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Outdoor Active Wellbeing

“Students themselves articulate, without ever having been prompted or coached, the very essence of Portage: if I can learn to canoe, if I can make it to the end of this trek lugging this heavy pack…if I can make it through this, I can make it through any lecture, lab, essay, or exam.”

Deena Kara Shaffer

“Every week I look forward to Mood Routes. It’s where I can meet wonderful, inspiring people and talk about many different topics. I love discovering new places in Toronto and in the process learning a lot about myself, and other people. It’s a chance for me to calm down, breathe fresh air and to not feel any pressure.”

Laura, International Student


Created in 2008, Portage is Ryerson Student Affairs’ outdoor experiences program. Over the years, the program has led incoming students with disabilities, student staff, and most recently mid-stream Thriving in Action students on 3- and 5-day paddling trips in Algonquin Park. Portage enacts place-based learning, the transfer of resiliency and grittiness from the outdoor classroom to the indoor lecture hall, and the myriad evidence-based benefits, from attention restoration to uplifted mood to deep community-building, fostered from spending intentional time in nature. To co-develop a nature-outing for your class or group, or to find out more, please contact Dr. Deena Kara Shaffer at

Mood Routes

Mood Routes is Ryerson’s campus-wide walking and rolling program. Join us on accessible weekly routes to and through nearby greenspaces. Research increasingly shows that moving in the outdoors reduces stress, improves concentration, bolsters creative problem-solving, and builds community. So, leave your screens behind and st/roll with us! All students, staff, and faculty are welcome! Unless truly inclement, we set out rain, snow, or shine, year-round, every week that the university is open.

Get moving. Get grounded. Get lifted.

Follow us on ConnectRU

Our online compilation of nature-based content continues to grow on social media. The Career Boost student-staff team regularly contributes to our digital media collection, including IGTV videos, external link, reels, external link, and posts on Instagram, external link, TikTok, external link, and Facebook, external link.

Day Hikes

ThriveRU offers full- and half-day hikes through Toronto’s ravines and greenspaces. Join us on trips to local locations such as the Toronto Island and Evergreen Brickworks. To find out when we are running our next hike, please contact Dr. Deena Kara Shaffer at