Hey guys. Just graduated from UofT, so happy to answer all your questions having gone through the entire process. Feel free to message me privately if you want to ask questions.
So I was in Fitz and we can talk about that experience (if you want) but in general all the academies are great. I will say that everyone who was in PB my year had an amazing experience. The shuttle is supper accessible and what they all used. You tend to travel with your classmates (so you literally in the same boat). I think the variety of learning environments is awesome! I think PB has a very close knit community and so its something to think about. North York General is an awesome site to train at and as you will progress through clerkship you care less about what is close to you and what is the best experience. So if you have more access to these sites and teachers why not!
^ 100%. You arent limited all by your academy site. I think sometimes when you meet an awesome tutor who is affiliated with your site it is just easier to set up the shadowing experience. Eventhough I was Fitz, I shadowed in TGH/TWH. SickKids ER etc. etc. In terms of research- again it does not depend on your academy but again often you are taught by faculty that are very much involved in research so it is easier to inquire about opportunities. But I think in general if you do your homework on what preceptors you want to work with it doesn't really matter. We have a research opportunity called CREMS in the summer and they post jobs across all sites and everyone has the chance to apply to them equally and without prejudice. I would say though if you know you have specific research area in mind that it may be helpful to balance you research roles and small groups if they are in the same building. But honestly WB also has several sites that quite far away that this doesnt really matter either!
Electives in 4th year can be done anywhere in Toronto and for the most part we all did our electives across Canada which is the point of electives. If you are asking about your core rotations there is actually more flexibility than you may think. For example despite being in Fitz I did rotations at St Mikes, St Joes, Toronto Western, Markham Stouville. There was also the option of doing some rotations at TEGH, Scarborough and NYGH. It varies from year to year depending on the offerings. WB has a few spots at Humber River, MGH, Scarborough, St Joes etc....So you can see where I am going with this. For the most part you will do your clerkship where you are affiliated with but it isnt a hard and fast rule. And once electives role around you can really do it wherever.
In choosing academies I will say really think about the size of the cohort and the experience you want out of it. I chose Fitz because I wanted the smaller group and I knew everyone in my class. In addition, I have a strong interest in public health, addictions, inner city medicine and working at SMH with tutors and preceptors who felt the same way was an amazing experience. I would also say if you have strong inclinations for a specific academy write it down in the box given, it cant hurt.
Hope this helps and again feel free to message me with any other UofT related topics. Super freshly minted MD and so I have a lot of thoughts about everything.