Best Places to Live in Canada as a Student

Embarking on the journey of higher education in Canada offers students academic excellence and the opportunity to immerse themselves in a diverse and welcoming culture. Choosing the right place to call home during these formative years is pivotal influencing both academic success and overall well-being.

On the cusp of leaping to Canada as an international student? Move closer to making your Canadian study dreams a reality by discovering the best places to live in Canada as a student!

International Students in Canada

international students in canada

As an international student, choosing the best place to live in Canada is crucial for a successful academic journey. Canada is known for its high-quality education system and welcoming atmosphere for students from all over the world.

With numerous cities offering excellent educational institutions, vibrant cultures, and diverse communities, it can be challenging to decide where to settle. In this article, we will explore the top five cities in Canada that are ideal for international students. Whether you prefer a bustling metropolis or a more relaxed environment, Canada has something to offer everyone.

5 of The Best Cities in Canada for International Students

5 of the best cities in canada for international students

The following presents a detailed description of the top 5 cities in Canada as a Student.


Montreal, the largest city in the province of Quebec, is renowned for its rich history, cultural diversity, and thriving arts scene. As a student in Montreal, you can immerse yourself in a bilingual environment, as both English and French are widely spoken.

Cost of Living in Montreal for International Students

Montreal provides an affordable cost of living compared to other major cities in Canada such as Toronto. This is exemplified in the cost of living figures below, all obtained from

Average Monthly Living Costs Cost in Montreal (CAD) Cost in Toronto (CAD)
For a family of Four 4,892.0 5,588
For one person 1,329.2 1,544.1

Student Life in Montreal

Montreal's multicultural fabric creates a dynamic and inclusive atmosphere. From the historic Old Montreal to vibrant neighborhoods like Plateau-Mont-Royal, students can explore diverse cultural offerings, including international cuisine, festivals, and artistic performances.

Montreal's neighborhoods cater to diverse student preferences. The Plateau-Mont-Royal is known for its artistic vibe, while the Latin Quarter exudes a lively energy with its cafes and theaters. For affordable housing options, you can take a look at Plateau-Mont-Royal, Mile End, and Côte-des-Neiges provide a mix of one-bedroom apartments and shared accommodations.

Top-Ranked Universities and Colleges in Montreal

Montreal is one of the leading centers of education in Canada, especially in the fields of IT and software development. The primary post-secondary institutons catering to the development of technological education and research is McGill University. This institution is rated among the best in the world, ranking 49th in the world according to Times Higher Education.

Concordia University is another popular choice for international students, known for its strong emphasis on experiential learning and innovative research.


Toronto, the largest city in Canada, is a global hub for business, culture, and innovation. As a student in Toronto, you will have access to a wide range of academic programs and research opportunities.

Cost of Living in Toronto for International Students

As Canada’s commercial and financial center, Toronto has a comparatively high cost of living. However, you can offset these living costs by staying in an apartment outside the city center, which has cheaper accommodation than inside it. This is reflected below with information from

Type of Accommodation  Average Monthly Cost in Toronto (CAD)
For a 1 Bedroom Apartment in the City Center 2,601.24
For a 1 Bedroom Apartment Outside the City Center 2,302.61

Student Life in Toronto

From vibrant ethnic neighborhoods like Chinatown and Little Italy to cultural events and festivals, students can explore and celebrate diversity. The city hosts film festivals, theater productions, and live music events.

Iconic venues like the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario provide spaces for students to indulge in Toronto's creative and artistic offerings. Kensington and St. Lawrence markets are culinary havens for those seeking gastronomic adventures.

If you’re on the hunt for affordable accommodation, Toronto's diverse neighborhoods offer a range of off-campus housing options for international students seeking independence. Areas like Annex, North York, and Scarborough provide various choices, from apartments to shared housing.

Top-Ranked Universities and Colleges in Toronto

Toronto, as the largest city in Canada, also hosts the highest number of postsecondary institutions in the country. Some of the best institutions that you can enroll in the city include:

The University of Toronto (UofT) annually ranks among the best universities worldwide, coming in at an admirable number 21 in Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings.

Besides the UofT, Toronto offers study opportunities at other reputable institutions such as Ryerson University, York University, and George Brown College.


Vancouver, located on the west coast of Canada, is renowned for its stunning natural scenery, mild climate, and outdoor recreational opportunities. The city offers a diverse and multicultural environment, attracting students from all over the world.

Cost of Living in Vancouver for International Students

Vancouver has a relatively high cost of living, primarily due to the city's desirable location and quality of life. To offset the relatively high cost of living in Vancouver, we recommend finding accommodation, which makes up the bulk of living costs, on the outskirts of the city rather than the city center. Off-campus accommodation outside the city center is generally less expensive. This is reflected in the table below, with figures from

Type of Accommodation Cost in Vancouver (CAD)
1 bedroom apartment inside the City Center 2,830.55
1 bedroom apartment outside the City Center 2,220.73

Student Life in Vancouver

Nestled between mountains and ocean, Vancouver is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking the Grouse Grind to biking along the Stanley Park Seawall, students have access to a myriad of recreational activities year-round.

