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Canada: Student Accommodation - Must read

Student accommodation in Canada

Read our guide to student accommodation in Canada for international students...

student accommodation

Note: £1 = US$1.49 = CAD$1.83



On-campus accommodation in Canada

It’s common for most students to live in on-campus halls in their first year. On-campus housing is referred to as ‘residence’ or simply ‘rez’ for short. You will be prompted to arrange housing once you’ve been offered a place at a Canadian university. Usually you can arrange this online through the university website where you can browse the various options on offer and make your choice. You can also contact the housing office to ask for any specific preferences you have (though it depends on what these are as to whether the university can accommodate you on these).You will usually share a dormitory (or ‘dorm’) with another roommate, sharing facilities like a kitchen, social area and laundry room with other students. Internet and other utilities will be included as part of your rent which you’ll likely pay on a per-semester basis. It’s suggested that you budget between CAD$3000-$7500 per year for on-campus accommodation.



As a rough guide, here are some examples of on-campus accommodation options offered by various Canadian universities:


Totem Park at University of British Columbia – Single and shared rooms with a mandatory meal plan = CAD$527-725 per month


Douglas Hall at McGill University – Single room = CAD$1,275 per month


International Living and Learning Centre at Ryerson University – Single room with private washroom and mandatory small meal plan = CAD$11,031 per academic year


Chestnut Residence at University of Toronto – Single room with a meal plan = $14,000-$18,000 per academic year



Off-campus accommodation in Canada

After first year, students will usually share a house or apartment with other students to split the cost. You can find a roommate using online resources like Easy Roommate or Roomster. Alternatively you can take a look at newspapers and magazines. Here you’ll rent a room and share a kitchen, bathroom and social area. Rent prices will vary from city to city with larger areas like Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver being most expensive (though considerably less expensive than the likes of New York City or London, on average). It’s suggested you budget around CAD$250-700 per month for housing that is off-campus.


Below are the approximate living costs for 3 bedroom apartments in different Canadian cities:

Toronto – CAD$1,900 

Vancouver – CAD$1,950 

Ottawa – CAD$1,300 

Montreal – CAD$1,050 

Edmonton – CAD$1,500 

Calgary – CAD$1,600




There is also the option to live as part of a homestay where you live with a host family in Canada. On top of an initial placement fee of CAD$200, students can expect to pay a monthly fee of CAD$400-800 per month in return for meals and a room in that family’s home. However you’ll also be participating in activities with that host, improving your English and learning about the culture, all of which are valuable experiences.



Watch our Google Hangout with Sara’s Homestay


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About Author

student accommodation

Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.