Find out about some of Canada’s major student cities…
Universities in Montréal
The biggest city in the French-speaking province of Quebec, Montréal is also the second-largest city in Canada. There are four universities in Montréal, as well as seven other degree-awarding institutions and twelve General and Vocational Colleges (CEGEPs), giving the city the highest concentration of post-secondary students of all major cities in North America.
Widely cited as the cultural capital of Canada, Montréal boasts a unique combination of European sophistication and American pizzazz which gives it a buzz few other places can match. As a student, you’ll certainly never be at a loss for things to do, with plenty of theater, music, dance and visual arts to explore, including the annual Just for Laughs comedy festival, the world’s largest of its kind. And don’t miss the Montréal Fireworks Festival, frequently hailed as the best and largest fireworks festival in the world.
Among universities in Montréal is one of Canada’s highest ranking and most internationally renowned, McGill University (21st in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15). Beyond that, univerities in Montréal also include the Université de Montréal (83rd) and Concordia University (461-470) among others. While McGill and Concordia operate primarily in English, many universities in Montréal are Francophone, as are the city’s residents. So even if you’re at an Anglophone university, be prepared to make an effort with your French.
Montréal was ranked one of the world’s top 10 cities for students in the 2013 QS Best Student Cities index.
Universities in Toronto
The provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada, Toronto is known for being one of the world’s most multicultural cities, with around half of its 2.6 million-strong population hailing from outside of the city. Accordingly, it is an exciting and diverse place to live, with its residents’ heterogeneity reflected in the city’s culture and cuisine. Home to the Toronto Stock Exchange and the country’s five largest banks, Toronto is Canada’s leading financial center – while also being known as a world-leading hub for the entertainment, media and creative industries.
Toronto’s collection of museums and galleries is impressive, ranging from the large Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario to the much smaller Gardiner Museum of ceramic art, Gallery of Inuit Art or the Bata Shoe Museum. The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the biggest there is, and the city’s live music scene is celebrated by locals and visitors alike. There is also a vibrant club scene and more than enough cafés and restaurants to keep foodies and coffee-lovers satisfied.
When it comes to education, universities in Toronto include some of Canada’s highest ranked. Indeed, the University of Toronto is Canada's highest entrant in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15, at 20th in the world. It’s joined by York University (ranked 421-430), Ryerson University (701+) and a selection of other higher education providers, including the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Universities in Vancouver
A relatively young city on Canada’s west coast, Vancouver is the perfect destination for those who want to combine city living with easy access to the great outdoors. And by great, we really mean great – the landscape surrounding Vancouver is truly spectacular, ranging from lush green forests and stunning lakes, to the rugged magnificence of the Canadian Rockies (especially popular with skiers and snowboarders).
There’s plenty on offer for city slickers too in this cosmopolitan and vibrant town. Canada’s third-largest metropolis, Vancouver consistently features in lists of the world’s most livable cities – and has become one of Canada’s best-known and most-visited cities. Cultural offerings include three prominent theatre companies, the Vancouver International Film Festival, and a vibrant and diverse music scene.
Prominent universities in Vancouver include the University of British Columbia, (ranked 43rd in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15, Canada’s third highest entry) and Simon Fraser University (222=). Neighboring Vancouver Island, meanwhile, hosts the University of Victoria (290=) and Vancouver Island University.
Universities in Quebec City
If you like picturesque historical cities, you can’t really do much better than Quebec City. Founded in the early 17th century, Quebec is the capital of the province with which it shares its name, and of French-speaking Canada as a whole. Its Old Town, with pretty cobbled streets surrounding the striking Château Frontenac and the only preserved city ramparts in North America, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Quebec as a whole is full of historic and architectural interest. In fact, there are 37 National Historic Sites of Canada in Quebec City and its enclaves.
But of course Quebec is not just a giant museum – it’s very much a living and changing city. Again, there’s no shortage of things to do here, in terms of both nightlife and culture, and the city is especially known for its colorful Winter Carnival, lively gay scene, and intimate live music venues.
Notable universities in Quebec City include Laval University (ranked 298= in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15) and the Université du Québec (501-550). The city is also home to the oldest educational institution for women in North America, the Ursuline Convent of Quebec City. Teaching at universities in Quebec City is primarily in French.
Universities in Edmonton
Capital city of the province of Alberta, Edmonton is known for its year-round selection of festivals, earning it the nickname ‘The Festival City’. It is equally well-known as the home of the West Edmonton Mall, formerly the biggest shopping mall in the world and currently North America’s biggest shopping mall, and for being one of the most northerly major cities in the world.
Don’t let this northern location put you off too much though; Edmonton’s weather is relatively (emphasis on relatively) mild, even compared to some other more southerly Canadian cities. Its location, towards the west of Canada, also means there is no shortage of natural beauty within spitting distance, and the city itself has plenty of attractions – Ford Edmonton Park, Canada’s largest living history museum, the buzzing downtown Arts District, and the fashionable Old Strathcona area, where many of Edmonton’s theaters and live-performance venues are located. All this can be found among arresting modern and historic architecture, including restored historical buildings, and a good range of restaurants, pubs and clubs.
Among universities in Edmonton, the most notable is the University of Alberta, ranked fifth in Canada and 84th in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15. Other options include the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, NorQuest College, MacEwan University, The King’s University College and Concordia University College of Alberta.
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