1. McGill University
Founded in 1821, McGill University is one of the most prestigious universities in the Great White North. Located in Montréal, McGill is ranked as the 24th best university in the world, and is known for its medical school and excellence in research. Its downtown location also gives students a chance to thrive in their academic pursuits as well as immerse themselves in all that Montréal has to offer, and apply their skills to a number of real-world opportunities nearby.
Living in Montréal: Montréal is one of the most vibrant cities in Canada. In spite of it being the second largest city in the country, it is pretty affordable for buying and renting alike. The dominant language spoken in Montréal is French, although English is widely spoken and the city welcomes people from all countries, ethnicities, and cultures. Brace yourself, though – winters in Montréal are bitterly cold.
Stefanie Ott is a recent McGill graduate who received a Bachelor's of Commerce degree in finance and a minor in mathematics. “Overall, I had a great experience studying at McGill. There were many courses that focused on specific areas of finance, such as venture capital and international finance. The coursework was challenging, but all of my professors held office hours to work individually with students and make sure they fully understood the material. More generally, living in Montreal was a wonderful experience, and I loved how the campus was at the centre of the city.”
Uni link: https://www.mcgill.ca
Blog link: http://blogs.mcgill.ca
Average house price: $349,000
2. University of Toronto
McGill has some competition from the University of Toronto (U of T), as you might expect from universities in the two largest cities in Canada who also both claim to be cultural centres of the country. U of T’s computer science and engineering programs attract students from around the world, and U of T’s Rotman School of Management is one of the world’s top business schools. In fact, students can choose from hundreds upon hundreds of degree programs, all of which foster the global mindset that sets U of T apart from the rest. U of T’s main campus is in the middle of Canada’s largest city and just minutes away from Queens Park. Living in Toronto: Call it Hogtown, call it the Big Smoke, but whatever you call it, you can find your particular interest in Canada’s largest city.
It’s a hub for a number of industries, including finance, media, design, healthcare, and hospitality. It’s a bustling city with sprawling suburbs and traffic to match. It’s home to four major sports teams and it’s close enough to the U.S. city of Buffalo that many fans of American football claim the Buffalo Bills as their own. If it’s affordability you’re after, though, look elsewhere – Toronto housing is the second most expensive in the country.
“Coming to Rotman has probably been one of the best decisions I ever made. It’s exceeded my expectations in every single way,” said Catherine Wilson, who graduates in 2017. “One of the most important things about going to Rotman – and the most valuable things – is the network that you’re graduating with.”
Uni link: https://www.utoronto.ca
Blog link: http://blogs.studentlife.utoronto.ca
Average house price: $699,000
3. University of British Columbia
Canada’s west coast is home to the University of British Columbia, which is ranked 50th in the world. Founded in 1915, UBC harbours an entrepreneurial spirit that encourages innovation, informal educational settings, and unconventional learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. UBC also is particularly proud of its broad-based admissions process, the largest Canadian university to include non-academic criteria in its application process on this scale.
Living in Vancouver: Vancouver boasts Canada’s most expensive housing market, and it’s no wonder – it’s a great place to live. Surrounded by water and mountains, it’s one of Canada’s most ethnically diverse cities. Those in the film industry flock to Vancouver to shoot, and other creative types are attracted to its thriving art, theatre and music scenes. Winters are relatively mild by Canadian standards, but they’re wet.
Crystal Lye is in her fourth year, completing her Bachelor of Commerce degree. “Our professors are extremely respected in the industry, appearing frequently on national news channels and at large conferences, clearly demonstrating high expertise and a willingness to help others learn and succeed, she said. “Since choosing to pursue real estate studies in the summer of 2015, not once have I ever questioned if it was the right decision.”
Uni link: https://www.ubc.ca
Blog link: http://blogs.ubc.ca
Average house price: $1,364,000
4. University of Alberta
The University of Alberta may not enjoy the caché of the top three Canadian universities, but it still ranks in the top 100 universities in the world, which is nothing to sneeze at. Its best programs are pharmacy and pharmacology, education, and English language and literature, and its newest offering is an online mountain studies program, which started as a classroom program that equips students with the knowledge to appreciate mountain landscapes and explore them for themselves.
Living in Edmonton: The Oil Capital of Canada is suffering from a slump these days, but there’s still plenty to enjoy in Edmonton. For outdoor enthusiasts, Jasper National Park is just a short trip away, and the city itself is home to the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America. It’s also one of the sunniest cities, averaging 321 sunny days per year – a perk, given how long winter lasts up here.
