Your UBC On-Campus Housing Guide 🏠 First-year Residences Edition

Updated: Oct 23

Residence life can be one of the best experiences at the university.

Here is your complete go-to guide for all things related to the first-year residence life.


  • Residence 101


🌟At UBC, there are three first-year residence areas: Totem Park, Orchard Commons, and Place Vanier. These are all for winter sessions and are only available in the two winter terms. Students who live in the first-year residences will need to vacate the room during the summer and winter break.


🙋🏻‍♀️Each of the first-year students will be assigned to a Residence Advisor (RA). Residence Advisors are full-time upper-year students who are there to put on a fun and informative event, offer support, resources, and tips, as well as keep the peace and enforce standards within the dorms.


🍔Meanwhile, all the students living in first-year residences are required to purchase meal plans as they are not allowed to cook in residences. Nevertheless, students can access the shared microwaves and refrigerators on their floors or branch lounges.


  • Orchard Commons


The newest and tallest first-year student residence, Orchard Commons has modern and clean ocean-view rooms. Most of the rooms are Connected Single with good privacy.


📍Location: Orchard Commons is close to the Food Science Building as well as the Forestry Building. It's convenient for students in the Vantage One program.


🍔Cafeteria: Orchard Commons is the home of Open Kitchen. It offers international comfort foods, stir-fries, vegan & vegetarian entrées and represents the best of Vancouver’s diverse culinary scene.




  • Place Vanier


Place Vanier is the oldest yet the friendliest residence on campus. Although Vanier’s utilities are not as good as Orchard’s, it's a great place to make friends. You will enjoy the good vibes from the Place Vanier community and can easily find people to hang out, eat, and study with.


📍Location: As the closest residence to the Wrecked Beach, you can find the best view of the sunset within a few minutes' walk. Place Vanier is also the nearest residence to Sauder School of Business, UBC Bookstore, and the bus loop, compared to Orchard Commons and Totem Park.


🍔Cafeteria: Place Vanier is the home of the Gather cafeteria. Although Gather is relatively smaller and has fewer food varieties than Open Kitchen, you can always find the freshest fruit from the UBC Farm.





  • Totem Park


📍Location: Totem Park is located near UBC’s stadium where you can play at the basketball and badminton courts. It has a mix of independent buildings and the doom consists of a great variety of rooms, including single rooms, shared rooms, and connected singles.


🍔Cafeteria: Feast is Totem Park’s dining room. It has delicious and wholesome foods from around the world. Students residing at Totem Park can enjoy made-to-order burritos, West Coast salmon burgers, stone hearth Italian pizzas, vegetarian food, and more.


Comment below on which residence you are thinking of going to!

Enjoy your residence life!


This post is translated from the Chinese post. You can check it here.


Author: Veronica Wang

Translator: Chloe Li

Editor: Jingyu Hu, Zi Yuan


Looking for more tips? Check out these sites! 

Living with a roommate: my first-year experience

Your trusty guide to first-year residence events

A guide to residence meal plans



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