Canada study visits

In Canada, the programme begins with a two-night stay in Montreal and concludes with a two-night stay in Toronto.  The teaching all takes place over a seven-night stay in the middle at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

If you’d like to see how they work in practice, please look at the timetable for your chosen programme.


Our programme in Canada begins in Montreal.

Montreal (population: around 4,000,000 – ‘greater Montreal’)

Montreal – or Montréal, as it’s written in French – is the largest city in the province of Québec, and the second largest city in Canada.  Although it’s a mainly French-speaking city (the second largest in the world after Paris), English is also spoken by most people in the city.

Montreal is situated on a large island in the St. Lawrence River.  The old city is located close to the river bank, while the modern commercial centre is a short walk inland.  At the back of the central business district is Mont Royal, a wooded hill which gives great views across the city.

Montreal has four principal universities, two English-medium (McGill and Concordia) and two French-medium (l’Université de Montréal and l’Université du Québec à Montréal).  Because most of our students are English-speaking, we focus on the English-medium universities (although if you are interested specifically in the French-medium universities, we will try to arrange visits there).

Interestingly, the 2017 edition of QS Best Student Cities ranked Montreal as the best city in the world to be a university student.  Certainly, the multi-cultural, multi-lingual nature of the city makes it a stimulating place in which to spend 3 or 4 years.

On our tour of the city, we’ll walk through the colourful streets of old Montreal, and see the immense St. Lawrence River.  The energetic might choose to join us for a climb up Mont Royal in the evening.

Study visit: McGill University

With around 40,000 students, McGill is invariably regarded as one of the best in Canada, and is said to have the highest admission requirements.   Welcoming students from 150 students, it’s a truly international university.  The main campus is very central, located between the main downtown and the wooded hill which rises up above the city.  However, there is also another about 30km away. Courses are offered in around 300 fields, with students enrolled in one of 11 faculties and schools, the five main ones being: arts, science, medicine, engineering and management.

KE students taking our Canadian programme spend two nights in one of the residences of McGill University.

Study visit: Concordia University

Concordia is a university you should consider if location is important to you, and you love city life: the main campus is situated right in the heart of Montreal (although there is also a second campus about 7km away).  It’s generally seen as a very modern and progressive university, and is ranked well internationally among newer universities.  Many of its contemporary buildings are large and striking, and the main library is particularly impressive.  Concordia ranks particularly well in economics and business, social sciences and humanities, but also natural sciences, engineering and software development.  But with around 47,000 students, it clearly offers an enormous range of options.

On leaving Montreal, we stop off in Ottawa.

Ottawa (population: just over 1 million)

Chosen as Canada’s capital in the 1850s, Ottawa boasts a great location on a hill above the Ottawa River, and there you will find the impressive parliament buildings, together with other government buildings, museums, galleries and so on.  The location was selected as it was half way between the main cities of Toronto and Kingston in English-speaking Canada, and Montreal and Quebec in French-speaking Canada.  Ottawa actually sits on the border between the modern provinces of Quebec and Ontario, and although it’s largely English-speaking, French is widely spoken as well.  Ottawa is now said to offer the highest standard of living in Canada.

Our tour of the city will focus on the main government area, but we’ll also see the remarkable Rideau Canal and spend some time at the celebrated ByWard Market.

Study visit: University of Ottawa

The University has the unusual distinction of being completely bilingual in English and French, and with around 40,000 students, it is in fact the largest English/French university in the world.  Students can choose to study any subject in either language, so if you don’t speak French, you don’t need to worry!  The main campus is quite close to the city centre, although there are branches elsewhere in the city.  As you would expect, there is a wide range of subject options, spread across ten faculties.

Study visit: Carleton University

Carleton enjoys an attractive suburban location within easy reach of the centre of Ottawa.  Just from the point of view of the buildings, it’s interesting that most, including the 11 residences, are linked by a series of tunnels (enabling students to avoid the intense winter cold!).

Although it’s well-regarded across the board, Carleton is perhaps best known for its achievements in the fields of international affairs, politics, journalism and law.  However, with around 28,000 students, it’s large enough to offer a very broad range of options across the subject areas.

After visiting the universities, we have a look at the main government area, dominated by the impressive Parliament buildings.  We’ll also see the remarkable Rideau Canal, and then you’ll be free for dinner at the celebrated ByWard Market.

