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5 Best Cities in Canada to Study & Work for International Students

Updated on 01 April, 2024

Akansha Semwal

Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

Canada has become the most popular and recommended educational destination for international students. According to QS Best Student Cities 2024, many Canadian cities are featured on the list. Apart from offering high-quality education facilities for students worldwide, the country offers a safe learning environment for international students. In a nutshell, Canadian universities are known for their cutting-edge educational facilities, globally ranked research techniques, best placement offers, and full-fledged career opportunities. Now, you must be thinking about how to identify the best cities in Canada for Indian students.

Study & Settle in Canada – Know where to start!

The best cities in Canada that are known for their universities are Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. It is paramount for students to choose the right city, depending upon the cost of living in the province. These cities offer good quality of life in tandem with good quality of educational facilities and cost of living. The article encapsulates the indispensable information to know about the best cities in Canada for students.

Read More: Top Reasons for Rejection of Canada Student Visa

Best Cities for International Students in Canada: QS Rankings 2024

According to QS Best Student Cities 2024, four Canadian cities have been ranked in the top 100. Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa are at the top-most positions among the best student-friendly cities, not just in Canada, but also in North America. The following list would help decide the best city to live in Canada for Indian students as well as int'l students.

QS Rankings for Top 5 Cities of Canada

Cities QS Ranking
Montreal  13
Ottawa 57
Quebec 111

Source: QS WUR Best Student Cities 2024

5 Benefits of Studying in Best Cities in Canada

Studying in the best cities in Canada offers numerous advantages for international students. Here are five key benefits:

Access to High-Quality Education: Canada is renowned for its world-class universities and colleges, many of which are located in its major cities. Studying in these cities provides access to top-notch educational institutions with diverse programs and research opportunities, ensuring students receive a quality education that is recognized globally.

Abundant Career Opportunities: Major Canadian cities are hubs for various industries such as finance, technology, healthcare, and tourism. Studying in these cities increases students' exposure to potential employers, internships, and job opportunities. Additionally, proximity to thriving industries enhances students' chances of securing employment post-graduation, whether through networking events, career fairs, or co-op programs.

Cultural Diversity and Vibrancy: Canadian cities are known for their multiculturalism, offering a rich tapestry of cultures, languages, and traditions. Studying in these diverse urban centers exposes students to new perspectives, fosters intercultural understanding, and provides opportunities for cultural exchange and exploration. This multicultural environment contributes to a vibrant and inclusive community that enriches the overall student experience.

Access to Resources and Amenities: Major cities in Canada boast excellent infrastructure, amenities, and resources tailored to students' needs. From state-of-the-art libraries and research facilities to recreational venues, restaurants, and cultural institutions, students have access to a wide range of resources and amenities that support their academic, social, and personal development. Moreover, public transportation systems allow students to navigate the city and explore its offerings.

Networking and Professional Development: Studying in Canada's best cities provides ample opportunities for networking, mentorship, and professional development. Students can engage with industry professionals, attend seminars and workshops, and join student organizations or professional associations relevant to their field of study. Building a strong professional network during their academic journey can open doors to career advancement, mentorship opportunities, and lifelong connections.

Top 5 Cities in Canada for International Students:

1. Montreal

Best Student City QS Ranking 202413
Best Universities in Montreal
  • Universite de Montreal
  • McGill University
  • HEC Montreal
  • Concordia University
  • Saint Laurent Cegep
  • Polytechnique Montreal
Average Monthly Cost of Living in Montreal

CAD 9,700–12,700


With a barrage of esteemed universities, Montreal is on the brim of the bucket list of international students who desire to pursue higher studies in Canada. Montreal was ranked among the top 15 as per QS Best Student Cities Rankings 2024. It reflects that students are inclined toward Montreal juxtaposed with other cities, and it is considered the best place to live in Canada for Indian immigrants. 

Why Study in Montreal

The cultural capital of Canada is a popular choice for international students because of the following reasons:

  • The city has a well-defined and affordable transport system with 196 daytime bus routes, 23-night bus routes, and 68 metro stations.
  • A single trip can cost a student CAD 3.50. They can use BIXI bikes to explore the city at affordable prices.
  • Montreal is ranked 10th on the student view ranking indicator.
  • The city has secured the first spot worldwide for student view and 15th as the desirable city.
  • The city ranks 52nd in the world for affordability. The cost for a one-bedroom apartment can cost CAD 1,280. 
  • The city offers an array of study opportunities across disciplines and is ranked 33rd for employer activity.
  • Montréal remains Quebec’s center of several sectors: retail, transportation, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and more.

