The's 2021 Ranking of the 49 Best Cities To study In Canada Is Out !

Name :

Rank : city.rank

Score : city.score

Sherbrooke is the best 2021 city to study in Canada !


The editorial team is proud to announce the great winner of its 2021 Best Cities To Study In Canada Ranking! This year, we have a winner from the province of Quebec : Sherbrooke has arrived first overall, with the highest score accumulated over the 4 categories of criteria that we applied to build our ranking.

  • Quality of life
  • Academic excellence and cost of studying
  • Quality of student life
  • Attractiveness

Check our "methodology" section below for more details on our whole set of criteria

The 2021 ranking of the 49 best cities to study in Canada

Discover here the 2021 ranking of the 49 best cities to study in Canada:

Rank CitiesScore /20
1Sherbrooke (Quebec)15.1
2 Montréal (Quebec) 15
3 Kingston (Ontario)14.3
4 Quebec City (Quebec) 13.7
5 Toronto (Ontario) 13.5
6Edmonton (Alberta)13.4
7 Vancouver (British Columbia) 13.3
8 Trois-Rivières (Quebec) 13.1
9 Calgary (Alberta)13
10Hamilton (Ontario) 12.9
11Waterloo (Ontario) 12.8
12St John's (Newfoundland and Labrador) 12.7
13London (Ontario) 12.5
13Ottawa (Ontario) 12.5
13Saint Catharines (Ontario) 12.5
16Surrey (British Columbia) 12.2
17 Guelph (Ontario) 12
17 Nanaimo (British Columbia) 12
19 Burnaby (British Columbia) 11.9
20 Winnipeg (Manitoba) 11.8
21 Abbotsford (British Columbia) 11.2
22 Halifax (Nova Scotia)11.1
23 Chicoutimi (Quebec) 11
24Gatineau (Quebec) 10.9
24 Windsor (Ontario) 10.9
26 Lethbridge (Alberta) 10.8
27 Kamloops (British Columbia) 10.6
27 Victoria (British Columbia) 10.6
29 Rimouski (Quebec) 10.4
30 Rouyn Noranda (Quebec) 10.3
31 Oshawa (Ontario) 9.8
31 Peterborough (Ontario) 9.8
31 Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) 9.8
34 Greater Sudbury (Ontario) 9.7
34 Moncton (New Brunswick) 9.7
36Fredericton (New Brunswick) 9.5
37 Regina (Saskatchewan) 9.1
37 Antigonish (Nova Scotia) 9.1
37 Brandon (Manitoba) 9.1
40Northbay (Ontario) 9
40 Pointe-de-l'Église (Nova Scotia) 9
40Thunder Bay (Ontario) 9
43 Sackville (New Brunswick) 8.9
44Sydney (Nova Scotia) 8.6
45 Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) 8.3
45 Wolfville (Nova Scotia) 8.3
47 Prince George (British Columbia) 8.2
48Sault Sainte Marie (Ontario) 8
49 Whitehorse (Yukon)7.5
Ranking of the best student cities in Canada in 2021 by

speech bubble

Why is Sherbrooke the best city to study in Canada in 2021 ?

It is a surprise for you to find Sherbrooke as the best city to study in Canada? Well, when going deeper into details, we observe that Sherbrooke offers very strong assets on the 4 categories of criteria that we defined:

  • With an unemployment rate among the lowest in Canada, great accessibility and great dynamic cities nearby, Sherbrooke ranks n°1 in the attractiveness category.
  • With almost 25% of its inhabitants being students, Sherbrooke ranks n°2 as regards the quality of student life criteria, proposing a dense cultural offer and a large diversity of bars and restaurants to have fun.
  • Sherbrooke ranks n°3 in the overall quality of life category, enjoying low housing prices, a rather mild climate, great access to nature and a less polluted environment than in bigger cities.
  • There is only in the "Academic excellence and cost of studying" category that Sherbrooke does not rank in the first positions, finding itself in position 21, in the right middle of the peloton.

Which city is the winner in each criteria ?

Winner in the “Quality of life” category : Chicoutimi

To calculate this "Quality of life" criteria, we've included the average price of a studio in the center of the city, the number of inhabitants, the access to nature, the climate and pollution standards.

Rank Cities
1Chicoutimi (Quebec)
2 Pointe-de-l'Église (Nova Scotia)
3 Sherbrooke (Quebec)
4 Rimouski (Quebec)
5 Antigonish (Nova Scotia)
6 Lethbridge (Alberta)
7 Rouyn Noranda (Quebec)
8 Sydney (Nova Scotia)
9 Moncton (New Brunswick)
10Abbotsford (British Columbia)
Ranking of the best student cities in Canada according to the "Quality of life" criteria (Source:

Chicoutimi ranks first among the best Canadian cities to study for what regards quality of life. Here are the reasons:

  • The rent of a studio per month in the center of this town is among the lowest in Canada (around 500 $ a month)
  • You can have access to nature very easily from Chicoutimi
  • The temperatures are cold but far from the coldest in Canada
  • The pollution is pretty low
  • The only thing that was counted negatively about Chicoutimi is its limited size, which makes it less dynamic than other bigger urban areas.


Winner in the “Attractiveness” category: Sherbrooke

To calculate this "Attractiveness" category, we considered the number of big towns nearby, the accessibility by train, plane or car and the unemployment rate.