Vancouver stands as one of the most multicultural cities in the world, providing students with exposure to a rich tapestry of cultures. Granville Island, a hub for artists and artisans, provides a unique space for students to explore and appreciate the creative side of Vancouver.

With regard to affordable housing for international students, Vancouver has areas like Kitsilano and Commercial Drive that offer a mix of one-bedroom and shared apartments.

Top-Ranked Universities and Colleges in Vancouver

Vancouver is one of the three main urban hubs for education in Canada, along with Toronto and Montreal. Therefore, it is home to several top-ranked universities and colleges. They are:

The University of British Columbia (UBC) consistently ranks among the best universities globally, with Times Higher Education placing it at number 26 in its current year list. Besides UBC, other postsecondary institutions of note in Vancouver that you can enroll in include Simon Fraser University, Langara College, and Emily Carr University of Art + Design.


Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, offers a unique blend of cultural attractions, natural beauty, and a thriving academic environment.

Cost of Living in Ottawa for International Students

Compared to Toronto, the largest city in Ontario, Ottawa as the second largest, offers a relatively affordable cost of living. This is reflected below in the off-campus accommodation costs in both cities inside the city center. Figures from

Type of Accommodation Cost in Ottawa (CAD) Cost in Toronto (CAD)
1 bedroom apartment inside the city 1,952.31 2,601.24
3 bedroom apartment inside the city 3,081.36 4,308.62

In addition, Ottawa offers a reliable public transportation system, making it convenient for students to explore the city and its surrounding areas.

Student Life in Ottawa

International students can find an accommodating life in Ottawa. Beyond the classroom, Ottawa unfolds as a city rich in cultural experiences. The National Arts Centre, numerous museums, and vibrant festivals throughout the year contribute to the city's dynamic cultural scene.

Ottawa's picturesque landscapes, including the iconic Rideau Canal, provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities. Gatineau Park offers hiking trails and scenic views, providing a refreshing escape from the demands of student life.

If you are looking for affordable accommodation, areas like Sandy Hill and the Glebe offer a mix of one-bedroom and shared accommodations at various price points.

Top-Ranked Universities and Colleges in Ottawa

Ottawa boasts several top-ranked universities and colleges, the most prominent among them including:

Quebec City

Quebec City, the capital of the province of Quebec, is renowned for its European charm, historic architecture, and vibrant Francophone culture. The city offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern amenities.

Cost of Living in Quebec City for International Students

Quebec City provides an affordable cost of living for international students compared to Montreal, Quebec’s other major city. According to UniAcco, the cost of living in Quebec City vs Montreal can be as outlined below:

City in Quebec Off Campus Cost of Living for International Students (CAD) On Campus Cost of Living for International Students (CAD)
Quebec City 2,852.28 3,008.70
Montreal  2,934.45 3,609.22

Student Life in Quebec City

Quebec City has various student housing cost brackets, ensuring that accommodation for international students in the city remains relatively affordable. Online portals where you can find affordable off-campus accommodation for international students in Quebec City include:

  •, and
  • University Rooms.

If you are looking for things to do as an international student in Quebec City then you’re in luck. Quebec City offers a rich and vibrant student life. The city's historic district, Old Quebec, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and provides a unique backdrop for cultural events and festivals.

Students can explore the city's numerous museums, art galleries, and theaters, showcasing Quebec's rich cultural heritage. Furthermore, Quebec City's proximity to nature allows for outdoor activities, such as skiing in nearby Mont-Sainte-Anne or hiking in Parc de la Chute-Montmorency.

Top-Ranked Universities and Colleges in Quebec City

Quebec City is home to several top-ranked universities and colleges. They include:

How Can I Become an International Student in Canada?

how can i become an international student in canada

Becoming an international student in Canada requires careful planning and preparation. Here, we will outline the main steps involved in the process.

Canada Study Permit

A study permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows international students to study at designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada. 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 how to apply for a Canada Study Permit.

Canada's Student Direct Stream

Canada's Student Direct Stream (SDS) is a streamlined study permit application process available to students from select countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The Student Direct Stream enables you to apply and obtain a Canada study permit in as fast as 20 calendar days. These fast processing times make the SDS ideal for eligible foreign students who want to expedite the process of becoming international students in Canada.

Find out more about the Student Direct Stream.


Are There Part-Time Job Opportunities for International Students in Canada?

Yes, international students in Canada are eligible to work part-time while studying. As an international student, you can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic semester and full-time during scheduled breaks, such as summer, winter, fall, and spring vacations.

Working part-time can provide you with valuable work experience, help cover living expenses, immerse yourself in the Canadian culture, and gain valuable work experience that can help you gain permanent residency in Canada via the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Which Canadian Province is the Best for International Students?

The best Canadian province for international students depends on various factors, including your field of study, personal preferences, and career goals. Each province in Canada offers unique advantages and opportunities.

For example, Ontario is known for its vibrant cities and strong job market, while British Columbia offers stunning natural landscapes and a thriving tech industry. It is important to research and consider your individual needs when choosing a province to study in.