5 Best Cities to Live in Canada as a Student

Want to study in Canada? Here’s our latest listing of top 5 cities to pick from.

Are you unsure about the best cities to live in Canada as a foreign student who has just arrived or planning to travel to the country for studies? The majority of international students choose Canada as their destination of choice, but more so the following 5 top-rated cities for their education. You are at the right place.

Canada has always been a country of attraction to students because of its good educational system, cost of living, and rich culture. Asides from a good educational system, both domestic and foreign students have the best cities to live in in Canada too.

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of foreign students who go to Canada for studies. However, moving to a new country could be very stressful. This is because of the need to fully adapt to the culture and flow of the city within a short period. In this article, we will cover the 5 Best Cities to live in Canada as a foreign student, why they are so, and the cons of living in these cities.

Let’s get started, shall we?

5 Best Cities to Live in Canada as a Domestic or Foreign Student

According to QS Rankings 2022, the best cities to live in Canada as domestic or foreign students are;
1. Montreal
2. Toronto
3. Vancouver
4. Ottawa
5. Quebec

#1. Montreal

Montreal is one of the best cities to live in Canada. It ranks the topmost among the five best cities mentioned above.

Montreal’s first rank is so due to its exclusively high educational standard. This is one of the factors that have made it preferable to other cities. This city has a rich cultural diversity which makes it a more friendly city for students to live in, particularly international students.

In addition, Montreal is also a hub for technological advancement and its AI research institute is an attraction to big companies like Microsoft Word and Google. The city has a good network of roads and other means of transportation and as a result, makes day-to-day activities easy, affordable, and accessible.

Also, there are numerous jobs that students can take up to support themselves throughout their duration of studies. Not only is the city student-friendly or filled with cultural diversity, but it also has some of the well-known Universities in Canada.

Some of these well-known universities in Montreal are:

  • HEC Montreal
  • Concordia University
  • McGill University
  • University de Montreal

Despite these characteristics mentioned above, that made it stand out, there are also downsides to living in Montreal.

Downsides of Montreal as one of the top cities to live in Canada

Although Montreal is a wonderful home and one of the best cities to live in Canada as a domestic or international student, there are also downsides to living in this city. Below are some of the downsides of living in this city in Canada:

#1. Montreal is bilingual

This is one of the most disturbing downsides of living in one of the best cities in Canada. Although this might not seem to be a problem, most times it is. Residents of Montreal speak both English and French languages. These languages are as well incorporated into the academic calendar.

As a result of this, foreign students are at a disadvantage of not flowing in well. This could pose a problem to them as it limits them from accessing some services which depend on the language of communication.

#2. Montreal have higher taxes compared to many Canadian cities

These best cities to live in Canada are of a very high standard and so are the taxes too. Notwithstanding that the cost of living is low.

#3. Montreal has several bad structures

As beautiful as the city is, many faulty structures that are neglected can also be found there. These bad structures take up space and pose hindrances to living and other activities in the city.

#4. Montreal has declining use of public transit system

Public transit is the most affordable means of transportation in this city of Canada. However, there is a decline in its use. This is due to negligence and lack of maintenance. has been a decline in the usage of public transport due to lack of maintenance. This equally led to increasing in transportation fares.


The second of the best cities to live in Canada is Toronto. Toronto is one of the cities in Canada known for its many international festivals. The city of Toronto houses some well-known Universities such as; the University of Toronto, and the University of Waterloo. It ranks 11th position for the best cities to live in Canada for immigrants and second for the best cities to live in Canada for foreign students.

Life in Toronto for international students can be refreshing and fun. The diverse culture, businesses, malls, and restaurants altogether make it lively and a whole lot of fun. The cost of living in Toronto is affordable and the cost of transportation ranges from 75-103 CAD.

There is a wide range of part-time jobs available to students. The security level in Toronto is high and so, students can focus on their education without fear of insecurity. Also, Toronto having a developed economy makes jobs accessible to both domestic and international students.

Downsides to the second of the best cities to live in Canada.

#1. Toronto’s housing market is very high

The housing market in Toronto is very high. The average cost of renting a one-room apartment is about CAD 800. This does not include other expenses. The cost of living in Toronto is not favorable, especially for low-income earners.

#2. Toronto city is very condensed

The population of people living in Toronto is very high as compared to its land area.

#3. Toronto does not have bike lanes

Unlike other best cities to live in Canada, the city of Toronto lacks bike lanes.  This is very important for you to be aware of should you be someone who loves biking.

#4. The Weather in Toronto can be tough

This is particularly for foreign students who may have not had to witness winter. Winters in Toronto can be long and unnecessary

#3. Vancouver

Vancouver is encompassed by beautiful landscapes of water and mountains. It is rich with mixed cultures and numerous ethnic groups. The city is famous for its extreme beauty and serenity, and it accommodates students from all over the world and from all walks of life.