Braeden Reynolds received a Commerce degree in business economics and business law. He found it useful to interact with the commercial real estate community, and even if he doesn’t end up in the realm of commercial real estate, the Real Estate Certificate has plenty to offer. “You learn a lot of things about even residential real estate and mortgages and such. Rather than basically just rely on banks and stuff to tell you otherwise you get an understanding for yourself.”
Uni link https://www.ualberta.ca
Blog link: http://blog.ualberta.ca
Average house price: $400,000
5. University of Montreal
The Université de Montréal is another big research university that also specializes in Big Data. For more than 130 years, this Francophone university has been a bedrock of Quebec higher education, and now includes its affiliated business school and engineering school, HEC Montréal and École Polytechnique.
It offers more health-science disciplines than any other university in Quebec, and its network partners of health centres and hospitals is one of the strongest clinical divisions in Canada. The University also has co-operative agreements and partnerships with other institutions and researchers in many countries around the world.
Uni link: http://www.umontreal.ca/english/
Blog link: http://www.mtlblog.com
Average house price: $349,000
6. McMaster University
McMaster has a reputation for excellence in health care, as well as its innovative faculty. The health sciences program here favours a problem-based learning style of teaching, focuses on specific problems rather than understanding standard textbook theories. Located in Hamilton, Ontario, McMaster is also proud of its DeGroote School of Business, one of the top-ranked in Canada.
Living in Hamilton: Hamilton is fewer than two hours away from Toronto, so you can enjoy some of the big-city conveniences without the big-city headaches. The city has been described as being “gritty,” with the line between good neighbourhoods and not-so-good neighbourhoods sometimes being hard to see. The gentrification of “The Hammer” has taken it from being purely a steel town to a city with young professionals and a downtown area that is slowly being revitalized.
Uni link: http://www.mcmaster.ca
Blog link: http://www.mcmaster.ca/mosaic/student/blog.html
Average house price: $478,000
7. University of Waterloo
While McGill and UofT have each been dubbed “The Harvard of Canada” at one point or another, the University of Waterloo has been called Canada’s answer to Stanford. Students can take advantage of its entrepreneurship offerings and the world’s largest co-operative education program that combines academic studies with work experience.
Living in Waterloo: Waterloo is part of the Tri-Cities metropolitan area that includes the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo. Waterloo is home to hundreds of technology companies, giving it the nickname of ‘Silicon Valley North.’ The area is home to the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Bavaria, and so if you like bratwurst, you’re in the right place.
“Co-op is the biggest standout. I’ve had the opportunity to explore a variety of fields and work abroad and it really helped me decide what I’d like to pursue in the future,” says Alex Lin, fourth year of the Joint Honours in Biotechnology & Economics program and president of the UW Economics Society. “Being in co-op gives you that firsthand experience where you’d learn the skills and culture that employers are looking for.”
Uni Link: https://uwaterloo.ca
Blog link: https://uwaterloo.ca/student-success/blog
Average house price: $380,000
8. Western University
Western University students can choose from more than 400 different specializations, majors and minors and more than 100 graduate and professional programs. As one of Canada’s top 10 research universities, Western attracts hundreds of millions of dollars in research funding each year. Its primary research areas are: life sciences and the human condition; culture analysis and values; the human and physical environments; and social trends, public policy, and economic activity.
Living in London: London is a close community with the amenities of a mid-size city. Its business community is diverse, including health care, government, education, manufacturing, IT and business services. It’s a safe and affordable city, which is attractive to university students who wish to stay in town after graduating. It’s also convenient; within a couple of hours you can be in Toronto or Niagara Falls.
Uni link: http://www.uwo.ca
Medical blog: https://www.schulich.uwo.ca/umeblog/blog/index.html
Average house price: $294,000
9. University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is a young university relative to some others on this list, but it has lots of staying power. The school is a leader in energy and engineering, perhaps not surprising given its location. It also has a strong presence in the fields of public policy and applied sciences. The university has a strong sense of community, and students can study at one of four campuses in Calgary or its satellite campus in Doha, Qatar.
Living in Calgary: Calgary – or Cowtown – is the centre of Canada’s energy industry and home to the famous Calgary Stampede. It’s the closest metropolitan centre to the Rocky Mountains and is ranked among the world’s cleanest, healthiest and safest cities. Calgary has more than 500 city parks and more than 800 kilometers of outdoor pathways – although it doesn’t score high in terms of overall walkability.