On leaving Ottawa in the evening, you travel on to Kingston, where you spend a week at Queen’s University.

Jumping ahead, to the end of the programme, you set off from Kingston for a two-day visit to Toronto.

Toronto (population: around 6 million – ‘Greater Toronto’)

Toronto is the capital of the province of Ontario, Canada’s largest city, and the fourth largest city in North America.  It‘s situated on the northern shores of Lake Ontario, and its suburbs extend for miles along the shoreline, as well as inland.  For a long time, it’s been a magnet for people from around the world, and its population is very diverse ethnically.  It’s now a major business and cultural centre.

The main business district is comparatively small, but very striking, with its high-rise buildings rising up from the lake shore.   But not many people actually live there; instead, most people in the more central parts of Toronto live in one of its many diverse neighbourhoods, each with its own character.

While we’re in Toronto, we’ll explore the downtown area and see the attractive lakeside.

Study visit: University of Toronto

Toronto is often regarded as Canada’s leading university, and most ranking systems place it in the top 25 worldwide; it’s unquestionably one of the world’s top research institutions.   Areas and developments in which Toronto has led include the electron microscope, multi-touch technology, insulin and stem cell research.  However, it has also been at the forefront of developments in theories of language and communication.  With nearly 90,000 students, the University of Toronto is a huge institution.   But it’s not housed on one huge campus: first of all, there are three campuses: one in the centre of Toronto, the other two in suburban locations; then, the University is divided into colleges, rather on the British model of Oxford and Cambridge.  You’ll see a number of the different colleges in the inner city, many of them well worth a photo!

Study visit: York University

York is the second major university in Toronto, and we shall probably use public transportation to get there.  The main campus is located in a suburban area.  It’s worth noting that most York students do not live on campus, and international students should ask about the support they would receive.

With 53,000 students, York is the third largest university in Canada.  Although entry is not as competitive as it is for Toronto, York still ranks at least within the top 15, if not the top 10 in Canada.  And for certain subjects, it has an outstanding reputation, these including film, history, education and law.  Most prestigious of all is the Schulich School of Business, offering a wide range of postgraduate, but also some undergraduate programmes; it’s generally ranked as one of the best in Canada, and in the top 50 worldwide.

Day trip to McMaster University, Waterloo University – and Niagara Falls!

The distances are not great for this trip, but we do include quite a lot.  The two universities visited should definitely be considered by all students looking to apply to a high-ranking university in Canada.   By contrast, Niagara Falls have rather less to do with study – but we thought you’d want to see them since you’re so close!

Study visit: McMaster University

The main campus of this prestigious university is located in a very green and attractive location, yet within easy reach of the city centre.  The older buildings were constructed in the same striking neo-Gothic style which you find at Toronto.  McMaster has around 30,000 students, and is generally ranked fourth in Canada, and in the top 100 worldwide.   Its medical school is probably the best-known outside Canada, but the University does offer a full range of courses.  It has also become famous for the ‘McMaster Model’ of learning, which is interdisciplinary and based on problem-solving by students.

Hamilton (population: 550,000)

McMaster is located in Hamilton, a large port city at the south-western corner of Lake Ontario.  Although it’s an important industrial city, it has a lot of green spaces, and there is a wide selection of museums, galleries and other cultural centres.  Unfortunately, we just have time for a short visit to Hamilton on this trip.

Study visit: University of Waterloo

Although it’s not very big (with around 100,000 inhabitants), the town of Waterloo is at the centre of Canada’s Technology Triangle (CTT), an area which has attracted many hi-tech companies.  BlackBerry have their headquarters in the city.

Founded in 1957, the University is relatively new, but it has established a fine reputation for itself.  It is very careers-oriented, and it’s perhaps most famous for its co-operative education programmes, allowing students to combine study with work experience.  It now has around 36,000 students based at a number of different campuses.  In view of the opportunities in the area, it’s not surprising that Waterloo’s key strengths include engineering and technology, computer science and mathematics, in all of which it ranks close to the top in Canada, and very well internationally.

Niagara Falls

The Falls are created by vast amounts of water from four of the Great Lakes plunging down to the fifth and last, Lake Ontario.  They also mark the border with the USA (we don’t cross over to the USA on this trip, as not all our students will have the necessary visa to do so). But the views are spectacular on either side.  If you like statistics, around 2,400 cubic meters of water per second falls around 50 metres.  It’s worth seeing!