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The basics
Canada: Student Accommodation - Must read

Student accommodation in Canada

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

student accommodation

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. The great thing about being on campus is that you’re never too far from your lecture halls, meaning you can roll out of bed in time. 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. Of course, the style of accommodation on offer will vary depending on the institution but you can check out the options available on the university website.


Internet and other utilities will also 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 3000-10,000 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 – Connected single room with mandatory meal plan, internet and utilities included = CAD 6,416.70 (Jan-April)


Douglas Hall at McGill University – Single room = CAD 1,416 per month


International Living and Learning Centre at Ryerson University – Single room = CAD 10,987 per academic year plus the cost of a mandatory meal plan = CAD 5,179


Chestnut Residence at University of Toronto – Single room with a meal plan = CAD 18,374 per academic year (plus deposits of CAD 600 + CAD 1,400)


Off-campus accommodation in Canada

Although some universities will offer on-campus accommodation beyond 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 or alternatively you could organise to live with a group of friends you made in first year. With off-campus accommodation in Canada, 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 Ottowa, 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 700-2,500 per month for housing that is off campus but of course this depends on your expectations and budget.


It’s important to note that finding accommodation off-campus can be tricky and there are particularly busy times when lots of other students will be looking too. So, make sure you plan in advance to avoid disappointment and unnecessary stress. If you’re concerned about finding accommodation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your university. You can find information online or by speaking to someone from the university housing team.


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


Toronto – CAD 1,700 

Vancouver – CAD 2,518

Ottawa – CAD 2,000

Montreal – CAD 2,100

Edmonton – CAD 1,350

Calgary – CAD 1,500


 Source: Zumper 2021



There is also the option to live as part of a homestay where you reside 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 within 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. To organise a homestay, check out the Canada Homestay Network to enquire about possible arrangements.    


Finding accommodation in Canada

There are many ways to find accommodation in Canada including checking social media, campus noticeboards and just by asking people you know. You don’t need to feel embarrassed about asking as it’s very common for students to struggle when it comes to finding a place to live. You might be surprised by how many people know of a room going spare.


So now that you’ve got to grips with the cost of accommodation in Canada, why not start searching for a course and university? Let our course matcher tool find what’s right for you.


Watch our Google Hangout with Sara’s Homestay