The city of Vancouver is the major urban center of western Canada. It is also the focus of many immigrants as one of the country’s most populous metropolitan regions.

Transportation is made accessible with the availability of speed trains, and buses. The city has a good connection of roads making it easy for international students to access the city. It is safe for international students and is famous for its ease of employment. This is to say that it is one of the best cities in Canada where employability is high.

Notwithstanding, the city of Vancouver has some of the most popular universities in the province of British Columbia.  Canada located in Vancouver is

  • Vancouver Island University
  • University of Canada west
  • Simon Fraser University

Some of the cons of living in Vancouver

1. Vancouver experiences constant traffic.

2. The land is scarce in Vancouver.

3. There’s an increase in the population.

4. There is a high possibility of natural disasters as the beautiful landscape and mountains are very unstable. Also, in recent times there have been some earthquakes in the area frequently.

5. There is frequent rainfall and you know what this means. If your body is not in good yes with cold, you might be at a disadvantage.

6. Limited public transportation.

7. There is an increase in the number of homeless people

#4. Ottawa

Ottawa comprises people from a wide variety of cultures and this is a unique characteristic it has more than the other best cities to live in Canada. There are foreign students from Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Languages spoken here are English, German, Spanish, etc.

Asides from its cultural variety, Ottawa is the capital of Canada. It is a well-ordered city with superb road networks! There is also the availability of speed buses, shuttles, and trains, and the crime rate in Ottawa is very minimal.
There’s peace and safety for all international students irrespective of race and gender. Ottawa has the largest employment center in Canada. It gives more than 5 million jobs to international students.

Some famous universities in Ottawa are:

  • Carleton University
  • Saint Paul University
  • Dominican University
  • Saint Paul University

Some cons to living in Ottawa

  • Being Bilingual could be a requirement in getting a job.
  • Absence of a subway.
  • The winters are always freezing.
  • Homelessness is on the rise.

#5. Quebec City

Quebec is mostly a French-speaking city and it is the second largest metropolitan city in Canada. It has beautiful landscapes. The city is student-friendly as transportation is highly affordable.

Additionally, Quebec is a safe and peaceful city. International students find it very easy to study in Quebec because of the peace and friendliness of the people. There are lots of opportunities for students. It is also very easy to find a part-time job to earn a living.
The accommodation cost is around 523-700 CAD and food costs around 70 CAD

Some of the cons of living in Quebec city

  • High-income tax.
  • Unreliable public transport.
  • Food insecurity.
  • Increase in unemployment.

Additionally, there is a Language barrier in Quebec City. Most international students find it difficult to have access to some parts of the city because everything is written in French. Speaking French is also a requirement for working in Quebec.

Bonus Cities

Alberta is a Bonus Province for International Students especially with growing number of immigrants choosing to settle in cities like Calgary and Edmonton. Watch this video of best cities to settle in Alberta, as an immigrant worker or student.

List of options for students who wish to obtain permanent residency in Canada.

This is the list of options for international students who wish to obtain permanent residence in Canada.

#1. Quebec immigration:

Quebec immigration is one of the options that international students studying in Canada can utilize to obtain permanent residency in Canada.  It achieves this through one of its immigrant pathways, “The Quebec Experience Program (PEQ)”.  Candidates who wish to apply for this program must have an experience in the province of Quebec. This too either as a temporary foreign worker or an international student.

#2. Provincial Nominee Program:

The provincial Nominee Program (PNP), allows the different provinces in Canada to nominate individuals who wish to migrate to Canada. Like Quebec immigration, the immigrant should have an experience in these provinces. Although it is not always strict.

The Northern Canadian territory of Nunavut and Quebec are exceptions.

#3. Canadian Experience Class:

The Canadian experience class (CEC), also known as the Canadian Express Entry is an immigration program that allows for permanent immigration into Canada. The immigrants must be individuals who have worked in Canada for at least one year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the cheapest city in Canada?

Of all the five best cities to live in Canada, the cheapest is Sherbrooke in Quebec. It is about 20% cheaper to live in Sherbrooke than in Toronto

In which city of Canada is permanent resident easy?

Out of all the best cities to live in Canada, the province of New Brunswick gives an immediate response to qualified candidates. They are the fastest to give out permanent residence

How much can you earn as a student in Canada?

Students can earn 10-15 CAD per hour, it can amount to 1000 CAD in a month. You are also allowed to work in Canada for one to three years after completing your academic program, this also depends on the length of the program.

Can I obtain a work visa in Canada using a student visa?

Yes, you can obtain a work visa in Canada using your student visa. However, this is only possible if you get employment before completing your program. You must make sure to process the work permit before your student visa expires.


Finding the best city to stay in Canada could be quite confusing because of the plethora of options available, however, in this article, the pros and cons of each of these cities have been outlined
The choice will be based on individual preference.
It is pertinent to find out what suits you and also check to see if you meet all the requirements of the city.