travel & accommodation
Arriving in Canada without an onward address can make a stressful start to your study abroad experience so plan in advance and be sure to confirm your booking. We recommend you carry in your hand luggage the address and phone number of your accommodation as suitcases do have an unfortunate habit of ending up in the wrong continent.
When you're accepted on a course the international team or the admin team will send you details of an accommodation office. This is a vital resource. Accommodation officers have the information and contacts to locate affordable, quality accommodation and, in short, make life easy for you.
When you're looking into various accommodation choices ask the following questions:
- How close is it to the institution?
- What public transport links are there?
- How close is it to shops and services?
- How big is your room?
- How many people are sharing your bathroom/kitchen?
- How much is the rent and bills?
These are the main types of accommodation to consider, along with approximate costings:
On-campus/halls of residence
Approximate cost: CAN$3,000-7,500 per academic year
On-campus accommodation comes in various forms, ranging from shared or private rooms to one bedroom flats, and can be catered or self-catered with private or shared bathrooms. The majority will have a kitchen, typically shared by four to eight students, though some accommodation is catered and food will be served in a dining hall. You can usually choose to live in a single-sex residence.
On-campus accommodation is a popular choice for students as it is usually located near the institution and provides services such as shops and laundry. It's also a great way to meet people and share your experience with other students. Basic facilities and bills will be included in your rent, which varies greatly according to location and room type. Students should apply for accommodation as early as possible to secure their preferred room type.
Approximate cost: $400-800 per month, plus placement fee (up to $200)
You may be offered the opportunity to live with a host family during your studies; this is the most common type of accommodation for language students. It's a great way to practise speaking English (or possibly French) and learn about Canadian culture. You will be allocated your own private room and will be treated as a member of the family - sharing other facilities and being included in their activities. Students are also normally given morning and evening meals. You may be expected to help with household chores, and sometimes may also need to contribute financially to bills and other accommodation costs.
Approximate cost: $250-700 per month (up to $1,500 if private apartment), plus bills
Alternatively you can rent a private apartment/flat, or room in a shared house; this usually entails your own private room with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. This option often suits those wanting independence. In most cases bills will not be included in the monthly rent; you will need to agree how you are going to share these, as well as the cleaning duties, with the other housemates.
You should be aware that there may be a minimum lease; often six to twelve months, and a deposit is usually required to cover possible damage, refundable when the tenancy ends. Students wishing to privately rent are advised to arrive in Canada a few weeks before their course starts in order to secure a place, as most landlords will not reserve accommodation without signing a contract. It is advisable to make sure you have seen the accommodation before handing over any money. Consult your institution's accommodation office for advice about renting privately.
For more information about student accommodation in Canada visit Study Canada.
TravelCanada has an excellent transport network which makes travelling between cities manageable and pleasant, although for longer distances air travel with the reliable Air Canada may be more efficient.
There is a huge number of airports in Canada (509 to be precise) but these are the key international ones:
Toronto Pearson International Airport
- Different bus services operating from the airport, most of which go to downtown Toronto and surrounding areas, including the Toronto Airport Express bus
- Taxis are available to pre-book or to take from the airport. These are subject to set metered fares, but will sometimes offer a flat rate for longer journeys
Vancouver International Airport
- Scheduled bus services from the airport run to and from Whistler, Victoria on Vancouver island and Washington state (USA). Tickets can be pre-booked online or bought at the airport
- A rail service, Canada Line, connects the airport to downtown Vancouver (26 minutes) and downtown Richmond (18 minutes)
- A shuttle service is available from the airport to downtown hotels, which can be taken from the airport. The average cost for one adult, one way, is around CAN$14
- Licensed taxis can be taken from the airport and do not need to be pre-booked. Fares are on a metered rate, and the average fare to downtown Vancouver is around CAN$30
Montréal-Trudeau International Airport
- An express bus service to the Central Bus Station in downtown Montreal takes approximately 35 minutes, one-way trip costs approximately $8. A regular bus service is also available, costing $3. Buses to further destinations can be taken from the bus station
- VIA rail offers a rail service to other areas of Canada. There is a free minibus service between the airport and the rail station (a journey of about 2km)
- Taxis can be taken from the airport. Fares are metered and cost a minimum of CAN$16.25, apart from journeys to downtown which are fixed at approximately CAN $38
- There is a public bus service available from the airport to some destinations in Calgary. There are also a number of bus operators offering longer-distance journeys
- There is a regular shuttle bus service between the airport and designated stops in Calgary city. Tickets can be pre-booked online or bought in the airport. There is also a Red Arrow Motorcoach service to nearby cities, costing approximately CAN$25
- Licensed taxis can be taken from the airport. Fares are metered, but the approximate fare to downtown Calgary is around CAN$45
Public transport in Canada
A good transport network makes negotiating the long distances between towns manageable and pleasant, although air travel by the reliable Air Canada may be more efficient when travelling cross-country.
Canada's stunning and varied scenery makes travelling by train a real treat so do schedule in some quality downtime. Plan your journey and book tickets at VIA Rail.
For public transport in Vancouver visit the comprehensive Translink site for details of buses, SkyTrains and SeaBuses. In Toronto there's an extensive network of cycle lanes and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) operates an extensive system of subways, buses and streetcars.
Useful transport links