Study in Canada
Choose to study in Canada, and you’ll have the opportunity to encounter vastly different cultural and natural experiences – from the ski slopes of British Columbia to the prairie province of Manitoba, with cities such as Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver and Quebec famously friendly, tolerant and multicultural.
Occupying the northern half of the North American continent, Canada is known for its natural beauty – few nations in the world can boast anything close to its wealth of forests, lakes and mountains – and for its multicultural diversity. The country has official bilingual status, with English and French used concurrently in government and official documents.
It’s also known for its sparse population (despite being the world’s second-largest country, it has a population smaller than that of just one US state, California) and for its harsh winters. In some parts of Canada, snow covers the ground for almost half the year – but you’re unlikely to find any Canadian universities in those regions!
Canada has a well-established position among the world’s leading study destinations; as of 2014, it was the seventh most popular country for international students, who accounted for 8% of all post-secondary students in the country. The most popular Canadian provinces for international students are Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, which between them are home to many of the top universities in Canada.
For those looking to study at an elite university in one of the world’s most developed nations, applying to study in Canada can be an attractive option. A total of 26 universities in Canada feature in the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, of which three are in the world’s top 50, with 10 more making the world’s top 300 – a feat matched only by a handful of other nations.
The two highest Canadian entries are McGill University (24th) and the University of Toronto (34th), located in Montréal and Toronto respectively, the two largest cities in Canada. Also ranked within the global top 300 are the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, Montréal, McMaster, the University of Waterloo, Western University, the University of Calgary, and Queen’s University.
Canada’s Major Student Cities
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 12 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.
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 world’s biggest, 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.
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 theater companies, the Vancouver International Film Festival, and a vibrant and diverse music scene.
If you like picturesque and historic 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. 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.
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; 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 nearby, and the city itself has plenty of attractions – including 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 a mix of modern and historic architecture, including restored historical buildings, and a good range of restaurants, pubs and clubs.