Best Cities in Canada for International Students

Unless you have been living under a rock
, you would know that Canada is one of the most preferred and immigrant welcoming destinations for international students. There are reasons galore for why international students aspire to study in Canada.

  • The nation is not only home to numerous top-class universities, but it also offers some fantastic advantages apart from being an academic hotspot
  • Students from all around the world are known to opt for MS in Canada; however, the MBA programs in Canada are equally popular
  • Canada has flexible norms when it comes to staying back after completing the degree; for international students, it is easier to obtain permanent residency after completing their education

As per the QS World University Rankings 2020, the top Canadian universities (along with their base city) are:

Ranking in Canada Global Ranking University City
1 29 University of Toronto Toronto
2 35 McGill University Montreal
3 51 University of British Columbia Vancouver
4 113 University of Alberta Edmonton
5 137 University of Montreal Montreal
6 140 McMaster University Edmonton
7 173 University of Waterloo Waterloo

Now, zeroing in on a city to study and live in can be quite a tedious task as many factors need to be considered. For study abroad aspirants like you, it is imperative to have complete awareness/insight about factors such as security, lifestyle, education/employment opportunities and cost of living.

But, before that, wouldn’t you like to know more about the top cities in Canada? Let’s start!

As per the QS Best Cities Rankings 2019, the following are the top cities in Canada, based on students’ perspective

City Ranking in Canada Global Ranking
Montreal 1 6
Toronto 2 11
Vancouver 3 16
Ottawa 4 45
Quebec 5 115

Here is a complete low-down on these cities and why they are popular, especially among international students.


  • A multilingual and multicultural city, Montreal is popularly known as the ‘cultural capital’ of Canada
  • It is a top student city, ranked after Berlin and before Paris
  • Conveyance is extremely smooth in Montreal with an inexpensive and accessible public transit system
  • Did you know? Montreal is the most bicycle-friendly place in Canada with bike paths of 700 km
  • Getting a part-time job in Montreal is no big deal! It is one of the most well-employed cities
  • Montreal boasts of a motley of ethnicities like Asians, Latinos, Indians, Caribbean, Africans and Pakistanis contributing to its unique culture; it has 120 annual parades and festivals every year

McGill University, Concordia University and the University of Montreal deserve special mention.



  • 17% of the student population in Toronto comprises international students
  • Being one of the most multicultural cities in the world, around 140 languages are spoken here (can you believe that?)
  • It is a safe city and offers fairly good employment opportunities (Though there is a decrease in the employment rate, graduate students are still in demand)
  • This city is famous for its historical monuments as well as food festivals
  • Being the most populous city in Canada, it has a high living cost because of the housing conditions. However, a handsome compensation makes up for it

The top-ranked University of Toronto attracts a lot of international students.


  • Vancouver has the highest cost of living in Canada but the QS rating states it is the 16th best city for students
  • It also is a multi-cultural city with a large population of Irish and Scottish immigrants; people are friendly, and the place has some ethereally beautiful natural places
  • It offers attractive employment opportunities to students and the emoluments are usually quite lucrative

University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, etc. are some of the best places to study in Vancouver.


  • Ottawa is one of the most student friendly cities
  • This small city in the Ontario province has foreigners as more than half of its population
  • It is a potpourri of cultures and ethnicities from around the world
  • Students here are likely to get a first-hand experience of diverse cultures and end up learning new languages as well
  • The city has a low crime rate and a high income rate
  • It offers a vibrant lifestyle with a variety of festivals celebrated every year
  • Employment opportunities for immigrants are immense
  • This place is also rich in natural beauty; you will be amazed to find so many freshwater lakes and forests
  • Ottawa scores tall on ease of transportation; it has a high-frequency rapid bus transit and the rail transit system acts as a shuttle

The city houses some of the most respected academic institutions including Ottawa University and Carleton University.


  • A French-speaking city, which gets most visitors from around the world. Not many people speak English here but when it comes to the universities, the medium of instruction is mostly English
  • It is the second-largest metropolitan area after Montreal and is an extremely safe place
  • People are friendly, quite liberal and the cases of public violence are rare
  • It has the lowest unemployment rate among all the cities in Canada
  • From buses and taxis to ferries and two-wheelers, the city offers several transport modes
  • When it comes to the cost of living, Quebec is quite affordable and offers good education at the lowest price possible
  • The universities are well equipped and have state-of-the-art laboratories, sports grounds and multi-purpose halls

Bishop’s University is a well-known English speaking university in Quebec City.

With so many benefits on the platter, most of the cities in Canada attract a good percentage of foreign students. However, it is imperative to do a deep dive to figure out which city will suit you the best.

This is exactly what the personalised Manya Education’s admission consulting services offer to study abroad aspirants like you. Get, set and contact us to avail optimal guidance!


For more information, call our Study Abroad Helpline 1800 102 4646

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