Top Cities in Canada For International Students

January 11, 2024


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

The vast landscapes, cultural diversity, and renowned educational institutions make Canada an enticing choice for international students looking to take their education to the next level. From the multicultural allure of Toronto to the historic charm of Quebec City, each top city in Canada for international students brings something unique to the table, promising a top-notch education and a rich and rewarding overall experience.

Explore the top educational hubs in Canada, where international students thrive amidst vibrant cultures and academic excellence, from the bustling metropolis of Toronto to the coastal charm of Halifax!

5 of The Best Cities in Canada for International Students

Here are the top 5 best cities in Canada for international students: Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and Halifax.

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto, the capital city of Ontario, is a vibrant and multicultural city that offers a wide range of opportunities for international students. Toronto provides excellent educational options, with world-renowned universities such as the:

  • University of Toronto,
  • Ryerson University,
  • Toronto Metropolitan University, and
  • York University.

The city also boasts a diverse population, making it easy for international students to feel at home. Additionally, the city offers numerous part-time job opportunities for students, allowing them to gain valuable work experience while studying. From cultural festivals to a thriving arts scene, there is always something exciting happening in Toronto.

Top Attractions for International Students in Toronto

Some top attractions for international students in Toronto include:

Distillery District

The Distiller District is a unique area with a historic and artistic atmosphere, featuring galleries, shops, and restaurants.

Affordable Eats and Activities

International students can also enjoy affordable options like Magoo's Gourmet Hamburgers, explore the Toronto Islands, and visit the Ontario Science Centre.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

The Royal Ontario Museum is a world-renowned museum with a diverse collection of art, culture, and natural history.

Toronto Island Park

If you want some rest from your studies, Toronto Island Park offers a peaceful escape with beautiful views of the city skyline and outdoor activities.

CN Tower

The CN Tower is a must-visit iconic landmark with a glass floor and panoramic views of the city.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver, located on the west coast of Canada in British Columbia, is consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world. The city is known for its stunning natural beauty, with mountains and the Pacific Ocean as its backdrop. Vancouver is home to several prestigious universities, including the:

  • University of British Columbia,
  • Simon Fraser University,
  • University Canada West, and
  • Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

International students in Vancouver can enjoy a mild climate, outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing, and a thriving arts and culture scene. The city also offers a variety of part-time job opportunities, particularly in industries such as tourism and hospitality.

Top Attractions for International Students in Vancouver

Here's a curated list of must-visit attractions that will make your time in this vibrant Canadian city truly unforgettable.

Stanley Park

No visit to Vancouver is complete without exploring Stanley Park. As an international student, you can enjoy leisurely walks, bike rides, and picnics in this expansive urban oasis.

Granville Island

For international students, Granville Island is the perfect place to discover local art, indulge in diverse cuisines, and experience the lively spirit of Vancouver.

Grouse Mountain

In both summer and winter, Grouse offers international student outdoor enthusiasts opportunities for hiking, skiing, and breathtaking panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.

Vancouver Art Gallery

At the Vancouver Art Gallery explore a diverse collection of Canadian and Indigenous art, and witness exhibitions that showcase the city's commitment to fostering creativity and cultural expression.

Montreal, Quebec

Montreal, the largest city in the province of Quebec, is a vibrant and lively city with a rich cultural heritage. The city is known for its European charm, cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and French-speaking population. Montreal is home to several world-class universities, including:

  • McGill University,
  • Concordia University,
  • University of Montreal, and
  • University of Quebec in Montreal.

International students in Montreal can immerse themselves in a unique blend of French and English cultures, enjoy a lively arts and music scene, and explore the city's many festivals and events.

Top Attractions for International Students in Montreal

Major attractions for international students in Montreal include:

Old Montreal

This historic area offers a glimpse into the city's past with its cobblestone streets, period architecture, museums, and fine dining.

Montreal Botanical Garden

The Montreal Botanical Garden is a magnificent 75-hectare oasis where thousands of plant species and cultivars flourish.

Notre-Dame Basilica

Reflecting the city’s French colonial heritage, the Notre-Dame Basilica is a stunning basilica known for its Gothic Revival architecture.