a) Cost of Living

Montreal is the cheapest city in Canada for international students. For a 3-course meal, the approximate cost is CAD 60; the transportation cost and accommodation costs would be around CAD 85 and CAD 709-1050, respectively. Living costs are affordable, and international students can work part-time to manage their expenses.

b) Dynamic Culture

Montreal hosts events and activities around the year. This really helps international students to acquaint themselves with the local Canadian culture. The city organizes some of the best plays, sports, music, and cultural activities.

c) Promising Job Market

Montreal ranks first for foreign investment by Americans. A favorable and dynamic job market opens leading industrial exposure, and students can gain the most from it. Some popular sectors in Montreal are aerospace, video games, life sciences, and fintech industries.

d) Safe Living

Montreal is safe and peaceful for international students. They can use the transportation and roads at any time, without worrying about their safety. According to The Economist, Montreal happens to be the safest place to live in the world.


Read More: Vancouver vs Toronto: Which is best city for students?

2. Vancouver

A land of breathtaking landscapes, Vancouver is featured on the QS Best Student Cities 2024 list. The city is renowned for its exquisite beauty and safety for students. The city houses giant tech organizations like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, which offer an array of opportunities to the students. 

Best Student City QS Ranking 202418
Best Universities in Vancouver
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Canada West
  • Vancouver Island University
  • The University of British Columbia
Average Monthly Cost of Living in Vancouver 

Why Study in Vancouver

Here is a quick rundown of the top things that make Vancouver one of Canada's best cities to study for Indian students. 

  • Vancouver is a diverse city with students from all over the world. Students from Europe, China, Britain, Ireland, and Scotland. form the majority ethnic groups, who come here to study.
  • Vancouver is featured in the top 50 in the world, indicating employers highly revere graduates.
  • The average annual tuition fee for an international student is CAD 15,735.
  • A one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver city center will cost around CAD 2,047.
  • The city offers easy and safe transportation.
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3. Toronto

Toronto is an eminent destination for students and houses a gamut of prominent universities in Canada. It is the finest city internationally and ranks high among the best cities in Canada. It is the home to the top-ranked University of Toronto (U of T), which captivates international students. Toronto is featured in the 13th position by QS  Best Student Cities 2022. The following factors make the city the best place for Indian immigrants to live in Canada. 

  • The city offers ease of transport; Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) provides bus services, and subways within the city
  • The cost to travel via a subway would cost them CAD 3.25 (around $2.50). While the daily pass would cost CAD 11
  • Students can also opt for a 12-month pass, which would cost the students CAD 143
  • The average international fee at the top university is CAD 3,384,000
  • The city has been featured at 2nd rank as the desirable city
  • There is a gamut of work opportunities open to students and graduates. The city ranks joint 22nd worldwide for the employer activity indicator
  • The average monthly cost of living in Canada can be around CAD 3200

a) Ranked Universities

Toronto is home to the top-ranked University of Toronto. There are several other universities, like York University, Ryerson University, the University of Waterloo, and OCAD University there. These universities are chosen by international students from varied backgrounds and disciplines. They are known for their world-class educational facilities, reputed faculties, best research centres and placements.

b) A Perfect City Life

Students enjoy perfect metropolitan city life in Toronto. It is a hub for businesses, different cultures, job markets, and international students. There are amazing malls, restaurants, clubs, shopping hubs, and cultural centres. International students do find the best flavour of Canada here and love to study in Toronto.

c) Convenient Public Transportation

Toronto is a well-connected city. Public transportation facilities are easily available and are affordable. The city has easy access to a Presto card that can be used for all kinds of transport systems. It offers convenient and safe mobility for international students who are new to the place.

d) Living Costs

The cost of living in Toronto can be easily managed. A one-room rented apartment costs around CAD 2020 and 3 meals will be approximately CAD 75. The transportation cost is around CAD 103. Students can work up to 20 hours a week in part-time jobs to earn their living.

e) Safety

Toronto is a busy metropolitan city, but it is always safe for international students. The security is tight, and there is safety all-around even late at night. It is easy for international students to focus on their studies and not worry about any issues related to safety or privacy.

f) Employment

It has a developed economy with increasing job opportunities. This makes the job market in Toronto a full-fledged one. International students from varied backgrounds can find suitable jobs and the salary packages are high.

g) Enriching Experience:

A culturally rich city, Toronto has people speaking more than 140 languages. The largest cultural groups are formed by international students from India, Ireland, the UK, and China.