Tina Shaygan is in her final year studying political science says that “there are some very good organizations on campus, student organizations, student clubs, we have almost 300 clubs.” Getting involved in campus life early and forging a relationship with professors has made a difference in her campus experience. “Those connections – for a field like political science – those relationships are really important.”
Uni link: http://www.ucalgary.ca
Blog link: http://ucalgaryblogs.ca
Average house price: $1,181,450
10. Queens University
Located in Kingston, Ontario, Queen’s University is a large school with a supportive campus network. It was founded in 1841 and apart from academics, maintains a strong sense of social purpose, spirit and diversity. There are more than 300 student-run groups and associations, and an extensive international program, including courses and programs in the U.K. at the Bader International Study Centre. Queen’s is also a member of the Matariki Network, an international group of research-intensive universities.
Living in Kingston: Kingston is Canada’s third-oldest city. Located on Lake Ontario, Kingston sits about halfway between Toronto and Montréal, and about two hours south of Ottawa. Kingston is a student-oriented city, but it still has plenty of amenities for its other residents to enjoy, such as a vibrant downtown, full of shops and restaurants. Its mid-size status also tends to mean short commute times, and the city also has a good network of cycling paths. If you’re into freshwater sailing, Kingston is the place to be – it’s at the mouth of two rivers, and the wind makes it a perfect destination for the water sport.
"Queen’s has one of Canada’s premier undergraduate experiences due to a beautiful campus, expansive facilities, and a vibrant student community. Not only has it been enjoyable learning from a fine host of economics professors, it has been useful to be able to take eight courses at the Smith School of Business as part of my degree,” said Philip Smith, a fourth year economics student.
Uni Link: http://www.queensu.ca
Blog directory: http://www.queensu.ca/socialmedia/browse/Blog
Average house price: $349,000
11. Simon Fraser University
Simon Fraser University offers programs in eight faculties: Applied Sciences; Arts and Social Sciences; Business; Communication, Art and Technology; Education; Environment; Health Sciences; and Science. Across all disciplines, SFU encourages an open, inclusive approach to higher education that is integral to learning, discovery, community outreach and global connectedness. It offers opportunities for work-integrated learning, study at international field schools and exchanges, and an Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue program that focuses on social and civic issues.
Living in Burnaby: Burnaby is the third-largest city in British Columbia. It’s only 20 minutes from Vancouver, but it has a vibe all its own. Burnaby plays host to a number of cultural events, and Deer Lake is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. Like Vancouver, the cost of living here is expensive, so your penny-pinching might not be enough if you want to settle in Burnaby.
Joyce Shen is a continuing studies student currently enrolled in the Real Estate Development from the Inside Out course, and finds it “fascinating. Not just the course content and the experience of the instructor but also a lot of great peers and the quality of the speakers are quite outstanding.”
Uni link: https://www.sfu.ca
Graduate studies blog: https://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/blog.html
Average house price: $1,250,000
12. Dalhousie University
Dalhousie is the largest university in Atlantic Canada. The Faculty of Agriculture is the only one in Atlantic Canada, and offers studies in international food business, bioveterinary science and plant sciences. It’s also a world leader when it comes to oceans research and education, and is home to the Ocean Tracking Network, a $168-million international marine conservation project, and the Marine Environment Observation and Prediction and Response Network of Centres of Excellence. Other research areas include Health and Wellness and Advanced Materials and Clean Technology research. Dalhousie’s new Social Media Lab is the first of its kind in Canada and one of the first social media research labs in North America.
Living in Halifax: Halifax has a storied maritime history and is currently the provincial capital of Nova Scotia. Halifax experiences summers that aren’t too warm and winters that aren’t too snowy. It’s one of the most affordable cities in Canada, and even though it’s small, it has the perks of city living while giving residents the opportunity to be near the natural environment. The city has a great music scene, and while few big touring acts play here, there’s no shortage of talent.
Chris Palneta is a fifth year management student majoring in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He is also the co-founder of the Dalhousie Real Estate Association. “We have a lot of members who have different interests in different parts of the industry . . . we try to find a role for everybody,” he says.
Uni link: https://www.dal.ca
Blog directory: https://blogs.dal.ca
Average house price: $389,000
13. University of Ottawa
With a 97 per cent graduate employment rate, the University of Ottawa is one of the most successful schools in the nation. It’s also the largest bilingual university in the world, offering education in French and English. Its faculties are Arts, Law, Education, Graduate and Postgraduate Studies, Engineering, Medicine, Science, Health Sciences, Social Sciences and the Telfer School of Management. The university has an extensive co-op program and claims a 95 per cent placement rate.
