Student traditions

Academics are important, but having fun is too! Make the most of university by participating in these unique-to-UBC experiences.


Kick off the school year with Day of the LongBoat, a sand-tastic annual tradition that’s been going on at UBC since 1987. You and your team of 8–10 will race in a longboat canoe at Jericho Beach.

Whether you want to show off your athleticism or want to take it easy, there’s an opportunity for you to canoe in a competitive or just-for-fun race. Nothing beats rowing your boat to the beat of a song and team bonding through intense arm workouts!


Brrrr-ace yourself for the last day of term one classes with the Polar Bear Swim.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of The Calendar’s Polar Bear Swim, where students quite literally cool off before the brunt of finals season.

Grab some swimwear and take a plunge in the ice-cold water of Wreck Beach with your fellow UBC students! Shivering in your wet clothes on the hike back to campus is all part of the experience.

Pro-tip: Book a free hot tub slot at the Aquatic Centre to defrost.


Storm the Wall is one of the most anticipated events at UBC. Returning to campus for the 44th time, you and your team (or just you if you’re brave) will participate in a relay race consisting of swimming, running, biking and using each others’ shoulders to storm a 12-foot wall.

With over 3000 students participating every year and both competitive and just-for-fun teams, it is definitely an activity to check off your bucket list!


The Engineering Cairn on Main Mall gets ‘defaced’ by students all year round (The Engineering Undergraduate Society has an official process for painting it — The Ubyssey can’t officially endorse vandalism). Whether it’s to commemorate a holiday or to reference a TikTok, the Cairn is almost always painted. Follow @theubce to explore the many faces of the Engineering Cairn.


The Pit is UBC’s student pub, run by the AMS. If you’re 19+ and looking for a nightclub on campus, go to the basement of the Nest on Wednesdays or select Fridays to party it up with your friends. Be prepared for a wait to get in.