Popular Universities in Toronto

  • University of Toronto
  • York University
  • Ryerson University
  • University of Waterloo
  • OCAD University 
  • Trent University

Important Resources About Canada to Read

Why Study in Canada?Cost of living in CanadaAverage Salary in Canada Per Month
Part-time jobs in CanadaCost of Studying in CanadaHow to Settle in Canada from India?
Requirements for Studying in CanadaStudent life in CanadaStudent Accommodation in Canada
SOP for CanadaA Degree or a Diploma in Canada

4. Ottawa

Ottawa is another student-friendly destination and one of the best places to study in Canada. The city is featured at the 53rd position by QS Best Student Cities 2022. The diverse and dynamic culture in tandem with lucrative job opportunities encourages international students to move to the city. Moreover, the top two universities in Ottawa are ranked within the top 650 in the world. 

Here are some of the reasons behind Ottawa being one of the best destinations for international students:

  • The city is featured in the top 50 for the student view indicator, a score that indicates the city’s lively student life, friendliness, and diversity
  • A student will require around CAD 1,185 for monthly living expenses, while monthly rent expenditure would be CAD 1,625
  • Home to a slew of high-tech companies, healthcare, and Canadian government
  • Federal employment node in Canada 
  • The cultural diversity of the city makes it a cosmopolitan centre of Canada.
  • Students would receive the opportunity to visit world heritage sites and explore historical and cultural spots, including the most-visited; the Canadian Museum of History and Centre Block

a) City’s Diversity

Ottawa is a highly diversified city in terms of its cultural mix. There are international students from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. The most common languages that are spoken here are Spanish, English, Italian, Arabic, and German.

b) Transportation

Ottawa is a well-connected city. It is a planned city with good communication and mobility networks. There are rapid buses, trains, rails, and shuttles. For the physically disabled international students, there is a separate Para Transport service as well.

c) Safety

Crime is equal to zero in Ottawa. It is a very safe and peaceful city for international students to study without any issues.

d) Employment

Ottawa Technology Park is the largest employment hub in Canada. It offers more than 5,66,000 jobs to international students from various backgrounds.

e) Universities

Several reputed and globally ranked universities are in Ottawa. They are the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Saint Paul University, Dominican University, and Augustine College.

f) Cost of Living

The cost of living in Ottawa is manageable. It is not very expensive and can be easily managed if international students take up a part-time jobs. The average cost of accommodation is CAD 1120, for food it is CAD 70 and transportation will cost around CAD 103.

Popular Universities in Ottawa

  • University of Ottawa 
  • Carleton University
  • Ottawa University
  • Saint Paul University
  • Dominican University

5. Quebec City

Quebec City is a picturesque and historic capital city of Quebec province, which is also the best province in Canada for international students. The safe and sound atmosphere makes Quebec one of the top 50 for student mix in the QS Best Student Cities 2022. Notable universities in Quebec include the Université du Québec and Université Laval. The city also houses one of the oldest educational institutions for women in North America – the Ursuline Convent of Quebec City. The primary language of teaching in Quebec City is primarily French. It is paramount to evaluate the best place to study in Canada. 

Here are some more reasons behind Quebec offering an amazing experience to international students:

  • A gamut of transport options are available in Quebec City – buses (CAD 3), taxis (CAD 1.70 per 0.6 miles), ferries, and two-wheelers
  • The Desirability rank of the university is 62nd and it is ranked at 55 in terms of affordability
  • The university is featured at the 115th student view rank           
  • The apartment rent for 1 bedroom is CAD 525-700
  • The average international fee of the ranked institute is CAD 1,44,130
  • The employer activity rank of the city is 93
  • The average tuition fee is CAD 10,000 – CAD 40,000

a) Amazing City Life

After Montreal, Quebec is the second-largest metropolitan city in Canada. Alongside the beautiful landscapes, students also get to enjoy all the famous hubs and facilities in the city.

b) Transportation

This is a well-connected city and has winning transportation facilities. It is a student-friendly city as public transportation is highly affordable. The buses charge around CAD 3, taxis CAD 1.70 per mile and there are a lot of bicycles and two-wheelers available for affordable rent as well.

c) Safety

Quebec is considered a highly safe and secure city. There are no public crimes or violent acts that take place here. People here are friendly and liberal. International students find it easy to live and study in Quebec because of the safety and peace.

d) Employment opportunities:

The city offers lots of opportunities as compared to other cities in Canada. Students get ample high-paying job offers and there is no lack of employment. It is easy for international students to find a part-time job to earn a living.

e) Cost of Living

Quebec is affordable as compared to other cities in Canada. The accommodation costs around CAD 525-700, and food costs around CAD 60.