Living in Ottawa: Canada’s capital city is much as you might expect – clean and quiet. But just because it’s home to Parliament Hill doesn’t mean that Ottawa is boring. The quality of life in Ottawa is consistently ranked among the best in Canada, and there are plenty of activities that families and singletons alike can enjoy. Byward Market is a huge draw for tourists and locals alike, with a local farmer’s market and artisans in more than 250 stands. The Rideau Canal provides a natural ice skating rink in the winter, and a place for people to enjoy watching the boats pass through in the summer. There are many professional opportunities in Ottawa, and that makes it attractive to a highly-educated workforce. Ottawa is right on the border between Ontario and Quebec, and its close proximity to the Quebecois city of Gatineau means that the region is often referred to as Ottawa-Gatineau.
Adam Gilani is a student at Ottawa University Law School for his third year who took both courses last year, and says that the professor’s experience in the field was very helpful. “Everything was brought down to the practical level. Although you’re learning the theory . . . rather than focusing too much on the complications and the law, he brought it down to a practical level,” he says. “Teaching an area of the law in a very hands on way, that was really great.”
Uni link: http://www.uottawa.ca/en
Blog link: https://welcome.uottawa.ca/blog
Average house price: $379,000
14. University of Victoria
UVic has been noted as being at the forefront of ocean research, discovery, and exploration, and has some of the best underwater laboratories in addition to having created the national research platform Ocean Networks Canada. For those students who prefer sports instead of seas, UVic’s Vikes athletics program is one of the best in the country. UVic is also aware of the needs of Indigenous students and is home to the First Peoples House, a social, cultural and academic centre for Indigenous studens that encourages the building of community.
Living in Victoria: Victoria is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, and is known for its natural beauty. The island has the mildest climate in Canada, and that lends itself to a number of outdoor activities, including skiing on Mount Washington, surfing on Long Beach, or hiking the West Coast trail. It doesn’t have much in the way of nightlife, but both Vancouver and Seattle are just a hop, skip, and a ferry ride away.
“UVic definitely has an open door atmosphere,” said Maxwell Williams, a third year student who is majoring in economics and minoring in business. “It never feels like you can’t ask a question or that your question is going to be trivialized . . . even if it’s a stupid question.”
Uni link: http://www.uvic.ca
Online community: https://onlineacademiccommunity.uvic.ca/myuviclife/
Average house price: $498,000
15. Laval University
Laval University was the first Francophone university in North America. Its Montreal campus became the Université de Montréal in 1919 and Laval continued its own development. Although Laval was initially focused on medicine, theology and law, it is now considered a comprehensive university with programs available in the sciences and applied social sciences. It is a major research university and has hundreds of partnerships with other universities across the globe that share its international perspective and attitude when it comes to diversity and advancing and sharing knowledge.
Life in Québec: Québec City is surrounded by the St. Lawrence River, one of the most important waterways in North America. Old Québec City is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is full of unique architecture. The city is a mix of old and new, and you can find what you would in most modern cities: museums, shops, restaurants, galleries, and sporting events. If you’re not fluent in French, however, you may find your professional options limited.
“The teachers, although I am pretty sure that all universities have the chance to have great teachers, are exceptional,” said Elodie Laguë, a student of the business school who is graduating in 2017. “They are devoted and they do not treat you like a number. Although we are quite a few in the classroom, I feel like they truly care about the individual. That’s one of the elements that make the environment I study in feel that much more special.”
Uni link: http://www2.ulaval.ca
Blog link: http://www.notey.com/blogs/université-laval
Average house price: $285,000
16. University of Concordia
Concordia is proud of its atypical modern facilities and research centres such as the Concordia Institute of Aerospace Design and Innovation and Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling. It has one of the largest undergraduate student bodies in the country with incredibly diverse courses, professors who are or have been working experts in their fields, and great career opportunities after graduation.
Melissa Di Lena is a third year student studying Italian studies and minoring in professional writing. “I think the English department and what they provide for students is really awesome. It’s not just one specific type of student that is taking the courses. You have students from all over from different programs and stuff, and that’s really cool.”
