Tales from CapU’s most feared street address
Ren Zhang (they/them) // Contributor
Andy Poystila // Illustrator
The premise of potential threat is usually enough to scare us: the feeling that someone is waiting behind the shut closet doors, the strange sounds that only come out in the night, the tingling weight of watchful eyes. Turn up that horror further as we place young budding students in questionable to appalling conditions–scenarios that become the terrible norm. These are stories of current and past students who have put down their address as 2420 Dollarton Highway, AKA Capilano University’s student housing.
What is known as residence or “res” hasn’t had a lovely past. The current narrative is that the buildings used to be a sort of boarding school for English language learners, and were bought by the University after the school closed. You might notice the “Innovation Campus” sign below the CapU logo–letters crooked and of different sizes because of them being stolen–which is a remnant of its former purpose.
One of the benefits from being in residence is that, at the end of a long school day, students can come home to a hot meal. A set rotation for each day and week makes its rounds, including the infamous “Wings Night” which is traditionally avoided like the plague. Reviews mention “cardboard” and “skin and bone” as keywords. If you’re a vegetarian, there are cauliflower wings, which One previous resident, Nathan Lintott, ordered the meat dish of the evening—salmon—and he received what “tasted like pork and applesauce.” The fresh food options are grim at best, with individual apples and oranges dressed up in saran wrap suits for who knows how long. Some people bought them anyway, to “stave off scurvy.” The salads in the fridge have given people food poisoning more than once. “It feels like summer camp,” student Dae wrote. Fun in theory, but everyone who has attended summer camp knows no one is there for the facilities and food.
If you need to use the restroom after your meal, beware, as the communal washrooms might be physically incapable of smelling neutral. Half of the toilets will be clogged, and if you find one that’s not, the door might not even lock. It isn’t unusual for students to go to the shower room or bathroom and find one of the doors completely off its stall. The depressing trickle of subpar water pressure can be coupled with the moans of people having sex in the next shower stall, which are barely even big enough for one person. All anyone’s focused on is getting out of there as fast as possible because, in addition to the gasps and blaring music, who knows what the plentiful black mold does to one’s physiology. Yet another text will be sent to a floor group chat about not leaving copious amounts of hair on the floors and walls, which is already well on its way to mutating into a sentient being.
Let’s not forget the general shenanigans of post-secondary students, ranging from chugging blended pizza pops and instant coffee to, in Emma Blu’s experience, vomit that doesn’t get cleaned up for five days despite complaints. It was “up the walls, splattered across the carpet, and led into the shower room.” Blood and pee on the bathroom floors, condoms in washers, and because the flooring is carpet, its mystery stains have inspired plenty of late night residence lore discussions.
Those hoping to get extra sleep or study time for midterms have to keep security’s number on speed dial; the walls are thin and there’s the sounds of people blasting music, having sex, arguing, and running with as much force as possible down the halls.
Raucous partiers aren’t the only roomies in house. Silverfish, spiders, mice, and a family of fat raccoons are a regular feature at residence functions and will keep you company while you burn the midnight oil. Those looking for a relaxing smoke after dinner can find shiny dollars for eyes staring at them.
Credit must be given to the students and staff who live/work in this haunted house all year. But hey, at least we can bond in the individual lockable stall with three urinals!