Rank Cities
1Sherbrooke (Quebec)
2 Victoria (British Columbia)
3 Montreal (Quebec)
4 Saint Catharines (Ontario)
5 Kingston (Ontario)
6 Waterloo (Ontario)
7 London (Ontario)
8 Nanaimo (British Columbia)
9 Vancouver (British Columbia)
10 Abbotsford (British Columbia)
Ranking of the best student cities in Canada according to the "Attractiveness" criteria (Source:

Sherbrooke results to be the most attractive city for students in 2021 in Canada. Here are some explanations to that:

  • The city enjoys the proximity of at least 3 dynamic urban areas, with Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City accessible within a short distance
  • Sherbrooke is very accessible, enjoying a broad network of transports
  • Then, the unemployment rate is among the lowest of the country (8.5% in January 2021).

Winner of the “Quality of student life” criteria: Montreal

This "Quality of student life" category takes into account the number of students within the city, proportion of students into the overall population, the number of bars & restaurants and the cultural offer density.

win 1
Rank Cities
1Montreal (Quebec)
2 Toronto (Ontario)
2 Sherbrooke (Quebec)
4 Edmonton (Alberta)
4 Vancouver (British Columbia)
6 Kingston (Ontario)
7 Halifax (Nova Scotia)
7 Ottawa (Ontario)
9 Calgary (Alberta)
9 Trois Rivières (Quebec)
Ranking of the best student cities in Canada according to the "Quality of student life" criteria (Source:

Montreal appears to be the city of Canada where the quality of student life is the highest. Those are the reasons for that:

  • There's a lot of students due to the 7 universities that are established in this town
  • The proportion of students within the total population is about 10% i.e. more than 170,000 undergraduates
  • Since Montreal is a very big city, the number of bars & restaurants is pretty high
  • The cultural offer is large due to the same reason, with a lot of movie theaters, museums, etc.


Winner of the “Academic excellence and cost of studying” criteria: Montreal

In this category, the ranking has been made according to the number of universities that are located within the town, the annual university tuition fees and the academic reputation according to the 2021 Mc Leans' ranking. Go check our "methodology" below to understand better how we made this ranking.

Rank Cities
1Montreal (Quebec)
2 Toronto (Ontario)
3 Edmonton (Alberta)
4 St John's (Newfoundland and Labrador)
5 Nanaimo (British Columbia)
6Vancouver (British Columbia)
7 Hamilton (Ontario)
8 Quebec (Quebec)
9 Calgary (Alberta)
10 Kingston (Ontario)
Ranking of the best student cities in Canada according to the "Academic excellence and cost of studying" criteria (Source:

Montreal is the city which enjoy a very good academic reputation among student in all the country. Here are some explanations:

  • This city has 7 universities: it's way more than all others Canadian cities
  • Even if universities fees are quite high, they are far from being the highest in Canada
  • The university of Montreal is classified as the 9th best university of Canada by Mc Lean's

Our “methodology”

To establish the ranking of the best student cities in Canada, we applied a set of 4 categories of criteria, all established upon expert sources. To measure each criteria, we established factors that categorize them, following their relative importance on what defines a good city for students. Each category is rated on 5 points, so the final grade is out of 20. Find below the whole list of criteria applied by's editorial team.

Criteria “Quality of life”:

  • Factor n°1: Monthly cost for the rental of a studio in the city center in January 2021. Source: Numbeo
  • Factor n°2: The number of inhabitants, which influences the dynamism of a city. Source: United Nations Organization
  • Factor n°3: The access to nature i.e. the number of parks/green spaces and hikes. Source: All trails
  • Factor n°4: The climate: we applied an average of the global temperatures within a year. Source: National Centers for Environmental Information
  • Factor n°5: The pollution in the air within the city. Source : AQI Index

Criteria “Attractiveness”:

  • Factor n°1: Number of big cities (more than 500,000 inhabitants) in a radius of 500kms.
  • Factor n°2: Accessibility by road, train and plane (presence of an airport in/close to the city).
  • Factor n°3: Unemployment rate in January 2021. Source: Statistics Canada

Criteria “Quality of student life”:

  • Factor n°1: Number of students within the city. Source: universities' websites
  • Factor n°2: The proportion of students within the total population of the city.
  • Factor n°3: Number of bars/restaurants in a radius of 10 kms within the city.
  • Factor n°4: The cultural offer i.e. the number of museums/cinemas/events in a radius of 10kms within the city.

Criteria “Academic excellence and cost of studying”:

  • Factor n°1: Number of universities within the city. Source: universities' websites
  • Factor n°2: University fees for the fall term in 2019-2020. Source: Statistics Canada
  • Factor n°3: The academic ranking by "reputation" from McLean's for the year 2021. Source: McLean's


Antoine Fruchard, Chief Director at

"We are very proud to be able to present this first edition of this ranking of the best student cities in Canada! The editorial team has worked hard to bring together this exceptional set of data, which ultimately results in an unbiased ranking based on a methodology that is reliable, transparent, and based on the most objective criteria possible. Congratulations to Sherbrooke for its first place, a student city that deserves to be known and distinguished. Congrats also to Kingston, which ranks third overall, and first in Ontario, which is a big performance. Let's hope Canada will maintain its academic excellence over the years! "

Good to know

Pour consulter cette étude en français, cliquez ici

About is a comparison platform which is shaking up the insurance market – giving you access to the best Canadian insurance deals in less than 30 seconds. is supported and financed by Blue, an Insurtech Venture Capital firm. Blue already owns two leaders in the French insurance comparison market, Réassurez-moi and Coover. These platforms help more than 10 million people with their insurance every year. We have developed a unique comparison technology that gives access to cover details and quotes without customers having to give their phone number or email address. This engine is the result of four years of hard work.

Click here to access all our maps, infographics and articles in's newsroom