Uni Link: https://www.concordia.ca
Blog link: https://www.concordia.ca/students/gradproskills/blog.html
Average house price: $349,000
17 University of Quebec
The Université du Québec is a system of 10 universities in Québec. Combined, they offer more than 500 programs and range in size, environment and academic focus. The mission of the Université du Québec is to democratize and increase accessibility to knowledge and culture through higher education; to keep innovation, creativity and excellence at the heart of education and research in Quebec; to boost the economic, social and cultural life on both a local level and for the development of Quebec society as a whole; and using collaboration as a collective instrument for development.
Hector Perlera Castro graduated in 2016 from UQAM with a Bachelors in Business Administration with certificates in real estate, financial planning, and administration. “What makes the school very interesting, what makes the program very interesting, is that the teachers are very accessible and students were very warming and we were able to work together as a team from beginning to end.”
Uni link: http://www.uqam.ca
Blog link: http://blogue.uqam.ca
Average house price: $285,000
18. York University
With more than 53,000 students, York University has more than 5,000 courses to suit a variety of student needs, from graduate to undergraduate programs, full-time and part-time options, and continuing studies. Home to Southern Ontario’s Centre for Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education, Schulich School of Business, Osgoode Hall Law School, and the Lassonde School of Engineering, York has plenty to offer. York is also home to Canada’s largest liberal arts program as well as the only Space Engineering and undergraduate Global Health programs in Canada.
“What you’ll find here at Schulich is a really tight-knit community of really generous and helpful individuals who are willing to put in the time and effort to help you guide your way,” said Michael Guo, a second-year MBA student. “Where the strength of the program is right now is just really with the connections of alumni in the industry.”
Uni link: http://www.yorku.ca/index.html
Blog link: http://yublog.students.uit.yorku.ca
Average house price: $865,000
19. University of Saskatchewan
The University of Saskatchewan hosts two unique national research facilities—the Canadian Light Source, one of the world’s leading synchrotron facilities, and VIDO-InterVac, a world leader in developing vaccines and technologies to fight infectious diseases in humans and animals. Beyond that, it has six areas of special focus: Aboriginal scholarship and engagement, agriculture and food security, energy and mineral resources, human/animal/ecosystem health, synchrotron science, and water security. U of S’s Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation and the state-of-the-art Toxicology Centre, offers one of the world’s top five interdisciplinary toxicology graduate programs.
Living in Saskatoon: Saskatoon is in central Saskatchewan, and has a very low cost of living. Although the sun will give you plenty of Vitamin D throughout the year, the winters are long and can be brutally cold and snowy. Saskatoon has approximately 100,000 lakes, and during the summer, everyone heads lakeside to take advantage. The city is also known for having some of the friendliest residents around, with everyone pitching in to help each other out.
Chase Shevernoha is a third year management major at the Edwards School of Business, which “connects all areas of business – accounting, finance, marketing, human resources – and teaches students it all in one major. It gives you a wide variety skills and a versatility that employers look for and value in today’s job market.” For Shevernoha, getting involved in campus life has been key. “I have been a part of four different clubs in my three years already and have gained valuable experiences that I would have never learned in a classroom. I have had the opportunity to travel, make new friends and most importantly volunteer and give back to the community.”
Uni link: https://www.usask.ca
Student Newspaper: http://thesheaf.com
Average house price: $354,000
20. University of Guelph
Guelph offers more than 94 undergraduate degrees, 48 graduate programs, and six associate degrees in many different disciplines, including agriculture, veterinary medicine, and life sciences. The programs at Guelph are designed to cultivate the essentials for our quality of life – water, food, environment, animal and human health, community, commerce, culture and learning. The ethos of the campus revolves around a sense of social responsibility, an obligation to address global issues and a concern for international development.
Living in Guelph: Guelph is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities. It’s only 45 minutes to Toronto, but is much more affordable than its big-city neighbour (not cheap, but more affordable). Outside of the downtown core can be quiet and uneventful, but downtown hosts an active music scene. There is a lot of parkland and green space around Guelph, and residents often bask in the slower pace of life here compared to the big city.
Jake Ringwald is in his fourth year at Guelph as a real estate & housing major. “Since I’ve been here, any time I got to apply for a real estate-related job, it puts me at the top of the list,” he says. “I’ve had a lot of great working experience in the industry since I’ve been at the University of Guelph.” He’s also President of the Real Estate and Housing Student Association, and says: “it’s a great networking experience because you get to meet all these great people in the industry.”
Uni link: https://www.uoguelph.ca
Tumblr admission page: http://uofgadmission.tumblr.com
Average house price: $452,400