In a nutshell, Canada is considered as a safe destination for international students to pursue their education. Students scouring for the best province in Canada for international students should consider Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. 

How to Decide Among Best Student Cities in Canada

Deciding among the best student cities in Canada involves considering various factors such as academic reputation, quality of life, affordability, cultural diversity, employment opportunities, and access to amenities. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you make a decision:

  • Research Academic Institutions: Look into the universities and colleges located in different cities across Canada. Consider factors such as their rankings, programs offered, faculty expertise, research opportunities, and campus facilities. Choose cities that have reputable institutions offering programs aligned with your academic interests and career goals.
  • Evaluate Quality of Life: Assess the overall quality of life in each city. Consider factors such as safety, healthcare facilities, public transportation, housing options, climate, recreational activities, and entertainment options. Look for cities that offer a comfortable and conducive environment for studying and living.
  • Consider Affordability: Compare the cost of living, including housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, and entertainment, in different cities. Factor in the availability of scholarships, grants, and part-time job opportunities to support your finances while studying. Choose a city where you can maintain a reasonable standard of living without incurring excessive expenses or financial strain.
  • Explore Cultural Diversity: Canada is known for its cultural diversity, with cities offering a rich blend of ethnicities, languages, cuisines, and traditions. Consider cities that embrace cultural diversity and provide opportunities for cross-cultural interactions, community engagement, and multicultural experiences. This exposure can enrich your overall educational experience and broaden your perspectives.
  • Assess Employment Opportunities: Look into the local job market and career prospects in each city. Consider industries thriving in the area, internship opportunities, networking events, and career development resources provided by universities and local organizations. Choose a city where you can potentially secure part-time employment or gain relevant work experience in your field of study.
  • Consider Amenities and Services: Consider the availability of amenities and services that are important to you, such as libraries, recreational facilities, sports venues, shopping centers, restaurants, and healthcare centers. Evaluate the accessibility and quality of these amenities within each city to ensure they meet your needs and preferences.
  • Seek Student Perspectives: Reach out to current students or alumni from different universities and cities to gain insights into their experiences. Ask about their academic journey, campus life, social activities, challenges faced, and overall satisfaction with the city. Their firsthand experiences can provide valuable perspectives and help you make an informed decision.
  • Visit Prospective Cities: If possible, visit the cities you're considering to get a firsthand feel of the environment, campus atmosphere, and surrounding community. Take campus tours, explore the neighborhoods, attend local events, and interact with residents to gauge your comfort level and compatibility with each city.

By carefully evaluating these factors and prioritizing your preferences, you can make an informed decision among the best student cities in Canada that align with your academic, personal, and professional aspirations.




Seeking to study in Canada – Apply Now

More Resources to Read About Canada:

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BBA in Canada after 12thEligibility for MBA in CanadaSalary after MBA in Canada
Average Salary after MS in CanadaJobs after MS in CanadaAverage Salary in Canada after MS in Computer Science

Frequently Asked Questions

How many cities are in Canada?

Canada has three types of cities depending upon the population. There are 51 cities with a population ranging from 100,000 to 1 million, 3 cities with more than a million people, and 235 cities with 10,000-100,000 people. When considering which city is best for international students in Canada, students can pick one of the top city based on their budget. The top-ranked cities are Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, and Quebec.

Which city has Canada’s best universities?

Canada is known for its best education system. Some of the best-ranked and most reputed universities in the world are in Canada. Students choose Canada for a world-class education system along with a robust job market. Out of all the cities, Montreal has Canada’s best universities, like the University of Montreal, McGill University, Concordia University, and HEC Montreal.

Which is the safest city in Canada for students?

Canada is an overall safe city. Group violence is almost zero. International students find it very safe to relocate to Canada for higher studies. The safest city with the lowest crime rate in Canada is Quebec. It is a safe zone in Canada and that is why it is chosen by international students.

Which city is considered the best for work post-study in Canada?

Canada has a highly dynamic and robust job market. Job opportunities are high in Canada and the unemployment rate is very low. In February 2022, there was a dip of 5.5% in the unemployment rate. Some of the best-reputed global conglomerates and multinationals hire from Canadian universities on a regular basis. However, out of all the cities, Ontario is the best city for work post-study. The unemployment rate is the lowest here, with a huge scope for high-paying jobs.

Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

Akansha Semwal is a content marketer at upGrad and has also worked as a social media marketer & sub-editor. Experienced in creating impressive Statement of Purpose, Essays, and LOR, she knows how to captivate the attention of Admissions Committee. Her research-driven;study-abroad articles helps aspirants to make the prudent decision. She holds a bachelor's & master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi.

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