Calgary, Alberta

Calgary, located in the province of Alberta, is a dynamic city known for its booming economy and friendly atmosphere. The city is home to several top-ranked universities, including the:

  • University of Calgary,
  • Mount Royal University,
  • Ambrose University,
  • St.Mary’s University, and
  • Alberta University of the Arts.

Calgary offers a high standard of living and a range of outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, biking, and skiing.

International students in Calgary can also benefit from the city's strong job market, with opportunities in industries such as oil and gas, technology, and finance. The city's welcoming community and diverse cultural scene make it an excellent choice for international students.

Top Attractions for International Students in Calgary

Calgary offers a variety of attractions for international students. Some of the top attractions include:

Calgary Tower

A prominent landmark in the city, offering panoramic views of Calgary from its observation deck.

Calaway Park

A popular amusement park with thrilling rides and attractions, including the Vortex, a unique roller coaster experience.

Calgary Stampede

A world-famous event celebrating Western cowboy culture, held annually in July, featuring rodeos, concerts, and other entertainment.

Stephen Avenue Walk

A scenic pedestrian mall in downtown Calgary, offering shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Fort Calgary

A historical site and a museum showcasing the history of the North West Mounted Police and the early settlement of Calgary.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax, the capital city of Nova Scotia, is a charming and historic city located on the east coast of Canada. The city plays host to several prestigious universities, including:

  • Dalhousie University,
  • Saint Mary's University,
  • Mount Saint Vincent University, and
  • University of King's College.

Halifax offers a rich maritime history, stunning coastal scenery, and a vibrant arts and music scene. International students in Halifax can enjoy a welcoming and friendly community, affordable cost of living, and a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, sailing, and exploring the picturesque coastline. The city's strong job market and entrepreneurial spirit also provide opportunities for students to gain valuable work experience.

Top Attractions for International Students in Halifax

Here are some of the prominent places to visit in Halifax as an international Student.

Peggy's Cove

A short drive from Halifax, Peggy's Cove is a picturesque fishing village known for its iconic lighthouse and rocky coastline. It's a popular spot for photography, and students can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Atlantic Ocean.

Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

This historic fort offers a glimpse into Halifax's military past. Visitors can explore the barracks, ramparts, and exhibits that showcase the city's role in Canadian history.

Point Pleasant Park

A large urban park located at the southern tip of the Halifax Peninsula, Point Pleasant Park provides a peaceful escape with walking trails, wooded areas, and waterfront views.

Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk

Stretching along the harbor, the boardwalk is lined with shops, cafes, and entertainment. Students can take a stroll, enjoy street performers, and savor local seafood while taking in views of the waterfront.

How Can I Study in Canada?

If you are interested in studying in Canada as an international student, there are a few steps you need to take. The first step is to apply to a Canadian educational institution and receive an acceptance letter. Once you have been accepted, you will need to apply for a study permit.

Study Permit

A study permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows international students to study in one of Canada’s designated learning institutions (DLIs) for the duration of the course it was issued. It is important to apply for a study permit well in advance of your intended start date, as processing times can vary.

Learn more about Canada’s study permit.

Student Direct Stream

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a program that allows eligible international students to have their study permit application processed more quickly. To be eligible for the SDS program, you must be a legal resident of certain countries, including China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

Applying through the SDS program can help expedite the study permit process by up to 20 calendar days. This allows you to begin your studies in Canada sooner.

Find out more about the Student Direct Stream.


Which City Has The Most International Students in Canada?

Toronto is the city with the most international students in Canada. With its world-class universities, diverse population, and abundant job opportunities, Toronto attracts students from all over the world. The city offers a multicultural environment where students can learn and grow, making it an ideal destination for international students.

Are There Part-Time Job Opportunities Available For International Students In Canadian Cities?

Yes, there are part-time job opportunities available for international students in Canadian cities. Many universities have job boards and career centers to help students find part-time employment. Additionally, Canadian immigration regulations allow international students to work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks.

Learn more about popular part-time jobs for students in Canada.