Morales greeting customers at La Marquesita. La Marquesita hopes to become a franchise and open more stores downtown. (CanCulture/Keisha Balatbat)

Pablo Morales greeting customers at La Marquesita. La Marquesita hopes to become a franchise and open more stores downtown. (CanCulture/Keisha Balatbat)

Apart from the small space, the cold weather is also something that causes some difficulty for these food stands as people do not want to spend too much time outside during the winter.

This forces vendors to get creative with their stands. “We don’t have an indoor spot so sometimes I put the heater out here so people can get warm,” said Herrera, referring to a small heater that attaches to the counter of the stand.

“Being around a school, yes you have the traffic, but at the same time when there’s weather issues like the cold, you don’t have the opportunity to have people funnel into somewhere like a mall,” said St. Rose.

Food vendors and their relationship with Ryerson students

The Choco Churros stand which is open on weekdays from 12 to 8 p.m. (CanCulture/Keisha Balatbat)

The Choco Churros stand which is open on weekdays from 12 to 8 p.m. (CanCulture/Keisha Balatbat)

The convenience and closeness of the location brings a lot of Ryerson students to these businesses.

“I love this business because everyone is happy when they come get churros,” said Herrera.

He says students love sweets and the quickness of the service. “It helps them have better performances in their classes because of all the sweets,” he jokes.

“This is our first spot and you’ll be part of our story if you get churros from here,” said Herrera.

Despite the convenience of the location, bringing in new customers can be a challenge for these businesses.

“You just have to find ways to interact with the student body as far as just marketing from the same old spot or with social media,” said St. Rose. He said marketing on social media can be difficult.

“You have to be very constant, and how many times can I really say patties?”

However, he encourages students to try new things. “We offer a modernized food item that’s been around for so long and provide an option that has been remixed, along with other creations,” said St. Rose.

Students get 10 per cent off at La Marquesita, but they’re working on expanding the menu and creating new discounts that will be exclusive to Ryerson students.

“Many students have a budget for food and they don’t want to spend more money than that, so that’s why we want to do many specials for students,” said Morales.

The next time you need to satisfy a food craving, consider supporting these local businesses as they offer a great variety of food options for affordable prices.